Do you enjoy the smell of flowers or the taste of a refreshing beer?
Thank the terpenes.
Cannabis is a plant that’s filled with an endless array of wonder and healing. Sadly, prohibition had zero to do with it being harmful but the good news is that the world is starting to wake up. I’ve always enjoyed weed but fell in love with it once I took an active interest in learning more about what it has to offer. On my journey, I came across the science of terpenes and was really excited by what I found.
Terpenes are an extensive and diverse community of organic and aromatic compounds. They are non-psychoactive and can be found all throughout nature such as in herbs, plants and fruits. Trichomes are small mushroom shaped glands which appear on flowers and leaves. These glands secrete resin that is loaded with cannabinoids (THC and CBD) and terpenes. Cannabis is said to have over 200 terpenes and each strain has its own unique genetic makeup and the effects vary based on the ratios. Despite the large number of oils, there are approximately 10 top terpenes which occur in concentrations greater than the others.
These tiny yet mighty chemicals are responsible for so many types of activities. Here are just a few of the amazing functions which terpenes perform:
- often have a strong odor as part of a natural defense to deter herbivores and to attract predators of the herbivore
- offer protection to the buds from harmful UV rays
- produce distinctive flavors and scents like citrus, berry, mint and pine
- major component of wellness products such as essential oils which are capable of calming, energizing, reducing inflammation, improving mental focus, suppressing appetite and much more
- studies have shown the potential to slow and/or kill cancerous cells
The combination of terpenes and cannabinoids in order to achieve desired effects has the potential for miraculous medical breakthroughs. The Entourage Effect is a term used to describe the interactive synergy between cannabis compounds for enhanced treatment. For example, the ability of myrcene to boost the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD. It’s important to note that more research is required in order to better understand how all the pieces fit together.
For now, there are no doctor recommended dosages which means there will be an element of trial and error. Personally, I think that experimenting with different natural oils involves a lot less risk than other alternatives which are deemed to be safe. Each one of us is unique and will react differently to various medicine and treatment options. In conjunction to seeking professional advice, I always recommend for people to gather their own information as well. It’s not a good idea to place all of your faith in doctors and to believe that they always know what’s best. There have been many stories of individuals who’ve had to diagnose and/or treat themselves. The most empowering thing about cannabis is the ability for us to take an active role in our well-being by making informed decisions. This means, you can custom tailor the cannabis you need in order to fit your ailments even without the advice of a doctor.
Here is a wheel which I’ve borrowed from Leafly which provides a quick summary on a few popular terpenes. It’s easy to follow as it lists the aroma, medicinal benefits, boiling points (temperature makes a difference), where it can be found and effects. On the outside of the wheel, they’ve listed the strain which corresponds to said terpene.
I hope that this super condensed summary of terpenes has evoked a budding interest in cannabis. There is a special place in my heart for weed which means I’m excited to share my knowledge and experiences. I don’t believe in people or things (except for Jesus/God) to fix all my issues but there is no doubt that cannabis restores my wellness.