Terpenes Explained: Effects & Benefits

The advent of the modern dispensary, both for medical and recreational sales, allows cannabis consumers to be highly selective. Through lab testing, a strain’s specific features are laid bare for even the average consumer. There are over one hundred distinct terpenes, but only a small portion of these has tangible and easily recognizable effects. We will briefly cover five of the most common terpenes, touching on their smell profile as well as their medical benefits.

Myrcene is by far the most common terpene found in today’s commercial cannabis. It has an herbal profile and a calming effect, making it ideal to treat pain, inflammation, and insomnia. This particular terpene is found in mellow strains such as Blue Dream.

Pinene has, you guessed it, a pine fragrance and is the most commonly occurring terpene in the natural world. There is some evidence that suggests pinene may help combat the short-term memory loss caused by THC. It can also be used to treat pain, inflammation, or anxiety. An example of a strain containing this terpene is Snoop’s Dream.

Caryophyllene is unique because it is also known to act as a cannabinoid, unlike all other terpenes. It activates the endocannabinoid system and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. This terpene packs almost a “spicy” punch (think pepper) and can be used to treat Alzheimer’s. This terpene is found in strains such as Purple Punch.

Limonene exhibits citrus-like qualities in fragrance and taste. Limonene is known to boost mood and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Found in strains such as Wedding Cake, this terpene also has antifungal, antibacterial, and digestive benefits.

Finally, terpinolene is a terpene with fruit aromas and is generally known to have uplifting effects in users. This fresh-smelling terpene has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and the inhibition of cancer cell growth.

Knowledge of terpenes and their benefits enables users to curate their experience by guiding strain selection to reap maximum benefits and achieve desired effects. Furthermore, individual body chemistry can affect the way terpenes affect the user. When in doubt, experiment with each to find your perfect match!

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