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What Are Cannabis Terpenes?

For decades it has been understood that cannabis contains different substances that produce different effects, most famously THC for its mind-altering effects and the elevated mood that it produces. As cannabis research opened up, we learned that other parts of the plant, like CBD, could also provide health benefits without the high, and more recently the world of cannabis has become infatuated with another aspect of the flower: terpenes. But what are cannabis terpenes?

Terpenes are the chemicals found in plants that give them their smell - for example, aromas of pine trees, lavender bushes, and citrus fruits. In addition to the scents produced by terpenes, certain terpenes are also associated with mood-altering sensations, such as a feeling of relaxation due to the Linalool terpene found in lavender. Today, researchers and marijuana consumers are finding that terpenes can also play an important factor in the high produced by consuming marijuana.

If THC is the substance in cannabis that produces the high, then what do cannabis terpenes have to do with it? The evidence seems to point to the fact that the highs produced from cannabis are the result of a combination of factors including not only the THC and CBD in the plant but also the cannabis terpenes as well, which helps to explain why similar strains of marijuana can provide very different experiences. Terpenes enhance or modify the intoxicating feelings in a phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect. There are three Terpenes in particular that are widely used and appreciated in the marijuana market:

  1. Myrcene- The most abundant terpene across cannabis strains, which is also found in mangoes, Myrcene is responsible for the classic “skunky” aroma that is commonly associated with marijuana, and the amount of Myrcene is the determining factor in whether a strain is a Sativa or an Indica. Some famous strains that are high in Myrcene include Blue Dream, White Widow, and OG Kush.
  2. Limonene - Found in many citrus fruits and the terpene behind the lemon fresh scent of many cleaning products, Limonene is the second most common terpene in Cannabis and is abundant in many popular strains that are known for their distinct lemony aroma, such as Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, and Wedding Cake.
  3. Humulene - The third most common terpene, Humulene is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, and may even decrease appetite. Strains high in this terpene are often known for their feelings of relaxation, for example, Girl Scout Cookies.

Myrcene, Limonene, and Humulene might be the most common terpenes but there are many more to explore, with over 100 different terpenes found in different strains of cannabis. Fortunately, marijuana testing has advanced to include terpene profiles so that we can gain a much better understanding of why different strains make us feel the way they do.

At NaturaLeaf, our budtenders are happy to help you understand the terpene profiles of any strains we carry, as well as answer any other cannabis questions that you may have. Come see us today at any of our 3 locations and find out all you need to know about the best medical marijuana in Colorado Springs!