There is an often overlooked compound that boasts incredible power. Lately, as cannabis digs deeper into the mainstream, people have been talking more and more about the protagonist of the plant—terpenoids—commonly known as terpenes. They hold all the magic behind smell and taste.
But what is a terpene?
terpene /ˈtəːpiːn/ any of numerous hydrocarbons (C5H8)n found especially in essential oils, resins, and balsams
Terpenes are natural compounds found in plants and are generally responsible for their characteristic aromas. That pleasant fragrance found in many plants and flowers is actually due to a high content of linalool, a common terpene. Menthol—the terpene you didn’t know you knew about—is responsible for the characteristic aroma of mint while limonene and citral are found in citrus peels.
Here’s an easier way to wrap your head around what they are. You’ve probably heard of essential oils. Terpenes are found in varying levels inside of essential oils (depending on the quality)—typically up to 90%.
Most essential oils contain some of the same main terpenes found in cannabis.1 With scent being such a powerful tool—linked with memory2 and nostalgia3—it isn’t surprising that we are starting to hear more about the timid terpene.
What’s that smell?
Terpenes are not only present in thousands of fruits, vegetables, and spices but in the cannabis plant as well.
With the skyrocketing demand for cannabis products, terpenes are stepping into the limelight. Now seen for what they truly are—the unique component which differentiates strains—we can harness them.
Strains which are ‘mostly indica’ have been found to mainly contain β-myrcene while ‘mostly sativa’ strains tend to have more elaborate terpene profiles.4 The cannabis industry has begun creating unique terpene formulations from the familiar flavor profiles of the world’s favorite cannabis strains.
A Harmony favorite is OG Kush—a predominant combination of limonene, myrcene and beta-Caryophyllene that create a balanced, clean and smooth gust of flavor.
Wait, they do more?
After being discovered in the early 1950’s, research shows terpenes actually interact with cannabinoids. They enhance, trigger, and even block some of the effects produced by THC and CBD.
Most commonly known as the “entourage effect,” this interaction and its effects have been detailed by Dr. Ethan Russo. In a 2011 article published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, Dr. Russo demonstrated the synergy between the various compounds, effectively setting off a chain of events leading us to the present day.
Cannabis terpenes on their own are popping up lately in many consumer products; in everything from cosmetics and foods, to vaping and concentrates. At Harmony, our commitment is to making honest and quality products. Perfection takes time.
Have questions about terpenes? Let us work together to discover what amazing things these natural compounds can do for us, whether for health and wellness or an incredible culinary experience. It’s time to explore terpenes!
- Every cannabis strain produces terpenes at varying levels. This unique combination gives each its distinct taste and smell
- Terpenes interact with cannabinoids and other compounds of the plants: their very presence can affect the way you will react to a certain strain. This is called the entourage effect.
We love working with terpenes. Our R&D team spends a lot of time and research on making the best out of their potential. We try, test, and taste our products every day to find the perfect balance of terpenes in our e-liquids.
We bring you the best of cannabis, one compound at a time.