The Cannabis Terpenes: Limonene, Myrcene, and More
When people first come to visit our Michigan dispensaries, one of the first things we hear—besides “Hey, this place is AMAZING!”—is “so, what’s up with these cannabis terpenes I keep hearing about?”
The simplest answer is that terpenes are fragrant hydrocarbons (you can simply call them “essential oils” instead) that give different strains of cannabis their distinctive aromas and flavors. In fact, terpenes are the largest and most diverse group of naturally occurring compounds in nature, found in plants, trees, even some insects and animals.
But let’s stick to the topic of cannabis, because that’s where much of the excitement about these aromatic oils is currently focused. As we’ll share, cannabis terpenes such as myrcene, limonene, pinene, caryophyllene and others lend a lot more than a pretty smell: They have the potential to impart real therapeutic benefits as well. With that in mind, here’s a personalized introduction to a few of the most common cannabis terpenes.
Cannabis Terpenes: The Source of Marijuana’s Intriguing Scents
There are a great many terpenes in cannabis: Thus far, researchers have identified at least 150! Until relatively recently, they were mainly of interest to botanists and cultivators as sensory components of the cannabis plant. The different aromas—like bright lemon, skunky earth, or sweet fruit—you enjoy when consuming cannabis? They’re all hints as to its terpene content and profile. But as we mentioned a moment ago, the current research suggests a far more impactful role for these powerful oils.
Let’s begin our journey with the most important cannabis terpene: Myrcene.
Myrcene is the most abundant cannabis terpene, characterized by a fruity and grapelike flavor and scent. In addition to its known gentle sedative effects, myrcene helps synergize the actions of other terpenes and cannabinoids. That’s why it’s sometimes known as the “Mother of Terpenes.”
Beloved for its ability to impart general uplift and mood-lightening effects, limonene is also implicated in helping reduce stress and anxiety. What’s more, studies suggest that this terpene may help regulate our immune system, and may even play a role in controlling the spread of certain cancers.
Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene
These two closely related compounds—generally known simply as “pinene”—are the most common terpenes on earth, thanks to their starring role as major constituents of the scent in pine trees. No surprise, then, that cannabis strains with a distinctive piney, resinous aroma typically contain high amounts of pinene. Other sources include herbs such as rosemary and basil, and even the peels of certain citrus fruits, such as orange.
Research tells us that pinene is a gentle anti-inflammatory. In fact, inhaling cannabis rich in pinene (especially through a gentle method such as a vape pen or vaporizer) may help reduce inflammatory responses such as asthma.
Once you’ve tried this cannabis terpene, you probably won’t forget it. Calling to mind black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and oregano, caryophyllene is as medicinally active as it is flavorful. Studies suggest that caryophyllene delivers powerful analgesic and anti-anxiety properties. And thanks to its unusual molecular binding properties, it’s often used in anti-inflammatory topicals and creams.
Introduction to Cannabis Terpenes: Wrapping Up
We hope today’s post gives you some insights into these fascinating compounds, and we invite you to stop by any of our Michigan locations—including Hamtramck, East Lansing, Lincoln Park, Houghton Lake, and Mt Clemens—to meet us, learn what we’re about, and check out our lineup of exceptional cannabis products.
Have any other questions about the terpenes in cannabis? Just ask! We are always happy to help, and we hope to see you soon.