Does walking through an evergreen forest make you want to fill your lungs with the fresh pine-scented air? Does it seem to centre and relax you? You can attribute a part of that to the ‘Pinene’ found in, you guessed it, pine trees.
Terpene: any of a large group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants, especially conifers and citrus trees. Terpenes are found in all spices, fruits, and vegetables.
Just as many study the science and application of essential oils in wellbeing, we have also studied the science of terpenes within cannabis. (Although cannabis is still classed as a schedule 1 drug in the United States and therefor not ‘safe’ for human trials, studies have been done in Europe and parts of the Middle East, most especially, Israel.)
There are approximately 200 terpenes found in cannabis, but Licensed Producers have concentrated on about 7 of those found most abundantly in the plant. These terpenes are pharmacologically active. They have definite mental and physical benefits. If you’re planning on finessing your medicine past THC/CBD and Indica/Sativa considerations, talk to your Licensed Producer about providing terpene profiles in their strain breakdown.
Take note that terpenes (found in the trichome resin with the cannabinoids) are volatile and can be quickly lost in dried cannabis without proper heating/storage measures. They can’t be replaced through rehydrating once lost. They work synergistically with THC and CBD, as the cannabinoids help terpenes cross the blood/brain barrier.
What’s in my medicine?
Pinene – this terpene inhibits enzyme activity in the brain and this inhibition actually aids short-term memory. Which explains why high pinene strains don’t cause the memory issues associated with other high THC strains. Pinene increases mental focus and energy, is a bronchodilator (for those with asthma), and it has promising applications in reducing the size of cancerous tumours. Pinene, found in rosemary, sage and pine trees is the most common terpene found in the plant world.
Strain examples: Jack Herer, Chemdawg, Trainwreck, Bubba Kush.
Linalool – the French have known for centuries that lilacs helps with relaxation and sleep. The terpene linalool is found in lilacs and is what gives the flower its scent. Linalool is also found in Cannabis. Medicinally linalool is sedative (good for insomnia), analgesic and anesthetic, anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, antianxiety and antidepressant.
Strain examples: G-13, Amnesia Haze, LA Confidential
Myrcene – Interestingly, cannabis’ closest cousin is hops, which also contain myrcene. As do mangoes, citronella and basil. It’s the most abundant terpene found in cannabis. It’s usually associated with indicas and ‘couch lock’. In fact, the amount of myrcene found in cannabis determines if the plant will exhibit an indica or sativa effect. It is known to relax muscles and kill pain. It inhibits cell mutation, and suppresses muscle spasms. It’s a perfect example of the entourage effect, in which both the terpenes and cannabinoids work together to produce or enhance a particular synergistic effect that cannot be obtained from a single terpene or cannabinoid alone.
Strain examples: Skunk #1, White Widow, Himalayan Gold
Caryophyllene – With the ability to survive higher temperatures, caryophyllene is the most common terpene in decarbed products. Caryophyllene, also found in black pepper and cloves, gives strains a spicy and peppery taste. It interacts with CB2 ‘(anti-inflammatory) receptors. Neil Young once shared that chewing on black pepper helps him with cannabis-induced paranoia – this is likely the work of caryophyllene which acts as an anxiolitic (helps relieve anxiety).
Strain examples: Chocolate Berry Kush, Northern Lights Haze, Skywalker OG, Sour Diesel
Limonene – Found in citrus fruit, especially in the rind – think lemon zest! Also found in juniper, rosemary and peppermint. It aids n digestion, as well as depression. It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-anxiety, antacid, and anti-proliferative (anti-cancer) properties. Its also been known to dissolve gallstones.
Strain examples: OG Kush, Super Lemon Haze, Lemon Skunk