Terpene Basics

One of the more recent advances in Cannabis science is the general understanding of terpenes and how these contribute to a users overall experience.  Terpenes are organic compounds which are produced by a variety of plants and even some insects.  These compounds are responsible for both the flavours and fragrances present in Cannabis.

Scientists have identified approximately 200 terpenes in Cannabis.  Each strain of Cannabis has a different terpene profile combination, providing endless options for consumers based on their preferences and their desired effects.  Cannabis terpenes are found in the trichomes of the plant.  Trichomes are the tiny crystals that develop on the flowers and leaves and aids in the defence mechanisms of the plant.

Terpenes also have medicinal qualities that help to manage pain and anxiety, can kill bacteria, can treat ulcers and may even inhibit cancer cell growth.  Some examples of these are Limonene, which is most recognizable and can also be found in citrus fruits.  Another common terpene is Pinene, which is found in most pine needles.  Caryophyllene is another recognizable terpene and is also found in peppercorns.

One of the more common terpenes in Cannabis is Myrcene.  This terpene is also found in mangos and bay leaves.  It has several medicinal qualities such as anti-inflammatory effects, analgesic (pain relief) and is also considered to be sedative.  Prof of Pot reports that Myrcene has psychoactive properties and is capable of modulating the overall effects of THC.  Some strains which can contain high levels of this terpene are Jack Herer and several types of kush.

Bisabolol is a very floral terpene and can also be found in chamomile.  The medicinal qualities of this compound can help heal wounds, fight bacteria and act as a skin conditioning agent making it ideal for topicals.  Research also suggests this terpene has been effective in treating inflammation which is another reason it is beneficial.  As per Leafly, some strains which contain high levels of Bisabolol are ACDC, Pink Kush and Headband.

For those wanting to avoid getting the munchies, chose Cannabis strains that have high levels of Humulene.  This terpene is also found in hops and sage.  It can be used for anti-bacterial purposes, as an anti-inflammatory and has anti-tumor qualities.  Some strain with a high level of this terpene are Stardawg 91 and Calyx OG as per the online Leafly directory.  Tilray’s Pink Kush is another good option.

Additional terpenes can be added to your Cannabis flower or concentrates for even more medicinal benefits.  There are companies who are now producing Cannabis derived terpene products, such as Spacebear from Canada.  These products are ideal for customizing effects and is good for increasing the overall quality of Cannabis when needed.

The full legalization of Cannabis in Canada will open the doors for more scientific research and even more advanced knowledge of all the compounds and cannabinoids present in Cannabis.  The ability to research Cannabis legally is one of the amazing benefits legalization will provide.

References:  Wikipedia, Merriam-webster.com, Medical Jane, High Times, Green Flower, Prof of Pot, Leafly, Mary Janes Diary, Cosmeticsinfo.orgNational Center for Biotechnology Information and U.S. National Library of Medicine, Leafly, Prof of Pot, DMO, Leaflyand Terpene.info.

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