How to use terpenes to choose the best strain for you
Terpenes, as elements of the cannabis plant, can sometimes support your goals for using cannabis in the first place. For example, if you’re challenged by insomnia, there are several types of terpenes that can support relaxation and rest. Likewise there are terpenes with energizing mental effects that you might want to avoid in the evening. The more you know about cannabis terpenes, the better prepared you are to choose high-terpene strains that complement your wellness goals. We put together a list of terpenes and effects to help you make informed product choices. Let’s go!
What are Cannabis Terpenes?
According to Medical News Today, terpenes are aromatic compounds that naturally occur in many plants and even some animals. They are commonly associated with cannabis due to the plant’s high concentration of terpenes, but they also contribute to the scents of lavender, thyme, and fresh orange peel, among others.
Terpenes have a variety of effects on the human body, and although they do not get you “high,” they do bind to receptors in the brain that contribute to an entourage effect when combined with THC, CBD, CBG and other plant compounds.
How to Use Terpenes
Terpenes can affect your entire experience when consuming cannabis. No two strains are genetically the same. Their flavors, smells and properties each contribute to your unique preferences. Some may have more or less effects and varying benefits so you can choose strains partially based on terpenes to customize your experience.
List of Terpenes and Effects
Learning the basics of the most common cannabis terpenes will level up your cannabis strain selection. Choose high-terpene strains and slowly increase your intake until you achieve the desired results. Keeping reading for our list of the 16 most common types of terpenes.
Bisabolol Terpene Effects and Properties
Bisabolol is typically found in chamomile flowers and in some cannabis strains. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant and anti-microbial properties, and it’s a popular option for topical products due to its increased ability to be absorbed through the skin. Additionally, this study from 2011 showed that bisabolol has potential for anti-carcinogenic effects, especially against human acute leukemia cells (which were the subject of the study).
Borneol Terpene Effects and Properties
A mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years, borneol has a scent somewhat comparable to mint or menthol. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive properties, and it’s commonly used to support eyesight and relieve pain. According to a study, Borneol is especially effective as a topical pain relief agent, even more so than menthol.
Camphene Terpene Effects and Properties
Camphene has a powerful smell that is more musky and earthy and reminiscent of fir needles. It has been used by humans for centuries in the form of camphor oil. It has anti-oxidant and healing properties, especially for skin lesions, and according to this study, can have an impact on cardiovascular health.
Caryophyllene Terpene Effects and Properties
This terpene is what gives pepper its spiciness, a flavor profile it brings into cannabis strains that have a high concentration of caryophyllene. It supports a healthy gut and digestion, and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Commonly used for muscle spasms and pain relief, caryophyllene can be incredibly effective for insomnia as well.
Additionally, unlike all other terpenes, caryophyllene has the ability to bond directly to the body’s CB2 receptors, allowing it to act both as a terpene and as a cannabidiol. This has created a lot of excitement in both the cannabis and medical communities, who see the future potential that caryophyllene offers.
Delta 3 Carene Terpene Effects and Properties
Delta 3 carene has an aroma and flavor that is woodsy and brings to mind pine and rosemary in an intriguing combination. It is abundant in turpentine but it can also be found in food products like basil and pepper. This terpene is a bone stimulant, and some believe that it has the potential to help with osteoporosis. People also use delta 3 carene for memory support and for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Eucalyptol Terpene Effects and Properties
Eucalyptol gets its name from the eucalyptus plant, in which it is the most concentrated terpene, accounting for more than 80% of the compounds in essential oils extracted from the eucalyptus tree. It is an effective antibacterial and antifungal compound with a minty aroma. It can be used to support Alzheimer’s patients as their disease progresses, and according to a study, it can lower pain and blood pressure, especially in patients who have had a major surgery.
Geraniol Terpene Effects and Properties
Found in many aromatic plants, geraniol has a scent profile similar to peach or rose. It has neuroprotectant properties, as well as antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic elements that are quite promising. It’s being explored as a possible companion therapy to cancer drugs and can also be used for pain relief.
Humulene Terpene Effects and Properties
A major terpene in the cannabis plant, humulene has an earthy aroma that significantly contributes to the overall smell of cannabis. This is potentially because mature cannabis plants produce a resin that has high concentrations of humulene, which acts as the plant’s natural defense system against bacteria, pests and various animals.
Humulene has significant antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, as well as an anorectic effect, which makes it ideal for appetite suppression. According to a study, humulene is an active ingredient with anti-tumor effects in certain types of cancers.
Limonene Terpene Effects and Properties
Like its name suggests, limonene has a bitter and citrusy aroma and flavor profile. It is most commonly found in citrus fruits, though it also naturally occurs in other trees and plants. In traditional medicine, limonene has been used to treat gallstones and other gastrointestinal ailments. After further research, modern uses include liver detoxification and weight loss. Limonene also shows potential to be an anti-carcinogenic, as well as an anxiolytic to relieve chronic or severe anxiety.
Linalool Terpene Effects and Properties
Linalool is one of the most recognizable terpenes in cannabis based on its aroma and effects. It smells distinctly floral, and is what gives lavender its smell and taste. In addition to its pleasant aroma, linalool has noticeable effects on the human body, ranging from mental relaxation to being an anticonvulsant. It is anxiolytic, anti-epileptic, antipsychotic and even has pain-relieving properties. It is often used to help with insomnia, restlessness, depression, pain relief and as an anticonvulsant.
Myrcene Terpene Effects and Properties
With an aroma similar to that of cloves with a hint of citrus, myrcene is probably the most abundant terpene in cannabis, accounting for more than 50% of the total terpene content in some strains. It has relaxing and sedating properties, making it incredibly effective for insomnia. It can also impact pain levels, inflammation and muscle spasms. Myrcene is an incredibly versatile terpene, even possessing some possible anti-carcinogenic and anti-mutagenic properties that are currently being studied.
Pinene Terpene Effects and Properties
Pinene is one of the most common terpenes released by forest trees and has a fresh, woodsy and piney aroma, which invigorates the senses, contributes to mental alertness and aids in memory recall. It is a bronchodilator, making it a possible strain option for those with asthma or bronchitis. It is also anti-carcinogenic, anti-depressant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.
Phytol Terpene Effects and Properties
Also found in green tea, phytol gets its balsamic aroma and flavor due to the degradation of chlorophyll within the cannabis plant. It is a strong anti-oxidant and an immunosuppressant that helps relieve itching sensations and supports wound healing. It also actively fights against insomnia, so it makes an effective sleep aid.
Terpinolene Terpene Effects and Properties
With one of the most complex aroma and flavor profiles of the terpenes in cannabis, terpinolene is often described as smoky or woody, with hints of floral, herbal and occasionally even citrusy elements. It is anti-carcinogenic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and can help to combat insomnia. However one of terpinolene’s least recognized properties is it can help with cholesterol levels and help fight against heart disease.
Trans-nerolidol Terpene Effects and Properties
Another complex terpene in terms of flavor and aroma, trans-nerolidol has a rather delicate aroma that often mixes floral notes (most commonly described as rose) with citrusy ones. It has anti-carcinogenic and anti-oxidant properties, and it is antimicrobial and antiparasitic. It can be effective to calm anxiety and create a relaxed state. Due to its absorption rate through the skin, it can also help to heal skin lesions when applied topically.
Valencene Terpene Effects and Properties
Named for Valencia oranges, which produce some of the highest levels of valencene in nature, it is a terpene that produces a sweet citrus aroma and flavor, though it can also have a more sour edge reminiscent of limonene. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy and anti-melanogenesis properties, and it is commonly used to aid in memory and to help heal skin lesions when applied topically.
Cannabis in Petaluma and Beyond
Thanks for checking out our list of terpenes and effects. If you have more questions, stop by the store. Open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Down Under can provide you with just what you want safely and discreetly and just when you need it. Stop endlessly searching for your perfect dispensary and see what all the buzz is about — remember Down Under Industries for your every cannabis need in Sonoma and Marin counties.