Consumers often select their wine based on their preferred taste- whether it be oaky, fruity, or chocolate. Believe it or not, cannabis flower can be selected in this same way.
Cannabis contains something called “terpenes”, which are responsible for the taste, smell, and effect of the cannabis strain. Terpenes can also be found in other herbs, such as sage and thyme. For our purposes, we will talk about six main terpenes: Pinene, Linalool, Caryophyllene, Myrcene, Limonene, and Humulene.
Read on to learn more about terpenes, and which ones are recommended for you!
True to its name, pinene gives off a similar scent to pine trees. It is one of the most common terpenes in the world and is also found in parsley, rosemary, and basil. Although research is still being done, pinene is being investigated for wellness benefits including as an anti-inflammatory, a bronchodilator, for anti-anxiety, and for pain relief (which likely is rooted in its anti-inflammatory effect). Pinene is a common terpene, but is not as common as myrcene and limonene, which will be discussed shortly.
Linalool– which is found in over 200 plants- is a popular yet elusive terpene. Very few cannabis strains contain high levels of linalool at this time, which is a shame because it is incredibly in-demand. Linalool has floral and lavender undertones and is associated with producing the “sleepy” effects that are generally attributed to indica strains. Experienced consumers often choose strains with higher levels of linalool if they are searching for a relaxing, sedative, and calming effect from their cannabis.
Have you ever cracked black pepper? Or picked fresh oregano? Then you are already familiar with caryophyllene. Caryophyllene–found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon– is the only known terpene that also acts as a cannabinoid. This unique terpene has the ability to directly activate our endocannabinoid system to provide anti-inflammatory properties by binding to CB2 receptors. If you are consuming for wellness, look for products higher in caryophyllene. Strains such as Girl Scout Cookies, Bubba Kush, and Sour Diesel are known to possess high levels of this terpene.
Humulene is predominantly a herbal terpene that is responsible for a woody, hops-like taste. This is not surprising, as hops and cannabis are both in the taxonomic family of Cannabaceae, which is sometimes referred to as the hops family. It is a relatively common terpene that subtly adds additional floral and herbaceous notes to the cannabis strain. Humulene is still being explored, but if you enjoy the terpene Caryophyllene (also known as β-caryophyllene), then you will likely enjoy Humulene (which was previously named α-caryophyllene).
Myrcene is found in thyme, mango, lemongrass, and hops. That’s right- the taste you enjoy in hoppy beers can also be found in cannabis flower.
Myrcene is the most commonly found terpene in cannabis: representing over 20% of the terpene profile in most modern strains. Common strains with high levels of myrcene include OG Kush, Blue Dream and Grape Ape. Some consumers claim that myrcene is responsible for sedation and relaxation effects, but there is not enough evidence to support that myrcene is sedative in average doses. Some strains with myrcene have a calming effect, while others have a more stimulating effect. Research is still underway to better understand claims that myrcene is useful for anti-inflammatory effects and as an anti-septic. Consider seeking out myrcene if you are in the market for a tasty experience.
Limonene is the “fruity” terpene, and is commonly found in fruit rinds, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Limonene is commonly associated with “lemon” scents, but it is not exclusive to only lemony smells. Consumers have also reported scents such as citrus and peppermint when describing this terpene. Limonene has been associated with an elevated mood, stress relief, and better absorption of other terpenes and cannabinoids. Like all things cannabis, more research is needed. In the meantime, try out the strain Wedding Cake or Do-Si-Dos to see if you can spot the terpene!
Like wine and beer, cannabis is an acquired taste that requires experimentation and understanding. Consumers can optimize their cannabis experience by having a deeper understanding of the flavor and effect profiles that cannabis offers. Try out a few strains and let us know what you gravitate towards!
And Remember: When you Have Questions, We Have ANJA.