Know Your Cannabis Components: Terpenes

There’s so much new information to absorb now that medical marijuana is an option for people across Missouri. This series of blog posts is intended to help new medical marijuana patients to find the best resources and products to suit your individual situation. Once you’ve acquired more knowledge and jargon, you should feel more comfortable for that first visit to a nearby dispensary.

What Are Terpenes?

Which brings us to the question: What are terpenes? Cannabis flowers and leaves have tiny structures called glandular trichomes, which give fresh cannabis a fuzzy or frosty look right before harvest. They produce fragrant oils known as terpenes. Each strain of cannabis has its own distinct smell and flavor profile – spicy, citrusy, piney, minty, woodsy.

It’s not only cannabis that has terpenes. Of the 25,000 different terpenes found in nature, about 200 of them are known to be produced by cannabis. Terpenes developed as the cannabis plant changed over time, helping to repel predators and lure pollinators.

There are numerous different cannabis strains, and terpenes can help to differentiate the effects. However, a lot more study is needed in this area, and with increasing legalization of cannabis across the country (and potentially at the federal level), we are hopeful that we will soon know much more about the benefits of terpenes.

Some of the Most Popular Terpenes

  • Limonene: Lemons, limes, oranges – this terpene brings a citrusy freshness.

  • Myrcene: The herbal scents of bay leaf, cardamom and parsley can be found in this earthy terpene.

  • Pinene: Conveys the fragrance of pine needles, but also rosemary, dill and basil.

  • Caryophyllene: The spicy aromas of black pepper, cinnamon and cloves are delivered with this peppery terpene.

  • Terpinolene: Fruity scents such as nutmeg, tea tree, cumin and even lilacs are introduced by this terpene.

What Do Terpenes Contribute to Medical Marijuana?

Terpenes can play a large part in determining the different effects of various strains of cannabis. Some help with relaxation and relieving stress, while others support focus and concentration. Myrcene is a terpene that is found in cannabis strains that promote relaxation. If you are looking for something to help you feel more energized, a good budtender might recommend a product containing terpinolene.

Terpenes give cannabis its aromas, but they have also been connected to an array of different pharmacological effects. These include:

  • Pain relief

  • Anti-anxiety

  • Anti-convulsant

  • Anti-depressant

  • Anti-inflammatory

  • Anti-microbial

  • Fever reduction

  • Spasm relief

  • Sedative to promote sleep

What About the Entourage Effect?

Terpenes don’t just provide pleasant scents – they also enhance the impact of other cannabis molecules in the Endocannabinoid System. THC and CBD (the cannabinoids also known as tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol) are the two compounds found in cannabis that provide its most well-known effects. Each compound has its own benefits, which can be enhanced in the presence of other cannabinoids or terpenes. That’s called the entourage effect.

 illustration of cannabis entourage effect

This type of synergistic impact could bring a dizzying array of options to medical marijuana. The potential to tailor the effects to what an individual needs is exciting and just the type of thing we are hoping will be thoroughly researched in the years to come. In addition, anecdotal evidence from medical marijuana patients will provide valuable information to support the efforts of researchers.

What Can Terpenes Do for Me?

The best way to know which terpenes will most help you is to dive in and try a few. If you are hoping to feel energized, then terpinolene is an excellent place to start. On the other hand, myrcene has a more mellow profile and would be a good choice if you’re hoping to relax.

We suggest that you keep a journal to track each strain you try and what effects the different terpene profiles have. This will help you to fine-tune what you like and will give your budtender some ideas about other terpene profiles that could help you.

Document about Cannabinoids on a desk with a pair of reading eye glasses

Each terpene has its own unique properties. Researchers will provide more information about many new specific benefits as they are discovered. In the meantime, it’s essential to do your own research to find which terpenes will be most supportive of the current situation with your health.

Your Local Dispensary – Your Friendly Budtender

It’s a very invigorating time for those of us who support medical marijuana. More in-depth research on the benefits of cannabis-based products will be happening. In addition, more and more people can now do their own research and find the specific products to bring relief to a panoply of health concerns.

We’re lucky to be living in a time when dispensaries are located near us, and within each dispensary is a friendly and knowledgeable budtender. Budtenders can help with basic questions – such as “What are terpenes?” More complex queries about your own health can also be addressed. They hear our concerns and can be a great source to address our worries. Budtenders can be the best guide to the products that can soothe and help heal.

exterior of the clovr cannabis dispensary in belton missouri

Come visit us at Clovr's new Belton, Missouri dispensary - conveniently located on Highway 71. Our budtenders are knowledgeable, patient and passionate about helping MMJ patients get relief. See you soon!

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