Terpenes: Marijuana’s Personality
There’s a lot more to the beautiful essence that is marijuana aside from the THC percentage. Every strain of marijuana has specific characteristics and each its own personality. This is recognized through aroma, taste, texture, size, and hues in the coloration of the bud. To understand the personality of each strain, is understanding what terpene profiles are. Terpenes are what give each plant its unique characteristics. Simply put, they are considered organic compounds. The difference between terpenes and terpenoids is that terpenes are hydrocarbons, while terpenoids have been debased by oxidation during the curing process.
There are over 120 different terpenes that can be found in cannabis, still there are certain terps that are more prevalent and well known such as Limonene and Pinene in both of its forms. Although these are very important, there are a lot of terps that are not as known and serve extremely important benefits. Terps like Linalool, Alpha Bisabolol, and Myrcene all serve a vital purpose in the true health benefits of cannabis yet are not as known or spoken on. These are just a few of the many terpenes that help fight, prevent, and care for a variety of ailments, but do not necessarily receive the attention they deserve.
Limonene falls onto the list of well known terps because of its prevalence in a variety of different strains. Its benefits have been used in medicine for a long time so it should not come as a surprise that it offers a ton of therapeutic effects in cannabis. This beautiful terpene has a notable citrus aroma and flavor. That is why strains that are extremely high in limonene like Super Lemon Haze and Tangie phenotypes hold that invigorating citrus zest in both flavor and smell. Limonene offers a ton of both physical and mental aids. One being an Anti-Inflammatory which essentially reduces inflammation within the body. Along with being an Anti-Fungal, Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux, Immunostimulant, and my personal favorite, an Anti-Proliferative. What Anti-Proliferative means is that Limonene helps fight and assist in the hard battle that is treating cancer. It does this by inhibiting cancer cell growth within the body. Aside from physical benefits, Limonene is also great for treating mental ailments like anxiety and depression because of its Anxiolytic properties.
There are a wide range of ailments that have been known to be aided by limonene such as, promoting weight loss, aiding digestion, and preventing gastric distress in the stomach. That is why it is always smart to keep a strain that is high in Limonene in the medicine cabinet for pestering stomach aches and indigestion. Its presence tends to lie more so in sativas rather than indicas. A couple of strains to note that are high in limonene are Durban Poison, Berry White, SFV OG, and Jack Herer. These are all great strains to find that limonene relief that we all need at one point or another.
Pinene is a unique terpene in the sense that it has two forms. A-Pinene which is classified through aromas of pine and rosemary, and B-Pinene which holds more of a basil, parsley, and hoppy smell. Although Myrcene is one of the most prevalent terpenes found in cannabis, pinene is the most common terp found in non-cannabis related plants. This wonder terp has a large repertoire of medicinal benefits that range from helping asthma as a bronchodilator, to aiding in the reduction in size of cancerous tumors. What differentiates pinene from other terpenes is the way that it reacts in the body. It is able to penetrate the barrier between blood and brain. This means once pinene enters the body, it has the ability to enter the brain. Once inside of the brain it is able to assist and nourish already existent neurotransmitters by preventing the degradation of molecules responsible for transmission of information. This ultimately enhances memory retention and helps combat against short term memory loss that can be a side effect of THC. If enhancing your memory retention wasn’t enough, it also helps reduce paranoia and adverse psychological effects from cannabinoids.
Skunk strains are known for testing very high in pinene. Strains like Island Sweet Skunk, Blue Dream, and of course Jack Herer are all strains that are often found testing in with high amounts of pinene in the plant’s genetic makeup. A few ailments that have been found to be treated with the help of pinene are bacterial infections, asthma, cancer, and memory issues. These are only a few afflictions in a long list that are treated using pinene. Now that we have covered a few of the very well known terps, let’s dive into the pool of unheard mystery and talk about Linalool, Alpha Bisabolol, and Delta 3-Carene.
Linalool is one of the terps that does not have as much hype as others. This would make one think it isn’t as important, right? Wrong. Linalool is just as important as the well known heavy hitters. This terpene is responsible for being a very sedative analgesic. Aside from the treatment of pain and aches, Linalool also acts as an Anticonvulsant, Antipsychotic, and an Antidepressant. Being distinct in smell, It harbors a lavender scent with almost spring time flower aroma. It’s presence is most prevalent in purple strains such as, Grand Daddy Purple, Purple Urkle, Mendo Purps, and Grape Ape. Linalool is interesting in the way that it reacts in the body. It modulates the receptors in the nervous system known as GABA. The same receptors are affected when taking Xanax. This is why linalool is so sedating. Interestingly enough, this terpene is often used in aromatherapy as sleep aid. In cannabis, linalool packs a solid punch with an overall sedating effect. Even more so when it is present in a strain that is high in CBD. The mixture of THC and CBD can induce what is known as “The Entourage Effect”. This is perfect for people suffering from anxiety and depression. In combination with CBD, the list of ailments this terpene can help is endless.
Alpha Bisabolol harbors more of an earthy, floral like aroma. Chamomile is a natural producer of Alpha Bisabolol, this is why often times alpha bisabolol is described as having the scent of chamomile. Aside from having a delightful smell, Alpha Bisabolol is responsible for treating inflammation, helps with proper kidney function, and has even been found to treat leukemia. This terpene is able to enter cells via lipid rafts, allowing the ability to induce apoptosis. This terp is recommended for anyone who needs relief from inflammation, tension, and leukemia related malicious cells. The fact alpha bisabolol can also be used in the aid of an anti-fungal amongst all of these other benefits make you question why it is not as known? Some of our favorite strains testing high in alpha bisabolol are some heavy hitting kushes. For one, Master Kush. This kush is known for a lot of other positive medicinal benefits, a lot of which come directly from alpha bisabolol. Another more well known strain is Pink Kush. A lot of the strains testing high in alpha bisabolol also test high in myrcene. In the case of Pink Kush, it usually always tests high in both of these wonderful terpenes.
Myrcene is the most commonly found terpene in cannabis yet not a lot of people know how it really affects the body. You know you smoked a strain with high amounts of myrcene because you will succumb to the notorious “couch-lock”. Myrcene is responsible for that heavy sedation throughout the body and induces sleep with ease. This terpene is awesome in the sense that is reacts in two completely different ways depending on how much myrcene is prevalent. In high doses you get the sleep inducing couch lock, but in low doses you experience uplifting and vibrant cerebral effects like that of a sativa.
As for the wondrous scent of myrcene, it is most notably identified through deep earthiness with light fruity aromas such as mangos. This translates the same to taste, the earthy almost forest like taste with a fruity zest. This is why heavy OGs high in myrcene always hold such an earthy tone. One reason myrcene is extremely vital and beneficial is because myrcene has the ability to change and pass through cell membranes which allows the brain to absorb more cannabinoids. Aside from aiding and assisting the overall, myrcene also acts as an analgesic to relieve pain, antibacterial to slow the growth of bacteria, Anti-Diabetic, Anti-proliferative, Anti-psychotic, and an Antispasmodic which relieves tension in the muscles which suppresses spasms. These are only a few benefits that reside from a long list of ranging from Anxiolytic which eases anxiety to Vasorelaxant that helps reduce vascular tension throughout the body
A few ailments and uses to note that studies and research have both shown great benefits from are Diabetes, Opiate replacement as an Analgesic, and use as means for Sedation rather than through pharmaceuticals. Levels of myrcene vary from grower to grower and plant to plant so it is hard to pinpoint a select few strains. There are however, there are strains known to have tendencies to yield in high levels of myrcene. They are going to be the true OG’s, a good amount of Girl Scout Cookie phenotypes, and Pink Kush. Terpenes are everything when it comes to marijuana. Knowing the difference in terpenes of each strain and how it can help you is crucial in being able to dial in your medication. Knowing you medicate with strains high in myrcene to aid in sleep will help you plan your day accordingly. This becomes the difference between choosing a heavy sedating strain for your wake and bake! Knowing these as well as the rest of these magnificent terpenes allows you to understand and be more in tune with the personality of cannabis. Not only this, but also being able to appreciate the plant’s personality.