Traversing the Terpenes Terrain

Summary and opinion by John Fouts.

First I wanted to give a brief background on what terpenes are before getting into more detail.  Terpenes are found abundantly in nature.  These compounds are organic hydrocarbons that give a plant its aroma and flavor, and are often used by plants to keep herbivores away and to draw in predators to aid in furthering survival of plant species.   

Terpenes, lovingly referred to at times as “terps”, are found in all types of cannabis including sativas and indicas, so they do not discriminate.  Additionally, these molecules are what make different cannabis strains smell and taste differently.  They also play a role in the synergy that takes place between various compounds that occur naturally within cannabis plants.  Different kinds of terpenes have different properties that are accepted by the body in various ways.  Some terpenes are thought to have medical benefits, and exciting science is taking place press presently to identify genes responsible for producing certain desirable terpene traits.

The article mentions five specific terps, but there are many more that naturally occur within cannabis strains.  The terps listed in the article are as follows:  Limonene, Pinene, Myrcene, Linalool, and Terpinolene.  If I told you that this is the most commonly found terpene in tropical fruits, oranges, and lemons, would you be able to guess which one from the list given?  If you said Limonene you are right!  Limonene is also either the first, second, or third most abundantly occurring terpene compound in most cannabis strains. Pinene causes aromas like pine, Myrcene affects strain specific effects, Linalool can cause sweeter aromas, and Terpinolene can have a fresh and woody scent.  The science is still developing regarding determination of physical benefits recognized by terpene type.  For more information, please check out the original article.

My Opinion: Terpenes are some super interesting organic molecules!  It is mind blowing to think that there have been more than 100 terpenes identified as being present in various strains.  The first article listed as suggested further reading goes over a few more than the article summarized.  For deeper reading on the subject, the second article suggested provides a greater level of detail. 

Read the full article here

Suggested Further Reading here and here

 



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