Have you heard the word on terpenes? While they may have become a hot topic in the cannabis industry over just the past few years, terpenes are no flash-in-the-pan trend in the plant kingdom. Terpenes give essential oils their aromatic and topical properties, providing plants with protection from infection and hungry herbivores. Terpenes also have a long history of use by humans, including a variety of medicinal applications, and even as solvents and cleaning products. They deserve the credit for the delicious smells and flavors of many components of our diet, including herbs like rosemary, cilantro, lemongrass, and good old black pepper.
But what does this have to do with cannabis specifically? Well, just like in other plants, terpenes provide cannabis with its pleasing aromas. They are also referred to as “terpenoids” – these are terpenes that undergo chemical changes during the drying and curing stages of cannabis production. The presence of different terpenes/terpenoids in varying amounts is what gives each of the many cannabis strains its unique smell and taste. You may also have heard of the “entourage effect” or “ensemble effect” — this refers to the multifaceted ways that terpenes modulate the effects of THC, contributing to subtle changes in the euphoric experience resulting from cannabis use. Plus, terpenes are considered to have great potential for medicinal use, although more research is needed in this area.
So the next time you enjoy some flower, remember: it’s not just about THC and CBD. Give terpenes some love too!