Terpenes are exciting the marijuana industry. Labs are testing terpene profiles in controlled environments. This is all new and exciting in the world of cannabis, but people have been talking about terps for a while. Most plants (and even some insects) contain terpenes. People have been testing and mapping coffee, wine, oranges – you name it.
So, what is a terpene exactly, and why should you care?
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are classified as organic compounds. Different strains of cannabis have a wide variety of smells and tastes. Many terpenes affect the aroma and flavor profile of your bud. By mapping out the terpene profiles, we can predict and manipulate them. Changing the smell and flavor is pretty cool, but it’s not even the most exciting part about terpene research.
Some terpenes have been found to have medicinal benefits. That means, there are non-psychoactive compounds that can be used to safely treat an array of medical conditions. There are a ton of different terpenes in cannabis, but here are 11 profiles you should know about.
- Flavor / Aroma – Citrus.
- Medicinal Uses – Limonene can be used to help promote weight loss, prevent and treat cancer, and treat bronchitis. It can also be used to make ointments and medicinal creams that penetrate the skin better.
- Strain – Perhaps you know Super Lemon Haze gets it’s name partially from the aroma, but did you know the smell is present because it contain’s Limonene?
- Flavor / Aroma – Earthy and musky with a hint of fruity flavors.
- Medicinal Uses – Myrcene has been shown to be an effective anti inflammatory. It also works as a sedative and muscle relaxer. This could possible contribute to the tired/stoney feeling often attributed to indicas.
- Strain – A Swiss study found that most of the strains they tested contains high levels of myrcene. One strain they tested, Lovrin 110, contained over 65% myrcene.
- Flavor / Aroma – Floral with a hint of spice. In addition to cannabis, linalool can be found in an array of flowers,mint, cinnamon, and even some fungi.
- Medicinal Uses – Can be used as an anti inflammatory. It also helps to modulate motor movements. Another study found that Linalool could be used to help treat liver cancer.
- Strain – A lab tested sample of Amnesia Haze showed slightly over 1% linalool.
4. Alpha Bisabolol
- Flavor / Aroma – Floral. Alpha bisabolol is also found in chamomile.
- Medicinal Uses – Can be used to heal wounds, fights bacteria, and can be used a deodorizer. Research suggests alpha bisabolol has been effective in treating a variety of inflammations.
- Strain – The Werc Shop analyzed a strain called ‘Oracle’ and found high levels of alpha bisabolol.
5. Delta 3 Carene
- Flavor / Aroma – Piney / earthy.
- Medicinal Uses – Studies have found Delta 3 Carene to be an effective anti inflammatory. It is also known to dry fluids like tears, running noses, and menstrual flows.
- Strain – A research study examined 162 marijuana plants, which represented over 80 strains. They detected carene in many of the samples.
- Flavor / Aroma – Earthy and camphor.
- Medicinal Uses – Borneol can be used as an analgesic, anti-insomnia, anti-septic, and bronchodilator.
- Strain – Dr. Mariano García de Palau claims that haze strains such as K13 contain high amounts of borneol.
7. Alpha-Pinene / Beta-Pinene
- Flavor / Aroma – Pine. This is, of course, partially where pine trees get their scent from.
- Medicinal Uses – Pinene has been shown to have anti inflammatory properties.
- Strain – One study examined 16 marijuana plants and found all the strains contained notable amounts of alpha-pinene and beta-pinene.
- Flavor / Aroma – Spicy. Eucalyptol is used as a cooking spice and fragrance.
- Medicinal Uses – Eucalyptol is used in a variety of products including cough suppressants, mouthwash, and body powder.
- Strain – Some cannabis strains contain eucalyptol, however, it is typically in very small amounts. An analysis of super silver haze showed .06% eucalyptol.
- Flavor / Aroma – Pine, clove.
- Medicinal Uses – Studies suggest cannabis-extracted terpineol contains antioxidant properties.
- Strain – A marijuana testing lab claims terpineol is a unique terpene found in Jack Herer and Jack crossbreeds.
- Flavor / Aroma – Hoppy. Cannabis and hops are basically cousins.
- Medicinal Uses – Studies suggest that caryophyllene may help treat anxiety and depression.
- Strain – Green House Seeds tested a hydroponic and a soil-grown specimen of Train Wreck. They found the soil grown cannabis contained .33% caryophyllene. The hydronic only contained .07% caryophyllene.
- Flavor / Aroma – Herbal.
- Medicinal Uses – Camphene has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and antibiotic characteristics.
- Strain – One study suggests camphene is significantly higher in concentration among ‘mostly indica’ strains.
How to Increase Terpenes in Marijuana
There is no shortage of ideas on how to manipulate terpene profiles. Some methods include using horticultural molasses, slightly stressing your plant regularly, or using any one of the commercial products available. Most of these come with mixed reviews.
In my opinion, what we need most right now is research. Once we have marijuana strains mapped out we can begin to breed plants in a way that produces more of a certain terpene.
The Future of Terpenes
There is still so much to learn about terpenes. Researchers will continue to map out different strains. Once terpenes have been identified researches can extract them and test clinically. Just thinking about the possible medical benefits is incredibly exciting. Get ready, because you are going to hear at lot of buzz about terpenes – if you haven’t already.