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Terpenes: Cannabis 101

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Cannabis 101 – TerpenesIMG_0854

Have you ever wondered why different strains of cannabis vary so distinctly in smell and taste? Why does Pineapple express taste so fruity, while Blue dream has a distinct piney taste? The answer to all of these questions is Terpenes!

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are a class of aromatic organic compounds produced by a large variety of plants, including cannabis. These compounds are thought to have a variety of uses for the plants, including warding off pests or attracting pollinators. That pine scent you smell when you’re walking through a forest is caused by the terpenes in tree resin. In Cannabis plants, these aromatic compounds are produced in the same part of the plant that produces THC and CBD, the trichome. That sticky resin that covers the bud of the cannabis plant is full of the aromatic ingredient.

How do They Affect my Cannabis?

The scent that marijuana plants give off are caused by the types of terpenes that plant produces. In addition to the smell, they are responsible for the variety of flavor profiles available in Cannabis products. While the bulk of marijuana research has been devoted to THC and CBD, there is evidence that terpenes add to the recreational and therapeutic effects of the plant. When ingested, terpenes bind to the same receptors in the brain as THC and CBD, altering how those molecules interact with receptors. This is referred to as the “Entourage Effect.” Basically, the whole of the high is greater than the sum of its parts.

What Should I Look for When Purchasing Cannabis?

Terpenes have a hand in 3 important categories when it comes to consuming cannabis. They are scent, flavor, and physical effects. The first two are easy to tell before purchasing. Many retailers (including Agate Dreams) have samples or “smell boxes” that allow you to get a whiff of the bud you are thinking about purchasing. Smell and taste are closely linked senses so it will taste almost exactly like it smells. If you haven’t had the strain before, ask your budtender about the physical effects and potency. If you want to do some research before you walk in the store, Leafly is a great resource for learning about the different effects of terpenes. If you’re looking for a specific flavor or effect, they have a useful tool for discovering in which strains they are found. For more info on THC, CBD, Trichomes, and many more topics, follow the links to our Cannabis 101 blog posts.


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