At Embarc, we pride ourselves on cannabis knowledge and education. It is something that is always changing and we are always learning together.
As we learn more about the cannabis plant, we learn better ways to use this powerful plant to meet our needs. Over time, it has been found that using terpene profiles to shop for cannabis can help you gauge the more specific nuances of your cannabis experience. We are here to talk a little more about what this means and how you can start to better understand how to use terpenes.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are the aromatic compound found in all plants. They are responsible for the smell, taste, and sometimes even the color of plants. In cannabis, terpenes interact with other compounds to affect the nuances of your experience. Terpenes have also been found to have some medicinal properties. There is still a lot of research to do to fully understand the role terpenes play in cannabis, but we do know they can help you take your cannabis shopping to the next level. For a deeper understanding of terpenes, check out our article “Does the scent of your weed affect your high? Top Terpene Facts”
Are CBD & THC terpenes?
No, CBD and THC are cannabinoids, a different compound of the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids do, however, work in conjunction with terpenes, in a phenomenon called the ‘entourage effect’, to enhance your experience.
How do I know what terpene I am looking for?
What are you looking for in your cannabis product? Do you want to relax? Do you want to go dancing? Are you looking for something that tastes sweet or gassier? Or maybe something to help with pain? This is a great place to start because you can define what terpene fits your need based on how you hope to use the product. It can help to keep a journal of certain strains, terpene profiles, and how they affect you. It may sound tedious, but it will help you immensely on your cannabis journey.
What are the most common terpenes in cannabis?
The most common terpene in cannabis. Used in traditional medicine to help treat diarrhea, hypertension, diabetes, and dysentery. It is specially known for its calming, sedating effect.
Pinene has been reported to produce a slightly energizing affect, inducing creativity in some. Pinene may even be affective in memory retention and increasing air flow.
Limonene is associated with its uplifting euphoria. Limonene is known for its antimicrobial effects, and some studies show promise in its anti-cancer effects.
Linalool exhibits antimicrobial and antifungal effects. It has been associated with its sedating, calming, and anti-depressant affects.
Humulene has been researched as an appetite suppressant as well as for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
Caryophyllene is known to help relieve anxiety and pain, and some claim it’s use in treating epilepsy. For a deeper understanding of terpenes and their aromatic indicators, check out our article “Does the scent of your weed affect your high? Top Terpene Facts”
Do terpenes get you high?
No, terpenes do not get you high by themselves, but they can impact the effect of THC. Terpene’s role in the ‘entourage effect’ are experiential and explain why some strains make you want to take a hike, and some make you want to take a nap.
Why is shopping based on terpenes more reliable than THC percentage?
When you shop looking at terpenes, you allow yourself a more personalized experience. You can base your decision off what taste, smell, or experience you are looking for. Two products with the same THC percentage can be very different, but two products with similar terpene profiles are going to provide similar effects. This will allow you to better curate your shopping to your lifestyle.
- Check the label! A lot of cannabis brands are starting to test for terpenes, and some go as far as putting
them right on the label to make it easy for you.
- Ask for the COA! COA’s or Certificates of Analysis are required for all legally sold cannabis product in the state of California. If a brand does not list the terpenes on their packaging, you might find it here. Terpenes are not a required product to test for so this may not always give you the answers you are looking for, but many more brands are starting to make testing for terpenes a priority.
- Keep it fresh! Terpenes are volatile and can degrade over time. Fresh cannabis is more likely to have higher terpene levels. Try to purchase cannabis that has been packaged recently and be sure to properly store, at home. If you use concentrates, keep them refrigerated.
- Not too hot! As mentioned before, terpenes are volatile, so they do not do well with heat. To keep your
hits packed with flavor, whether dabbing or using a cartridge, start with a lower temperature to find
your sweet spot.
If you are looking to learn more about how cannabis can work for you, our Guides at Embarc are here to help you through the learning process and find what you are looking for, while picking up a little knowledge on the way!
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Joshua A. Hartsel, … Alexandros Makriyannis, in Nutraceuticals, 2016
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Da Cheng Hao, … Pei Gen Xiao, in Medicinal Plants, 2015
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Gary Richter, … Alexandros Makriyannis, in Nutraceuticals (Second Edition), 2021
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Kate Robertson, May 20, 2021. Medically reviewed by Jeffrey Chen, MD