What is a Terpene and the Entourage Effect?

When you’re trying to learn about cannabis, many people think all they need to buy is whatever is strongest. In the pre-legal days, this was often all buyers wanted and sellers focused on delivering. But today, in states where cannabis is legal, there are a lot more types of cannabis products to enjoy. At the same time, many still think that the ‘good stuff’ needs to be high in THC, a molecular compound called a cannabinoid.

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Cannabinoids and the Entourage Effect

THC is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, and it’s what causes the mental and physical effects that can last a few minutes to a few hours. People who aren’t very familiar with all the types of marijuana believe that this is the only effect of using it. In a cannabis flower, like a pre-roll joint, the amount of THC is usually between 10-30 percent.

Extracts and concentrates like hash or oil can provide a higher number, giving you even more satisfaction. But these actually strip away everything in the plant except the THC. This gives people a quick high but without any flavor.

That’s where the problem lies, and it’s something not a lot of people are aware of.

THC is actually one of more than 100 cannabinoids. All can combine to give you a better experience. Another common compound in marijuana is CBD. While THC provides the mind and body ‘high’ that people are familiar with, CBD‘s main effect is pain relief.

CBD products can include oil, lotions and other topical items. CBD oil benefits can mean even more relief. Oil is often made from hemp, a form of the cannabis plant that’s high in CBD, but low in THC.

You can enhance your cannabis experience by looking for ways to try all the compounds together — this is called the entourage effect. Along with benefits from all the compounds, the entourage effect makes CBD and THC work better.

Beyond the entourage effect, there are other methods to further enjoy your experience. One is by focusing on individual flavors, called terpenes.

What is a terpene?

Terpenes are natural ingredients in every plant that produce specific tastes and aromas.

For instance, terpene profiles make oranges smell different than apples. Terpene profiles also show how oranges are different from other citrus like limes or lemons, and different types of oranges.

There are wide ranges of cannabis terpenes, which all add flavors and effects.

Some include:

  • Myrcene: Mango, hops, thyme and cannabis all have this terpene. It has a fruity taste and can cut down on inflammation.
  • Pinene: The A and B varieties have a piney smell, and are in cannabis and pine needles, plus parsley and dill. It’s used in air fresheners and plastic Christmas trees. Pinene improves alertness and memory, reduces pain and reduces the effect of THC. It also helps the lungs work better and people breathe better.
  • Limonene: This citrus smell is in mint, juniper and rosemary. It helps people feel less pain, anxiety and inflammation.
  • Beta-Caryophyllene: BCP helps moods, reduces pain and inflammation and boosts appetite. It’s known for a peppery, spicy taste and examples of it include black pepper and cloves. BCP is also known for anti-anxiety properties.
  • Linalool: Citrus, rosewood and lavender all have this spicy, floral smell. It calms and relaxes, whether in cannabis or other plants.

Different Terpenes can give you different effects

These combinations of flavors, terpenoids and compounds can create all sorts of opportunities to find the ideal flavor and effects of cannabis strains that are most appealing to you. Are you looking to get mellow? Do you want more energy? Would you like to sleep better? Do you want to get creative? There’s plenty to try and sample. It’s also easy to compare high THC to high alcohol count. If someone seeks only high alcohol, like those who want the highest THC, all you’ll get is high-octane stuff.

Or you can opt for a nice craft beer or good wine. Sit and sip several with your friends, savoring each sip and having a few throughout the evening.

Today’s variety of cannabis, creates all sorts of options for people who are in search for what’s right for them.

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