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Citrus Terpenes commonly found in Cannabis

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February 22, 2024

Terpenes, the chemical compounds found in all cannabis plants, are known to provide the smell and flavor to specific weed strains as well as many other effects and health benefits.

How to Choose The Right Terpene For Your Needs 

Why do you consume cannabis? 

It’s a personal question that has a lot of possible answers. Whether you use cannabis to help you sleep or relax, to help you manage pain or anxiety, based on the advice of a medical doctor or just for fun, chances are the reasons you find cannabis helpful have something to do with the terpenes that cannabis contains. 

How to choose the right terpene for your needs:

  • Terpenes contribute to the aromas, flavors, effects, and benefits of different cannabis strains. Determine which of these is your top priority, and specifics associated with it. 
  • Do research on what specific terpenes are known to contribute to the specific aroma, flavor, effect or benefit you desire. 
  • There are more than 200 terpenes in the cannabis plant. Strains are often bred and grown with terpene profiles in mind. When you learn which terpenes produce your desired outcome, the next step is to research which strains are known for having higher concentrations of that specific terpene. 

If you’re new to the world of terpenes or just need a refresher,  we created a great primer “What are terpenes, and what do terpenes do?” that is definitely worth a read. Terpenes have an impact on a few important areas of your cannabis experience: Taste, Aroma, Effect, and Benefits. Let’s take a deeper dive into the specific impacts terpenes have on these important areas. 

Cannabis flower with Terpenes

Terpenes For Aroma

Here’s one of those “whoaaaa” facts that make for great party conversation starters: plants learned how to synthesize terpenes over thousands of years of evolution because they help protect plants from predators AND help plants attract pollinators, thus ensuring the survival of the species. 

It all comes down to smell. The smell of cannabis is, of course, unmistakable. But, to the trained nose, there is much more to it than “that smell” coming out of the garage at a family BBQ. For many, the experience of consuming their favorite weed strains wouldn’t be the same without that smell. Ask anyone that has ever bought fresh flower and they’ll probably tell you the first thing they do is to open the package and smell what they’ve bought. When smoking, your experience is enhanced by the smell of the flower as it combusts. 

Flower with high terpene percentages will have a stronger aroma. So, what are you in the mood for? 

Linalool, a terpene common to many different strains of flower, is also found in lavender. The smell from a strain high in linalool will help you relax the same way lavender does. 

Limonene, another common terpene, is also found in citrus fruits. If you’ve ever noticed you feel energized after breathing in the smell of fresh citrus, the smell from a strain high in limonene will help you feel energized that same way. 

Smoking during winter? Try a seasonal scent. Beta-Caryophyllene is known for a spicy, woody smell and is also found in black pepper and cinnamon. Alpha-pinene has a pine-like scent and is found in conifer trees and rosemary. 

Smoking outside in summer? Look for strains high in Geraniol. This terpene is found in plants famous for keeping mosquitoes away, like geraniums and citronella. 

Spring smoking and Myrcene go together like peanut butter and jelly. Myrcene gives off an earthy fruity smell and is also found in sweet basil and mango. 

The best season is obviously fall. It’s not as easy to choose the “best terpene” but Humulene is an earthy, woody, spicy wonder that’s also found in sage and ginseng, and we think the perfect companion to a campfire smoke session. 

Of course, smell and taste are closely linked, as your brain integrates the data it receives from your taste buds and olfactory system so that flavors can be recognized and appreciated.

Marijuana Terpenoids Generating Aroma

Terpenes For Flavor

Are you a “sweet” or a “savory” person? This can be a great place to start exploring different flavors of marijuana. 

Ocimene is considered the sweetest terpene around. Ocimene is generally associated with providing uplifting effects and is most commonly found in sativa weed strains. An easy way to remember this may be to think of a sugar high - just like candy is energizing, strains high in ocimene will perk you up. 

Caryophyllene is one of the spicier terpenes, which many liken to the taste of black pepper. (Yes, it is found in black pepper.) It is widely considered the most flavorful terpene of all, so if you really want to experience what terpenes do for the flavor of your smoke, look for a strain known to contain it. 

Lovers of sour flavors will want to experience strains high in limonene (a sour citrusy flavor) and geraniol (a sour floral flavor.)  The terpene makeup of each strain of flower is unique, and taste is often a personalized thing. We encourage experimentation with different strains to find the flavor that tastes best for you! 

When it comes to smell and taste, the different ways to consume cannabis will have a major impact on your experience. For maximum taste and flavor, we think there’s nothing better than smoking fresh flower. 

Purple cannabis flower

Terpenes for Effects 

Terpenes are not cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the compounds in cannabis that bind to receptors in our brains and produce the psychoactive effects associated with consumption. 

That said, there is a lot of science emerging on just how much terpenes have an impact on how our bodies process those cannabinoids and encourage the effects they bring. Check out our blog on “The Entourage Effect” for more information on how this works. 

For example, the relaxation you feel when smoking certain strains is because of the specific terpenes that strain contains. The top choice for many people looking for the terpene that promotes relaxation is myrcene, which is actually the most abundantly found terpene in the cannabis plant. 

Limonene is the terpene most often associated with producing energized effects, largely because of the mood boost provided by the citrusy smell. 

We know that a lot of our customers use cannabis to help them focus. For this highly motivated bunch, terpenes like pinene and caryophyllene can help them get more done in a day (or night.) 

Cannabis in the shape of a heart

Terpenes For Benefits

The more research that is done on terpenes, the more benefits are being uncovered by science. In fact, recent findings show that terpenes may have a long list of therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and even anti-cancer properties. 

According to research published by the National Library of Medicine, “cannabis is one of the most common sources for the medical terpene” and “this plant contains many medicinal properties like anticancer, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antihyperglycemic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic.” It is important to note that most of this research is done with ingested or dietary terps,  so those choosing terpenes based on their benefits may want to consider ingested forms of consumption, like edibles, beverages, tinctures, and pills. 

Fascinating research has been done on the antibacterial properties of terpenes. A 2009 study showed that carvacrol, carvone, eugenol, geraniol, and thymol were among the terpenes that demonstrated antibacterial action against Staphylococcus aureus. 

Emerging research shows that limonene may provide gastroprotective action, reducing heartburn, ulcers, and/or gallstones. And for those looking for a boost in the bedroom, limonene is also known to have a positive effect on libido. Limonene is also known to give the immune system a boost. 

Many people turn to cannabis looking for the best weed for sleep, and increasingly, many others are turning to cannabis for help managing anxiety. Linalool is known for its calming and anti-anxiety effects, while myrcene is known for its sedative and muscle-relaxing properties. Unlike every other terpene, caryophyllene CAN interact with our endocannabinoid system, and it is known as “Nature’s Anxiolytic” (anxiety reducer.) 

We see a lot of our medical patients (and rec guests, too) using cannabis for help with pain management. Caryophyllene works hard here, too, and in particular, is associated with positive impacts on neuropathic pain. This wonder compound, classified as both a cannabinoid AND a terpene, has also been known to reduce cholesterol, prevent osteoporosis, and treat seizures. We are excited by all of the possibilities that science is unearthing in terms of how our favorite plant can benefit all of humankind!

Terpenes in cannabis occurring in nature

Learn More about Terpenes

For more information on finding the right terpenes in the best weed in MA, whether that’s medical cannabis or recreational weed, make sure to stop by the best Massachusetts dispensary near you. Our teams in Framingham, Hudson, and Pittsfield are ready to answer any questions you may have. As always, check out our blog and Frequently Asked Questions page for additional information. You can follow Temescal Wellness on Twitter and Instagram, and check out our online menus to find what is available at your favorite cannabis dispensary in Massachusetts! 

If you want to read more about this subject, check out the following blogs: 

Educational Information about Cannabis from Temescal Wellness


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