Terpenes may be a newer term to those in the cannabis scene. We used to judge our cannabis by strain; indica, a heavy high, “in da the couch”, versus sativa, a livelier, headier, high. We now know it’s not just the strain or cannabinoid profile, but terpenes that in addition to giving cannabis it’s strong smell, direct the type of high you may experience and the medicinal benefits you will reap.
Perhaps my favorite terpene is Myrcene. This is the most abundant cannabis terpene and conspicuous one attached to the couch lock effect, often inducing sleep. It is also found in hops and mangos and has a sedative effect on most. If a cannabis strain is fifty percent or more myrcene, it can be considered an indica, and less than fifty percent, a sativa.
The medicinal effects are far ranging from fighting symptoms of diabetes, an antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic, helping sleeplessness, and depression. Most notably, myrcene can offer pain relief with an efficiency comparable to opium, without the side-effect of addiction.
Strains testing high in Myrcene are White Widow, Pure Kush, Himalayan Gold, Skunk#1, Lovrin 110, and El Niño.
Linalool, comes in as my second favorite terp for no other reason than, how fun is it to say linalool! We find linalool in abundance in lavender with it’s floral scent and a touch of spiciness. Its medicinal benefits extend from analgesic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anti-epileptic, and anti-inflammatory, to antipsychotic, and sedative.
Individuals with symptoms of high anxiety often seek out strains high in Linalool because of its calming properties without the sedative effect.
Some strains that test high in Linalool are Grand daddy Purple, Ken’s GDP, Lavender Jones, and other purple strains.
Pinene is another highly medicinal terpene, that it is broken into alpha and beta-pinene. When I think of pinene, thoughts of being immersed deep, in a dark lush forest of towering green trees, come to mind. It has a very woody and musty aroma, and is the main terpene that gives pine trees their intoxicating smell. Pinene, is the most common terpene in nature and is found in herbs like rosemary and sage, and other conifer trees and pine nuts.
Pinene’s medicinal benefits are anti-inflammatory, help with arthritic symptoms, cancer, paranoia, asthma, and Crohn’s. Perhaps most important are its antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal effects, that have potential to fight MRSA.
Strains high in pinene include Jack Herer, Blue Dream, Dutch Treat, Romulan, Trainwreck, Chemdawg, and Super Silver Haze.
There are over two hundred terpenes in the cannabis plant and their aromatic combinations and medicinal benefits can guide you to finding your individually preferred strains.
Aimee Reid, is a writer, public speaker, consultant, and educator on cannabis and cannabinoid therapeutics. She aspires to help others understand the science behind cannabis, and the role it plays in supplementing the human endocannabinoid system for homeostasis. Through her mission of cannabis education, patient and public awareness, and advocacy, she provides individuals information and resources to better understand cannabis and make informed decisions on their personal cannabis journey.