Why Terpenes Matter

By now, you’ve probably learned some of the key basics of the cannabis plant, like the difference between THC and CBD, two of the primary cannabinoids. When talking about effects, the conversation is usually only about these two components. In reality, terpenes play a big role in the effect of cannabis. Learning the basics of how terpenes work can help you find the best product to meet your needs.

What are Terpenes?

If you’ve been around cannabis flower, you know that strains have distinct scents. This is largely because of the terpenes in the plant. Terpenes are a basic plant component, not limited to just cannabis. They are organic compounds that are influenced by the type of plant and the growing process (e.g., the climate, soil, and age).

They matter for much more than the scent they provide, however. If you consume a whole-plant cannabis product, the terpenes will affect how you feel the effects of cannabis. The difference in effect won’t be quite as pronounced as the difference between THC and CBD, but can still significantly shape your cannabis experience.

Types of Terpenes

There are four main categories of terpenes based on their aromas: sweet, sour, spicy and bitter. What really matters, though, are the differences of the effects. Terpenes can reduce anxiety, help stimulate the brain, and can even have anti-inflammatory properties. Many cannabis products are tested to determine what terpenes are present, so you can choose a product to get a specific set of effects based on the terpene profile.

Across all plants, there are thousands of different terpenes, and over a hundred have been identified in cannabis plants. Here are just a few of the most common terpenes that have been identified in cannabis strains:

Moving Forward

As more is understood about cannabis terpenes, growers are learning to make adjustments in their growing processes to achieve specific terpene profiles. This means cannabis has the potential to increasingly treat specific symptoms, from nausea to anxiety.

In the meantime, learn what you can about the products you’re buying. Products made from whole-plant extractions, or vaping dry flower, are great options for getting the full effect of the plant. Take a look at both the cannabinoids and terpene profile in the strain. This way, you can hone in on your desired effects, whether that’s some stress relief while staying focused at work, or getting a restful night of sleep.