Most people agree that a high THC strain is a “must have” when it comes to quality of concentrates. However, we shouldn’t minimize the effects that terpenes have on a select strain.
What’s a Terpene?
A terpene is a chemical component in plants and flowers that give them smell and taste. Most commonly found in abundance in very fragrant plants like pines and conifers, they also help to deter predators that may consume the plant. Terpenes are most often glorified with essential oils and perfumes, and more recently in the cannabis industry.
Terpenes & Concentrates
Many concentrates are actually lacking in high terpene profiles. Most BHO (butane hash oils) do not contain high levels of terpenes because they are burned off during the heating process. Terpenes have a lower boiling point than THC, which means they will dissolve or deteriorate before cannabinoids like THC. This is typically why some concentrates, like shatter, do not have strong aromas, due to the heating process involved in creating the concentrate. Often times, terpenes will be added back into concentrates after the heating process to add flavor. In the same respect, terpenes can also be isolated into their own “syrup” or “sauce”. Keeping terpenes intact in concentrates also helps to enhance the entourage effect of the strain.
Types of Terpenes
While there are over 100 different terpenes in the cannabis plant, some are more recognizable than others.
The root of the word “pine” describes the smell and association to the flavor. Found most abundantly in pine needles, pinene is also found in plants like rosemary, basil, parsley, and dill. Some studies have shown that strains high in pinene can help counteract the paranoia that occasionally accompanies a strong high. In most plants, pinene acts as a bronchodilater, meaning it stimulates the bronchials in your lungs and can help ease respiratory issues. It’s most commonly associated with strains like Purple Kush and AK-47.
This is another terpene that is easy to place, as it’s the common citrus terpene in the peels of lemons, limes, grapefruits, and even juniper. It’s most commonly isolated to be used in appetite suppression and flavoring in foods, drinks, and gum. It can also be a strong antimicrobial with its acidic properties. It’s most abundant in strains like Lemon G and in Hindu Kush varieties.
Mycrene is an earthier, herbal smelling terpene. Aside from the cannabis plant, it’s found in mangos, lemongrass, hops, and thyme. Many people would relate a floor-cleaner smell to this terpene. A few studies have shown medicinal properties for inflammation and pain relief, as well as, an anti-tumor agent in cancer. One study even showed relaxing, sedative effects when combined with limonene and THC. It’s found in abundance in heavy indica strains like Granddaddy Purple, but can also be found in sativas and hybrids.
Next time you reach for a concentrate, give it a good whiff. What do you smell? When you smoke, what do you taste? Take note of the smells and flavors, as terpenes also have their own effects on the body. Do you have a favorite?