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What Are Terpenes?

Your taste buds and nose know.

By Milcah HaliliPublished 7 years ago 3 min read

Everyone is raving about terpenes these days. But what exactly are terpenes? And why should you care?

Terpenes are organic chemical compounds that make the amazing flavors and aromas you taste and smell in your food. They are rampant in gardens, and your weed is packed full of them too. In fact, the cannabis plant has more terpenes than any other plant in the world.

One of any stoner's greatest joys is opening up a glass jar and smelling their cannabis before rolling it up. It's definitely a staple in my weed rituals, and something I do before I carefully roll my joint. If I'm delighted by the smell of a particular cannabis strain at my local cannabis collective, then you'll be seeing me lighting up that strain at home.

High-end dispensaries will tell you that your nose is the best indicator for what you should smoke. If you love the smell, then it's most likely that particular strain will be kind to you. If you hate the smell, then your safest bet would be to save that strain for a patient who can appreciate its odor.

Diversity is Queen.

Terpene rhymes with "queen." In chess, the queen is the most valuable piece in chess. For me, diversity is the most valuable characteristic in all that I involve myself in. This doesn't stop short of my terpenes.

There are over 100 terpenes reported in cannabis and counting. This is important because terpenes also affect the quality and effects of the cannabis you're consuming. That's why budtenders will encourage you to choose your buds by the fragrances you're attracted to. There are as many terpene combinations as there are individual personal preferences.

It's kind of like how you wouldn't date someone whose pheromones turn you off. Perhaps you're not a good fit with your stinky date, and your nose is telling you to run in the other direction. Would you want to smoke weed that smelled gross? Nope.

Take me for example. I struggle with anxiety, and it's often hard for me to chill out and relax. So, it probably doesn't surprise you that I love the scent of lavender.

Common Terpenes

Linalool, a common terpene in cannabis that's also found in lavender, has a candy-esque, foral, and citrusy smell. When I smoke or eat a strain with linalool, I experience sedation, relaxation, and anxiety relief. I'd list off some strains that may have linalool, but it really comes down to growing conditions and lab testing.

Limonene is another common terpene found in weed. It's a citrus aroma, and it elevates the consumer's mood and relieves stress. Its medicinal properties include protection against fungus and carcinogens as well as mood-enhancement and relief from depression.

Pinene smells like, you guessed it, pine. This baby makes you focused, alert, and counteracts some of the memory loss associated with THC. It's a bronchodilator, so if you've got asthma, then this is the terpene for you.

What About Terpenoids?

Despite common interchangeable usage, terpenes and terpenoids have different meanings. Terpenes are the chemical compounds in its raw form while terpenoids have been modified with oxidation. In other words, terpenoids have been dried and cured. When cannabis growers cure their bud, they are changing the chemical compounds of the plant. Curing makes the buds more potent and aromatic.

All the cannabis that you get from dispensaries has been dried and cured. Otherwise, you'd be smoking cannabis that's harsh to your throat and smelled like grass. If your cannabis smells amazing, then that's because it's been cured. Those raw terpenes have converted into terpenoids.


About the Creator

Milcah Halili

Content Creator

Director of Engineering at CHANI

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    Milcah HaliliWritten by Milcah Halili

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