It’s the strongest link to memories and discreetly guides us all day every day – our nose! So it’s no surprise that terpenes, the fragrant oils found in cannabis, have become a hot topic in the cannabis community since they have long been catching our attention when picking bud.

Terpenoids are not only found in cannabis, but most aromatic plants and flowers. Like its friends in the garden, the cannabis plant produces these for the purposes of attracting pollinators and defending itself against predators. Unfortunately, its scent attracted the ultimate predator along the way…humans. However, while our olfactory senses are directly associated with taste, getting a whiff of the terpenes in the bud you’re trying to decide on makes a difference in more ways than one.

Terpenes and Taste

Over 200 terpenes have been identified in cannabis with some of the most common being pinene, myrcene, limonene, and linalool. True to their names, pinene and limonene produce aromas of pine and citrus and can be found in pine needles and citrus rinds. Interestingly enough, both of these terpenes are also found in rosemary! Meanwhile linalool is the sweet lavender smell we pick up in most bud containing a more floral flavour, and myrcene provides the earthy, herbal smell similar to that of cloves.

Effects Associated With Terpenes

With the majority of strains over the last few years being bred for high THC levels, terpenes began to gain more attention since even some of these high THC strains were still producing CBD effects despite trace levels of cannabidiol. The result was a growing inventory of terpene profiles. When looking at linalool, the main terpene found in lavender which is renowned for its antidepressant and sedative properties, strains with higher linalool production were unsurprisingly found to garner relaxing effects similar to CBD. However, only extensive lab analysis can provide specific terpene profiles in strains and much more research needs to be done before we can substantiate the pharmacological effects of terpenes. This is because cannabinoids and terpenoids have been found to interact with one another differently with each varied combination. Neurologist Ethan Russo has been researching this incredibly interesting synergistic relationship, labeling it The Entourage Effect.

In his extensive research, Russo found that pinene is able to buffer the negative cognition and memory effects of THC while combinations of limonene and linalool can enhance the anxiety reducing effects of CBD. Russo believes more in-depth research of the extensive number of compounds could result in greater therapeutic options for the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.

Cannabinoid interaction chart courtesy of Ethan Russo, M.D. via www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Terpene Temperatures

If you haven’t been convinced to join the cannabis vaping movement yet, you might find yourself a little more inclined to after this. Just like cannabinoids, terpenoids have an evaporation temperature that allow you to best tap into their medicinal properties via vapourizer. Of course, this means starting to pay closer attention to the terpenes in your strains, and even selecting for them.