The more you know about the differences between terpenes and cannabinoids, the better
How familiar are you with the proper terms you should be using for your weed? Well, if you’re like the rest of us, the answer is “not super familiar.” But maybe it’s time to change that.
While you may rely on your local friendly budtender to explain all things weed-related, it won’t hurt you, or the old noggin’, to know more about the plant.
And when it comes to terpenes and cannabinoids, that could not be more true. In fact, many people confuse terpenes and cannabinoids when they do very different things. Here’s why you need to expand your mind and learn the true differences between the two in order to utilize both of them and get the best bang for your buck.
What’s a cannabinoid?
CBD, CBG, and THC are all examples of popular cannabinoids, but they’re not the only ones you’ll find in the cannabis plant. While the exact number hasn’t yet been determined, what we do know is that the marijuana plant contains 100-plus cannabinoids — and perhaps way more. Each of these compounds has its own benefits and uses, and every day we are discovering new ways to utilize them.
Cannabinoids interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, and while intoxication from THC is the most well-known side-effect of marijuana, there are even more non-intoxicating cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant.
These other cannabinoids can either, in conjunction with THC or by themselves, do things like soothe anxiety, relieve pain, or improve sleep patterns.
What are terpenes?
When people talk about terpenes, they are referring to the aromatic compounds which give marijuana its scent and flavor. When you stick your nose into the goods at your local dispensary, you’ve likely heard a budtender describe the buds as being citrusy, piney, or woody. Well, that’s the terpenes.
In nature, terpenes are used by plants to attract pollinators, and they work similarly for humans. That’s because these aromas often offer a pleasing scent or smell that enhances the smoking experience — and who doesn’t like smoking a big ol’ pine tree when possible?
While it’s a little easier to appreciate terpenes if you’re a smoker, considering that the benefits are more apparent, the truth is, even with other methods of delivery, such as edibles, terpenes still play an important role. This is due to the entourage effect.
The entourage effect
The entourage effect refers to a process where multiple cannabinoids or terpenes work together to create an effect or enhancement of effects you wouldn’t have if you’d used a single cannabinoid or terpene alone.
If you’ve been wondering what the big deal is with full-spectrum hemp products, this is the answer, by the way. Studies have shown that whole-plant hemp is nearly four times as powerful as pure CBD, and these increased effects have been noticed across the board.
While there’s still more research to be done, you can even experiment with this yourself by choosing strains high in certain terpenes. For example, Linalool is commonly utilized for stress and pain relief, and Limonene can help with nausea and vomiting.
Can you get the effects of terpenes with any cannabis product?
Honestly, it depends. The problem with terpenes is that they are delicate and can easily be destroyed in the extraction process. This means that depending on how edibles and other cannabis products are made, they may or may not have surviving terpenes.
In addition, experts believe that since edibles are less bioavailable than smoking, using edibles rather than smoking your cannabis may result in a reduced intake of terpenes.
However, if you are making your edibles yourself, it is possible to buy extracted terpenes separately, allowing you to add more of them to your batch to experiment.
While there’s still a lot to learn about how cannabinoids and terpenes work together to create the effects we feel, it’s safe to do a bit of experimenting yourself.
Creating your own mix of terpenes and cannabinoids allows you to individualize your anxiety or pain relief regiment.