When you light up and joy the best cannabis strains in Washington State, the terpenes in that specific flower help determine the experience. But what are terpenes exactly? Take a closer look at cannabis terpenes, how they’re different from THC and CBD, and a list of terpenes and their effects below.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic compounds that can be found in pretty much all natural plants. Everything from the crisp smell of fresh lemon to the musky aroma of the forest floor can be attributed to terpenes. However, cannabis just happens to be one of the most prolifically terpene-rich plants on the planet. In fact, currently, scientists have found roughly 400 cannabis terpenes.
Terpenes determine what specific strains smell and taste like. For example, your favorite blueberry-tinged strains like Blueberry Pancakes or Blueberry Trainwreck have those flavor notes due to terpenes. However, terpenes also have their own biological effects, and may even help determine a strain’s overall effects.
How are terpenes different from THC or CBD?
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) are cannabinoids, which are compounds that are primarily found in cannabis. Cannabinoids are also the primary chemical compounds in cannabis that have biological activity in the human body. In other words, cannabinoids are mostly responsible for how a certain strain will make you feel.
While terpenes are not the biggest determinant when it comes to a strain’s effects, they do have their own effects that can enhance or even downplay some cannabinoid effects. For instance, a high-THC flower with heavy amounts of myrcene may mean you have an excellent strain for sleep because both have sedating properties.
A Look at the Most Prominent Cannabis Terpenes
- Flavor Notes: Earthy, spicy, and fruit
- Also Found In: Cloves, hops. lemongrass
- Strains with High Percentage: Mango Kush
Myrcene is exceptionally prominent in cannabis and makes up a large portion of the terpene profile of most strains you can buy today. Myrcene is primarily known to deliver sedating, relaxing effects. However, this terpene may offer substantial therapeutic value due to its actions as an anti-inflammatory and analgesic.
- Flavor Notes: Spicy and bold
- Also Found In: Basil, cinnamon, and black pepper
- Strain: Gorilla Cookies
Caryophyllene is another of the most dominant cannabis terpenes and is found in many strains. Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to date to actually interact with the endocannabinoid system much like cannabinoids but through different pathways. This terpene has gained a lot of traction in medical communities for this reason. The list of biological activities continues to grow, but so far, caryophyllene is known to act as an antimicrobial agent, an antioxidant, and an anti-inflammatory, to name a few.
- Flavor Notes: Woody and floral
- Also Found In: Apples, lilac, and tea tree
- Strain: Durban Poison
Terpinolene takes on fresh floral and woody notes in terms of aromatic and flavor. However, the potential benefits are even more noteworthy—terpinolene may be good for everything from sleep support to oxidative stress in the body.
- Flavor Notes: Citrus
- Also Found In: lemons, oranges, and grapefruit
- Strain: Triangle Mintz
Limonene is a prominent cannabis terpene that’s also easy to find in other plants, especially citrus. Limonene is widely used in various products due to its aromatic profile. However, this is another one of those cannabis derived terpenes with a long list of potentially beneficial properties. Limonene is known to be antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. And it may even have a positive effect on mood.
- Flavor Notes: Pine
- Also Found In: Pine trees, basil, and orange peels
- Strain: Blue Dream
With a telltale pine-like aromatic and flavor quality, pinene is one of the easiest terpenes to point on in your favorite cannabis strains. Pinene is an interesting terpene because it possesses a unique bronchodilator quality that may be good for the respiratory system. However, it may also be good for certain types of pain.
Other Honorable Terpene Mentions
While not as prominent, a few other cannabis terpenes to look for in your favorite strains include:
Discover Terpene-Rich, Top-Shelf Flower at HWY 420
Whether you’re just getting to know about terpenes or not, it is highly likely you’ve experienced a few favorites already if you have an affinity for certain strains. At HWY 420, we love getting people connected with the cannabis strains they love. Our Bremerton and Silverdale menus are filled with cured-to-perfection, terpene-rich strains you can’t help but appreciate.