If you've begun a deep dive into cannabinoids, you might've heard the term "terpene." Good job! You're learning the hard facts about what you're putting in your body.
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant, including THC and CBD. THC creates a "high," while CBD does not. The cannabis plant also contains terpenes, which affect the potent aroma of the plant and its buds. Read on if you're wondering what that means for you and how it should influence your buying decisions!
Those little hairs you can see when you hold cannabis under a lens aren't just for show. They give the plant an aroma that will tell your nose if you like it! They also play a crucial role in producing THC, so look at the trichomes on a strand of cannabis before you buy.
According to Medical News Today, "These aromatic compounds create the characteristic scent of many plants, such as cannabis, pine, and lavender, as well as fresh orange peel. The fragrance of most plants is due to a combination of terpenes. In nature, these terpenes protect the plants from animal grazing or infectious germs. However, terpenes may also offer some health benefits to the human body. As regulations surrounding cannabis become less strict, scientists are carrying out more research into these possible benefits."
In other words, terpenes are responsible for the aroma and flavors of cannabis, and they influence its effects by interacting with cannabinoids.
It's a popular fact that taste and smell are related. If something smells good, it tastes good. If something smells terrible… well, I don't have to tell you to avoid it. Terpenes are hard at work in all types of cannabis regardless of rather you smoke, dab, or vaporize it. In states where cannabis sales are legal, the aromas of a particular strain are often an enormous selling point.
When buying cannabis, you should always go with your nose. If you prefer fruity smells, that strain of cannabis will probably react more favorably with your body. This is because your nose reacts with the terpene, and both use billions of years of evolution to see if they get along. It all takes place before you've even bought the stuff! It's just biology.
Terpenes are also present in essential oils. Essential oils are often used for medicinal purposes, but more research is needed to know how important oil terpenes compare to cannabis terpenes.
Essential oils definitely don't get you high like cannabis does. This is because THC, not terpenes, gives us a psychosomatic effect. However, it has been shown that cannabis terpenes help support other cannabis molecules in various ways.
The first way terpenes interact with us has already been described. They interact with our noses for better or for worse. It's better in the end, though, because you don't have to waste time with a less suitable strain of cannabis. Another way terpenes interact with us is by augmenting or suppressing the effects of the cannabis plant.
Terpenes are responsible for aromas and how we perceive the effects of taking the plant. As mentioned earlier, the hairs on the surface of a cannabis plant are not only where we find terpenes and where key steps in THC production occur. In the end, that's what most of us are here for, so remember the power of the terpene!