It is often that the aroma of cannabis is considered to have a relaxing effect. It can be soothing for both the body and the mind. Terpenes are usually what you smell. These are enjoyable for anyone who uses cannabis, whether recreationally or for its medicinal properties.
Many users still do not know how to use terpenes, despite their prevalence. If you’re one of those people, then this post is for you. Here, we’ll review terpene’s properties and many usages.
What Are Terpenes?
A terpene is an organic compound that is produced by various insects and plants and is derived from theses as oils. It is what gives flowers, herbs, and fruits their flavor and scent. If you go out and buy an essential oil, you are buying a liquid that has a concentration of terpenes derived from that plant. So, if you buy lavender essential oil, it will have terpineol, myrcene, and linalool in it.
Every terpene has an association with a unique and different effect. Some might offer relaxation or stress-relieving properties, while others promote acuity and focus. There are even others that might help to elevate your mood. There is not a lot of research as to how terpenes change when combined with others.
The differences between different terpenes may be small and subtle. However, they might offer more medical benefits along with that, which is already received from the cannabis itself.
Types of Terpenes
There are various types of terpenes available. They will not just impact your taste and smell, but rather give you an overall feeling and experience depending on the terpene.
Indica terpenes are just one type. These are known to be quite soothing and are associated with beta-pinene, which you can find in pine trees. Pinene is known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it helps with the pain-relieving properties of cannabis with which you are likely familiar.
Linalool is also a dominant part of any Indica strain or terpene. This is floral in nature and produces the sedative effect known to be symptomatic of lavender.
On the other end is Sativa terpenes, which are known to have stimulating properties. These usually have aromas that are citrus in nature and smell bright and uplifting. That citrus smell is derived from the terpene known as limonene.
Limonene is found in lemons. It provides the uplifting feeling in these terpenes. It also works to stimulate the body’s immune system and helps to protect the gastrointestinal tract.
There are several other types and categories of terpenes, all of which offer their own properties, benefits, aromas, and tastes. With that said, you have to find those that speak to you, which can often be accomplished simply by following your nose. Use it to find the scents that speak most to you, as that often means those scents speak most to your body’s chemistry.
What Are the Uses of Terpenes?
Terpenes have an incredibly varied list of uses. They can be used to flavor things. They can also be used for their aromatic properties. In addition, they are often added to beverages and foods.
We have terpenes to thank for the market that now exists related to the cannabis industry. Terpenes are not exclusive to cannabis, as they exist within every plant on the planet, but they do provide the aroma that we have grown to appreciate. Given their prevalence, you likely want to know how to use them.
How to Use Terpenes
What you want to bear in mind when considering how to use terpenes is that they are very concentrated. This means that you need very little to get a lot of flavor and aroma. Using too many terpenes can be incredibly overwhelming and overpowering. Ultimately, using too much will create a really unpleasant experience.
Terpenes do more than just provide good aroma and flavor. They serve to support cannabis molecules in what they do best, mostly in producing cerebral and physiological effects. There is a synergy between terpenes and cannabinoids, which is known as the entourage effect. This is why terpenes are considered such an integral part of using and benefiting from cannabis.
Because of how concentrated terpenes are, you will really need to dilute them, but you’ll first need to know how it’s done. There are a few oils that prove particularly useful when diluting terpenes. The most common oils to use are PG, PEG, and coconut oil or MCT.
If you are not particularly familiar with terpenes, it is advised to start out with less than a 1% concentration. You can gradually increase the strength once you get a better hang of diluting and are satisfied with the overall product. It is hardly ever suggested that you use any more than a maximum of 10% concentration. That’s because it’s possible to get your desired flavor by using less than 1%.
Can Terpenes Be Used as a Thinning Agent?
While terpenes are a potent addition, they may be a safer and healthier alternative to some thinning agents in vape juice today.
Specifically, propylene glycol (PG) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) are worrisome thinners. PG and PEG can both add sweetness to a vape juice, which is part of why they are so common. Unfortunately, they also pose a risk of breaking down into harmful chemicals that go on to create a harsher vape and serious health consequences in users.
The biggest risk is because of the heat involved in vaping. Neither thinner has enough science to show that they are safe after exposure to the temperatures needed for vaping. In fact, it is believed that there is a link between PG and PEG and the negative conditions associated with vaping.
The issue for vapes is that heating the material to create a vapor can cause changes to the chemistry of the thinner and the material, including the terpenes. The idea is to get the materials to a temperature that will create a vapor but not to cook them unnecessarily beyond the temperature needed to vaporize a material. To assist this heating effect for some devices, it is necessary to thin a thick oil.
Essential oil vaporizers in a room work the same way your vape does to create a sweet vapor in a space from an oil. Your vaporizer mod or pen also creates a vapor to inhale but running the device too hot can chemically denature the thinning material, and it has been suggested that this may create dangerous compounds. It is a good idea to use a vaporizer that gives voltage/temperature control to regulate the vaporization temperature preserving the terpenes and limiting the changes that unnecessary heating can cause a material.
It has been suggested that terpene oils can be a better alternative as a thinner to PG and PEG while there is uncertainty about how heating changes these other thinning materials. So terpenes could give you a flavorful and effective thinning option without risking PG or PEG. Although some vape options, like the Honeystick Phantom vape, hold up to thicker juice (oil) as it stands without any need to thin it at all with PG or PEG.
Choosing a Terpene
There are a few tips you can keep in mind when experimenting with different terpenes.
1. Use descriptive words. You will remember the names of terpenes if you associate then with words with which you are most familiar. For example, think of words such as flowery, woody, and lavender.
2. Follow your nose. Pay attention to how your nose feels when choosing a new strain. If you are at the dispensary and are indecisive, go with what your nose tells you. Make sure that you smell a large selection before making a decision.
3. Make a note of your feelings. Terpenes are not just for smelling and tasting. Instead, they really do interact with the individual chemistry in your body. How you interact with and react to the terpene will have a direct impact on the experience you have with it. Take a little bit of time to note how the individual strain made you feel. Did you feel energized? Maybe you got sleepy instead. Perhaps it made you feel serene. Whatever it is, keep it in mind so that you’ll know if you want to use that terpene again.
If you find yourself in a recreational dispensary, you will likely feel challenged to find the best bud, and you’ll be looking at countless options. That can often feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Everyone has their own version of the best strain, but what is best for others might not be best for you. Follow your nose and find the best terpene for you and your body’s chemistry.
If you want to know what strains of cannabis have what types of terpene associated with them, you can look at the description in a seed bank where they will either spell out the terpenes in the strain or they will tell you what the flavor and aromas are for the strain. This in turn will tell you about the terpenes and what to expect the strain will deliver.
An example is the Pacific Seed Bank which gives good descriptions for each strain in their enormous catalogue. For example Acapulco Gold is a Sativa dominant strain and is described as: "Earthy with hints of sweetness and coffee, the flavor/fragrance of Acapulco Gold marijuana is totally unique and mouth-watering, with a lingering taste of toffee that can change into pungent pine or sour citrus." Here you can see that this strain has a complex of terpenes to offer including Pinene and Limonene mentioned at the end of the description.
There are many health benefits associated with using terpenes. They are known to be a stress reliever and have anti-inflammatory properties. They also can give you relief from nausea and pain.
What’s more, they are considered to have anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects, and they are believed to help in improving brain function, acting as a sedative, and reducing your appetite. Finally, terpenes have been shown to improve respiration. With these thoughts in mind, learning how to use terpenes either as essential oils or as part of taking a cannabis strain selected for its specific terpenes is indeed worthy of consideration.