Terpenes, what the heck are they?
Have you ever got a whiff of some weed that smelt so pungent, the aroma was practically crawling up your nostrils? What you’re noticing is the combination of organic compounds found in variety of plants, including marijuana, called terpenes. You may have also seen a “Terp %” column on our menu!
Terpenes are naturally found in the trichomes of all your favorite strains, from the citrusy Super Lemon Haze to the piney OG Kush. Extracted fruit terpenes can also be added to strains — a common practice for flavoring raw distillates.
These compounds have exceptional healing qualities, and have been utilized by various civilizations as long as fruits have existed. As more research and lab results come out about terpenes, especially within medical and recreational marijuana, customers are gaining more important information about products and strains that would be best for them.
Becoming more familiar with terpene qualities, as well as your own personal preferences for taste and effect, can help make selecting a strain at your local dispensary much easier. Your budtender can help guide you to a strain that fits your personal preferences with ease when provided with some terpene profiles you enjoy.
Terpenes come in a wide variety of tastes to satisfy your palate. Fragrances and flavor are only the beginning on the 411 rundown on terpenes, and more in-depth information can be found in Leafly’s Cannabis 101 Section on Terpene Aromatherapy. Without jumping into the nitty-gritty science terminology, we’ll introduce you to a few terpene examples such as Limonene, Pinene, and Linalool:
The delicious Limonene terpene has distinct hints of citrus, and can be found in many places from marijuana strains and fruit, to pharmaceuticals and even cleaning supplies. It helps that Limonene gives that classic zesty and clear aroma.
Sativa fans will immediately recognize Limonene in uplifting strains like Pineapple Express or Super Lemon Haze.
Limonene has many medical benefits, and studies have linked the terpene to elevated moods, stress relief, gastric reflux relief, and antibacterial properties.
This fresh and earthly terpene has a forest scent that can bring on a wave of nostalgia for many. Pine needles and parsley are natural sources of Pinene, and classic strains like Dutch Treat and OG Kush smell especially strong of pinene.
Similar to Limonene, for centuries Pinene has been known for its anti-inflammatory properties, while modern studies suggest Pinene can also promote alertness and actually help improve short-term memory (normally considered hindered by THC consumption).
“I adore the outdoorsy pine perfume and how one, pea-size hit can keep my symptoms in check,” said Leafly user StellerStoner in their strain review of the Dutch Treat strain.
The Linalool terpene is widely known for its calming and sedating effects, and will also generally carry a beautiful mix of floral, citrus, and even sugary-sweet smells.
Linalool is naturally produced in some flowers, as well as lavender. The Lavender strain, of course, contains Linalool terpenes – other strains include LA Confidential and Amnesia Haze.
With a sweet, citrusy and even sometimes spicy taste, Linalool is much more than its flavor profile: Studies have linked Linalool to anxiety, pain, and depression relief.
The article “Linalool: The Powerful Terpene that can Help Opioid Addiction,” by Herb (Jan. 2017), discusses how a recent study published in the Journal of Phytomedicine claimed Linalool could help those with opioid addictions by providing similar analgesic properties, without addictive properties in synthetic drugs like opioids.