Terpene Profiles: What are they and what are their benefits?
If you are a regular cannabis user, chances are you know things like the difference between India, Sativa and Hybrid plants and what the different levels of cannabinoids like THC and CBD tell you about a particular strain.
(Check out our previous blog if you would like to know more). This kind of information enables you to make informed decisions about what product to buy and also what to expect. Besides a strain’s cannabinoid content, another feature you will come across is its terpene profile. But what exactly is a terpene and why is it important to cannabis users?
What is a terpene?
Terpenes are molecules secreted in the cannabis flower’s resin that give each strain its distinct smell or flavour. They can be extracted not only from cannabis plants but also other plants such as mango, lavender, hops and lemon. Extracting terpenes involves a similar method to water distillation whereby plant matter is heated to a point where the THC vaporizes, and the condensed vapor is collected.
Cannabis users will be drawn to a particular strain’s terpene profile, much in the same way smell is one of the factors a connoisseur will assess when drinking a glass of wine. Some fragrant strains are known for their aroma and even use it in their name as a selling point. Sour Diesel, Lemon Haze, Blueberry are just a few examples. But there’s more to terpenes than just smell. They are of interest to aficionados and newcomers alike because of their therapeutic qualities.
Therapeutic benefits of terpenes and the ‘entourage effect’
Within the cannabis community, terpenes have been known to provide various benefits to users such as helping people to sleep, relieve pain, and relaxing muscles.
Terpenes also play a big role in activating the psychoactive effects of cannabis. They can be used to modulate and manipulate the ratio of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD to give a strain its desired characteristics. The relationship between terpenes and cannabinoids determines what is known as the entourage effect. When you hear a retailer talk about the entourage effect, they are really just talking about the overall outcome a strain has on a user.
For those interested in seeking learning more about terpene profiles, we put together this chart. The benefits of various terpenes are based largely on anecdotal evidence and may not work for everyone. With that in mind, feel free to try for yourself or use this chart as a starting point.