Each cannabis plant has its own unique characteristics — that’s part of the fun of buying new cannabis products at a dispensary, right? If you’re a regular consumer, you might enjoy opening a canister to smell your new cannabis flower. Over time, you may come to enjoy the taste or effects of a particular strain.
Many believe that these qualities derive solely from the cannabinoids in a particular variety of cannabis. But in reality, there’s another compound that plays a significant role in establishing these characteristics: terpenes.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are chemical compounds that are produced naturally in plants and insects. These compounds are responsible for various aromas, flavors and colors found in different plants.
They are most commonly found in cannabis, aromatic herbs (think sage and thyme) and citrus fruits. Terpenes play an important role in a plant’s life cycle, protecting them from predators and harsh weather.
Terpenes in cannabis
At least 100 terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant. They are produced in the trichomes, the crystals on the leaves and buds of each plant.
Much like the cannabinoid profile of a particular strain — i.e. the amount of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids a plant contains — each variety of cannabis has its own unique terpene profile.
This can be impacted by myriad factors: for example, plants with the same genetic makeup can have different terpene profiles if one was grown indoors, and the other grown outdoors, as they are affected by levels of sunlight, temperature, nutrients and other growing conditions.
Why terpenes profiles are important for educated consumers
Identifying your cannabis product
In a dispensary setting, you may be used to identifying your cannabis products by strain.
Historically, plants were formerly classified solely by their cannabinoid content. Since awareness of the significance of terpenes has grown, the identification process has expanded to include terpenes as well.
A plant’s terpene profile is considered part of its chemovar, or chemotype, which is the breakdown of a plant species based on its chemical composition.
How terpenes affect the body
As research grows, we’re continuing to learn about how terpenes affect the human body. When you consume cannabis, it is thought that the dominant terpenes of a particular strain, known as the terpene profile, interact with cannabinoids like THC and CBD to produce various effects.
Much like cannabinoids, the variety of terpenes are associated with different effects: for instance, some boost energy, while others promote relaxation or sleep.
Based on existing research, it is believed that terpenes interact with the endocannabinoid system when consumed through cannabis. Together, it is thought that the compounds contribute to an “entourage effect.”
The entourage effect is a theory that cannabis compounds work synergistically to produce optimal unique effects. In other words, when consumed as a full-spectrum product versus a single-compound extract.
Learn more about terpenes at our Southbridge dispensary terpene bar
When guests visit our Southbridge dispensary, they’re invited to learn about these fascinating compounds at our Green Meadows Terpene Bar.
You’ll have an opportunity to learn about the six main cannabis-derived terpenes and their many benefits:
Our Guest Service Associates will introduce you to Green Meadows strains featuring these terpenes, and allow you to open the jars to smell each of them. Use the experience of our terpene bar to become a more educated consumer and choose the best products for you!
You can find the terpene bar at our Green Meadows dispensary at 64 Mill St. in Southbridge. Have questions? Feel free to contact us before you visit!