If you are new to cannabis and still very much cannacourious or the cannasour and an avid indulger in the cannabis experience, you have likely heard of terpenes. The T-word has become ubiquitous in the cannabis industry, but what are terpenes, and what exactly do they do for the cannabis experience? In this 5 part blog series, “Talking Terpenes with the LEGION,” we will dive into terpenes, your endocannabinoid system, the entourage effect, and some of the terpenes most commonly found in cannabis. This series will give you a better understanding of what the deal is with all this talk about terps. We will also cite some of the research studies that offer deep dives into some of the work that has been done on the subject.
Here are few examples of the chemical structure of some of our favorite terpenes
Terpenes: What Are They? Where Are They Found?
Perhaps you’re someone who always checks out a cannabis product’s terpene profile—or perhaps you get a little shy when your friends start talking terpenes, and realize you have a lot to learn. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, it is likely that you and your body instinctively know more about terpenes than you think.
Terpenes are compounds that stimulate your body’s olfactory glands and activate your sense of smell; as a result, they also help your mind intuitively connect the dots between various aromas and tastes—and perhaps even how they make you think or feel. While terpenes commonly come up in discussions about cannabis, in reality, they are potent molecules that are abundant in every plant on Earth, including the ones you rely on for nourishment (via whole foods like fruits and vegetables) or for mental and physical benefits (via essential oils and natural medicines).
In general, terpenes are credited with awakening different elements of sensory awareness, and even if you’ve never used the word “terpene” before, you’ve probably cultivated your own set of associations between various plant smells and your own lived experiences. Have you ever walked into a restaurant and been flooded with memories of your grandmother’s favorite Thai dish? Added aromatherapy to a massage, banking on the fact that the scent of, say, lavender will coax you into a deep state of relaxation? These are both elementary examples of how your brain and memory have subconsciously sorted various terpenes into different categories without giving much thought to the process itself.
Since terpene profiles are responsible for generating the aromas and flavors of the plants we’ve been consuming our entire lives, it makes sense that people are beginning to use terpenes as barometers when it comes to curating individualized cannabis experiences that are tailored to suit their needs.
We can broaden our understanding of terpenes by simply considering how these different plants and plant extracts make us feel, and by acknowledging that our personal palettes impact our reception of various plants—cannabis included. For example, regardless of whether you like the smell of a coffee shop or not, you will probably accept that, when ingested, coffee acts as a stimulant. If you can distinguish and appreciate the subtle differences in taste and smell among glasses in a flight of Malbec, you may be able to imagine how terpenes have impacted strains of grapes and the wines over time—and by extension, understand how terpenes might express themselves in cannabis experiences as well. The cannabis plant, however, is unique in that its terpenes don’t act alone—instead, they are supercharged, and “may act synergistically with cannabinoids” like THC, CBD, and other compounds that are naturally found in cannabis plants. Although the academic research isn’t quite there yet, many patients and consumers already trust their own instincts and experiences when considering the terpene profile of a given cannabis flower or product may alter a given experience.
We at the LEGION are definitely in this camp. We truly believe that you cannot have exceptional cannabis experiences without high-quality terpenes.
Feel the Difference Taste the Difference
Do you have a specific terpene that you like more than another? Go to our IG account @thelegionofbloomca and leave a comment on this weeks #TerpeneTuesday post and share your favorite terpene with us.
Tune in next week as we continue the conversation.