Terpenes and cannabis
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What are terpenes?
Terpenes are organic compounds which act as aroma precusors in plants. Most terpenes are produced by an hydrocarbon called Isoprene (2-methyl-1,3-butadiene) which can be found in both animals and plants, also in the human body. The amount of isoprene found in cannabis plants (actually in all plants) mainly depends on light and environmental conditions, besides other factors.
Otto Wallach, a 19th-century German chemist, was one of the first scientists ever to investigate terpenes, leaving a knowledge that has been used later on in the essential oils and perfume industry, being the former used in alternative therapies.
In all cannabis strains from Philosopher Seeds we can find more than 100 terpenes which are not exclusive from cannabis. The most important ones are usually Myrcene, Pinene, Limonene and Linalool.
Terpenes in marijuana plants
- Myrcene: Myrcene is one of the most important monoterpenes, what means it is highly volatile. In cannabis plants it is more commonly found in Indica varieties, and it is also present in many other plants such as laurel, thyme, parsley, mangos or as the main sedative compound of hop, also used as analgesic and muscle relaxant.
Myrcene is the precusor of terpenoid Myrcenol, one of the terpenes found in lavender plants. Mostly Indica strains like Black Bomb from Philosopher Seeds have this terpene as one of its main aroma precusors.
Pinene: Pinene is one of the most abundant terpenes in Nature, found in most pine trees and conifers like cannabis or artemis. It is a bicyclic monoterpene composed of two isomers, alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. As happens with Mircene, it is also extremely volatile. Both isomers have anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic properties. Alpha-pinene is bronchodilator and is involved in several memory processes.
Many Skunk genetics have Pinene as one of their main terpenes, as happens with Philo Skunk / Gokunk.
- Limonene: Limonene can be easily extracted from lemon peels and other citric fruits, being the second terpene in Nature. To keep its aroma intact, it should be stored in a fresh, dry and shady place. Limonene is used in the cosmetic and food industry, also to manufacture cleaning products and as biodegradable degreaser. Medicinally, it can be helpful to reduce both the acidity of the stomach and the gastric acid.
Limonene is commonly found in Sativa plants like the Easy Haze / K13 Haze marijuana.
- Linalool: Linalool is another monoterpene found in more than 200 types of flowers and aromatic plants, like mint, laurel, cinnamon, some citric ftruits, etc. It is also one of the main terpenes in lavender plants. Linalool is used as flavouring agent in the manufacture of perfumes, soaps, etc. It has anti-convulsant, sedating and ansiolitic properties, so it can be useful to treat different diseases especially when combined with other cannabinoids.
Linalool can be found in Indica strains and Indica/Sativa hybrids. It is found in large amounts in American strains like OG Kush or Guava Berry Kush / Guayita from Philosopher Seeds, a cross between Chemdog and Juanita la Lagrimosa.
Terpenes, aromas, effects and therapeutical properties
Although the effects of cannabis are mainly induced by cannabinoids, we should not forget that, apart from their aromatic properties, terpenes can also modulate the effects of the plant. Here you have a flavour/effect chart according to the most commonly found terpenes in marijuana.
Terpenes greatly help us when selecting plants, especially when selecting a mother plant with intense and unique organoleptic properties.
We hope you enjoyed this post and that it will help you to better understand the taste and effect of your buds. We also recommend you reading our previous post on how to taste cannabis.
Have a nice smoke!