Imagine your daily trip to the local Washington cannabis dispensary. You have your typical place, and probably by now, your favorite trusted budtender. But when you take a look at the menu each day, what’s the first thing you think of? Most people narrow it down to one of two things:
1. Indica vs. Sativa
2. THC Percentage
However, there is so much more to your high than the type of strain and the potency. In fact, many cannabis connoisseurs testify that they have enjoyed a batch of bud testing at 15% THC much more than a different strain from a different grower testing at 30%. This is in good part due to the strain’s terpene content.
What Are Terpenes?
Have you ever cracked open a jar of some freshly-bought Sour Diesel, and immediately been sideswiped by a rush of its citric diesel aroma? Have you ever peeled open a bag of some Dutch Treat, only to be pulled downward into a sticky patch of lemon and maple syrup? You, my friend, have experienced terpenes in their best form.
Terpenes are the naturally-occurring chemical compounds that give cannabis its unique smell and flavor. In fact, every plant on earth has terpenes, from lavender to eucalyptus, from dandelions to oak trees.
In cannabis, a strain’s specific effects also have a lot to do with its terpene profile. This is why bud that tests lower in THC can often have much more desirable effects than its higher-testing counterpart. So let’s look at the most common terpenes found in cannabis, and their effect on the high.
The Most Popular Terpenes
Generally when you feel like a strain has a really strong “indica-type feel”, with relaxing or sedating effects, it means that the strain is high in myrcene. Myrcene is one of the most prevalent terpenes in cannabis, and is great for relaxing your muscles and helping you sleep after a long day.
Just like it sounds, limonene is the citric lemon terpene. In nature, it is found in, you guessed it, lemons! Popular cannabis strains like Super Lemon Haze and Pineapple Express are high in limonene. This terpene is known to have anti-carcinogenic effects, and may help fight cancer cell growth as well!
This terpene can be found naturally in mint, lavender, and cinnamon, and also many spicy and sour types of cannabis, such as Sour Diesel and Amnesia Haze. Linalool can be used for anti-inflammatory effects, which makes it popular for users of medical cannabis in Washington.
In terms of smell, this one speaks for itself. Eucalyptol is the main extract taken from the eucalyptus plant. And in cannabis, it will be used for the same medical and therapeutic effects. Eucalyptol has a spicy aroma and is extremely helpful for general relaxation and mental clarity.
Pinene is exactly how it sounds. It gives your bud that classic sappy pine taste and smell. It has calming effects, and can help elevate moods and induce a deep relaxation.
Tough to say, but simple to recognize. Alpha Bisabolol is found in chamomile among many other plants. In cannabis, it can have anti-inflammatory and painkilling effects.
These are just a few of the dozens of terpenes that change the way you experience your cannabis. Ask your Mary Jane’s House of Grass budtender about the different terpene profiles in their favorite recreational cannabis strain. You may find that you’ll have a new favorite strain that you never knew existed. Remember; it’s not just about the THC percentage. Do yourself a favor, and try a few varieties of strains with different terpene profiles, and find which works best for you. You may find a new favorite!