Marijuana terpenes are an exciting facet for not only cannabis enthusiasts because they influence taste, but also exciting for scientists because they are learning more about terpene profiles and the health benefits they provide. Growers are motivated to maximize terpenes in their plants because good smell and taste command premium prices, so it's a race to the sweetest and most pungent smell!
Marijuana Terpenes Explained
Terpenes are organic non-psychoactive molecules found in cannabis plants. They are responsible for the varying smells, tastes and effects. Marijuana terpenes influence a bud’s flavor and aroma and by mapping a plant’s terpene profile we can have better visibility on how to influence the way it will taste and smell. Although manipulating flavor and aroma can be exciting, it barely scratches the surface of terpene research. The reason why the medical marijuana industry is abuzz about terpenes is because some have significant medicinal value. Because marijuana terpenes are non-psychoactive, they can treat certain health conditions.
Here are the 11 most common marijuana terpenes and health benefits:
Myrcene has a musky, earthy taste with a slightly fruity tinge. A powerful anti-inflammatory that relaxes muscles and acts as a sedative, this terpene contributes to the couch-lock feeling associated with indica. According to the International Hemp Association, most tested strains contain high levels of myrcene.
Limonene has a citrus aroma, think Super Lemon Haze, but it also stimulates weight loss, treats bronchial infections, and is a preventative and treatment for cancer. It is ideal for cannabis-infused ointments and creams because its medicinal properties make skin penetration easier.
3. Alpha Bisabolol
Alpha Bisabolol is a flowery terpene that you can also find in chamomile. It also has anti-bacterial properties that heal wounds and fights inflammation. Oracle is a good example of a strain high in alpha bisabolol.
Identifiable by its earthy camphor smell, borneol is a medicinal super terpene. It is an antiseptic, analgesic, bronchodilator and it helps insomniacs sleep through the night. Most haze strains contain high traces of borneol, most notably K13.
5. Delta 3 Carene
If you enjoy an earthy, piney flavor, then thank delta 3 carene. As an anti-inflammatory, it is highly effective. It also has antihistamine properties that dry fluids like runny noses, tears, and even menstrual streams. Research suggests that more than 80 strains currently test positive for delta 3 carene.
Linalool has a floral aroma with a spicy hint in its taste. You can find this terpene in many plants, including mint, some flowers, and cinnamon, and even certain mushrooms. Linalool aids neural function, as it modulates gross motor movement. It is also has anti-inflammatory properties commonly used in liver cancer treatment.
Eucalyptol is spicy and its used in many dishes. It has a pleasing aroma. According to the National Library of Medicine, it is a popular ingredient in many products too. Examples include body powder, mouthwash and cough medicine. Few strains contain this terpene, and if they do it’s usually in trace amounts.
8. Alpha- and Beta-Pinene
As its name suggests, pinenes are common terpenes in pine trees. It gives cannabis a pine flavor and smell. Studies suggest that most strains may contain notable amounts of both beta-pinene and alpha-pinene, which is good because it also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Herbal to the nose and on the tongue, camphene is both an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory. It treats bacterial infections most effectively. Laboratory testing found camphene in high concentrations within indica strains of cannabis.
Caryophyllene tastes like hops, which is a cousin of marijuana. This terpene is exceptionally beneficial for those suffering from depression, anxiety and other stress-related ailments. Train Wreck is a strain that contains caryophyllene, but concentrations are higher in soil-grown plants than in hydroponics.
If the taste of cloves and pine appeal to you, then you will enjoy terpineol. As far as terpenes go, this one seems unique to Jack Herer and other Jack varieties. Terpineol is an antioxidant, which cleans the body of toxins and restores it to good health.
Enthusiasts are experimenting with terpene profiles, manipulating them for taste, smell and effect of high by using low-stress growing techniques, horticultural molasses and other commercially available products. More research is needed on best practices and methods.
We still have much to learn about terpenes. Terpene profile mapping and testing will continue to help identify more of them and in more combinations. Only when researchers find them can they extract and test for medicinal value. What is indisputable is that the future of terpenes is very bright!
About Author: John Levy is a blogger by profession. Currently, he is working at Pot Valet – a leading company providing medical marijuana in Santa Monica. He has 5 years of experience in the Cannabis industry and loves sharing health benefits of marijuana and related products.