Many of the familiar flavors and fragrances you love are all thanks to naturally occurring compounds called terpenes. Terpenes play a vital role in the aromatic profile, flavor profile, and overall health of many plants, including your favorite flower, Mary Jane. The tasty terpenes in your favorite strain even help produce positive effects on the human body by working with cannabinoids. These small but mighty aromatic compounds are an essential part of what makes each marijuana strain unique, so learning about them can help you identify the perfect strain for you.
Understanding the terpene concentration in different cannabis strains can help you medicate yourself properly. This blog will help explain what terpenes are, why terpenes are important, and the characteristics of cannabis strains based on their terpene profiles. We will even go over what methods you can use to preserve your cannabis terpenes during your smoke session!
What is a Terpene?
By definition, terpenes are aromatic compounds responsible for giving plants, fruits, spices, and herbs their unique scents. Terpenes are the largest group of naturally occurring compounds in a plant's essential oils and are also located within a plant’s tissue. Cannabis terpenes are specifically found in the female cannabis plant's trichomes and help build the unique profile of each marijuana strain.
Scientists have studied them and found that terps are vital to the health of almost all plant life. They help them fight against pests, protect them against infections, and even protect against harmful sun rays. If you’ve ever grown your own weed, you can thank terps for keeping your buds healthy, fragrant, and flavorful!
Are Terpenes Only in Weed?
No, Terpenes are not only in weed. Terpenes are actually in tons of different plants besides cannabis. However, if you hear anyone talk about cannabis-derived terpenes specifically, they are referring to the terps that occur naturally in the cannabis plant.
Terpenes derived from non-cannabis plants are often called botanical terpenes, and can provide a wide range of fruity flavors, savory flavors, and mild flavors used to enhance other flavors.
Why are Terpenes Important?
As we just mentioned, terpenes help plants stay healthy which makes them extremely important. They protect plants from harmful invaders and act like natural sunscreen from UV rays. In addition, terpenes can also help a plant's immune system by preventing germs and diseases from wreaking havoc.
Although terpenes are super beneficial to the plant’s health, they can also provide benefits to those who consume them. Many terpenes have therapeutic uses because they are bioactive. For example, their vibrant aromatics can be used in aromatherapy oils to help those struggling with mood disorders. This shouldn’t be too hard for any stoner to understand. We’ve all opened a fresh bag of flower, inhaled deeply, and instantly felt more carefree.
Most Common Terpenes Found in Weed
Terpenes are an important part of the smoking experience because they make every strain smell and taste unique. Although Scientists have found about 400 different weed terpenes in cannabis, the six listed below are the ones found in abundance. They all have their own unique terpene flavor and terpene effects so, each one will provide a different smoking experience.
When your mom first found your stash by following that familiar earthy scent associated with marijuana, it was most definitely the smell of Myrcene. It is the most abundant terpene you will find in most cannabis strains. Marijuana's skunk-adjacent aroma is all thanks to this pungent terpene which can also be found in hops, lemongrass, and other herbs. Myrcene is known for reducing inflammation and pain, so it's great for any stoner looking for a strain that will relax their muscles and help aid insomnia. Hybrid strains like White Widow, OG Kush, and Blue Dream are Myrcene-dominant.
Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in cannabis and a highly familiar aromatic thanks to many citrus-scented cleaning products. As the name suggests, Limonene terpenes are found in fruits like lemon, oranges, grapefruit, and lime. Limonene helps facilitate an energetic smoking experience by elevating mood levels and alleviating stress. Sativa or hybrid strains like Banana OG, Mandarin Cookies, and Khalifa Kush are limonene-dominant weed strains.
Caryophyllene has a very distinct flavor profile we all are familiar with; spice. Caryophyllene is a peppery aromatic that can be found in oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and to no one's surprise, black pepper. Caryophyllene is actually the only terpene that binds to cannabinoid receptors, which activates the endocannabinoid system in the body and provides anti-inflammatory effects. Caryophyllene is dominant in Indica or hybrid strains like GG4, Runtz, and Ice Cream Cake.
As the name suggests, the Pinene terpene smells just like your favorite winter pine candle. It's found predominantly in herbs like rosemary and is thought to help reduce marijuana-associated memory loss. So, if you are a forgetful stoner who would misplace their head if it wasn't screwed on their body, cannabis strains with Pinene are perfect for you. Indica strains like LA Confidential, Cherry Bomb, and Diamond OG are Pinene-dominant.
Terpinolene is one of the least common terpenes but it is also one of the most multidimensional. Other cannabis strains have one specific notable smell like Mycrene which smells like musk. However, Terpinolene carries an array of aromatic profiles which makes it fruity, herbaceous, and floral simultaneously. Think of it like a perfume with many scent layers combined to make one pleasant fresh scent. Terpinolene is present in many fresh-scented plants like apples, tea trees, and lilacs. It is thought to have uplifting and energizing effects, which makes it a great medicine for depression. Terpinolene-dominant strains are primarily Sativa like Jack Herer, Durban Poison, and Super Lemon Haze.
Like many terpenes, Linalool is not specific to cannabis. It features a floral lavender scent that can be identified in over 200 types of plants. Linalool usually doesn’t show up in high concentrations of cannabis strains. However, strains that are Linalool-dominant tend to be Indica, offering relaxing effects, sleepiness, and hunger. For stoners struggling with insomnia and a peckish appetite, strains like Mazar I Sharif, Runtz 33, and Wedding Mints #13 could be good options.
Smoking Methods that Preserve Terpenes
Now that you know all about terps, it’s important to know how to preserve them so you can reap all the benefits during your smoke sessions!
Cold Start Dabbing
Cold start dabbing is perfect for cannabis enthusiasts looking to enhance terpene flavor profiles during their smoke session. This is because the low temperature does a better job preserving terpenes responsible for the dab’s smell and taste. We recommend using the Ooze Toxic Barrel Mini Rig, which is perfect for cold-start dabbing because it's made of Quartz. All you have to do is drop the dab into the banger, light the banger with the torch, and hit a flavorful dab!
Mini Dab Rigs
Did you know that terpenes start degrading as soon as they touch the air when they’re vaporized? Well, they do so, the less air inside a dab rig the better because your hits will have stronger terpene flavors and terpene effects. We recommended using a mini dab rig because you will be able to preserve as many delicate terpenes as possible!
Cannabis Vaporizers use flameless air heat technology to vaporize the terpenes and cannabinoids out of your flower which turns them into an inhalable vapor. This is a great way to get a full-flavored hit. We recommend using the new Ooze Flare Dry Herb Vaporizer to fully taste all the terps!
*Pro Tip: Try out a few different temperatures with each new strain you bring home! Different terpene flavors are more pronounced a different temperatures. You'll be amazed at how much the taste can change with just a few degrees!
There you have it, everything you need to know about the terpenes that make your favorite strain so great. Now you can hit the dispensary with confidence knowing you are picking the best bud for you!