Cannabis is a wonderful, complex plant. Nothing else in my life grants me the introspection to question why they are called APARTments, when they are so CLOSE together, while at the same time effectively alleviating significant symptoms of my depression.
This range of effects comes from the fact that your all-natural medicine is actually a very complex plant that is comprised of hundreds of chemicals that all harmoniously work together to affect our biology in any number of ways, from drastically reducing the symptoms of severe epilepsy to making pizza even more delicious.
Cannabis is so amazing because it is so complex. Everyone knows about THC; people are learning about CBD, but equally important are the hundreds of cannabinoids, compounds, and terpenes that do just as much to affect your cannabis experience. This article focuses on terpenes — the proverbial pizza toppings to your delicious medicinal cannabis crust.
What They Are
Have you ever considered what makes one strain of flower taste and smell entirely different from another? What makes your favorite morning strain taste like parmesan cheese, and why does your favorite sleepy time smoke taste like a freshly baked blueberry muffin? This is the magic of terpenes.
Terpenes are oils that produced alongside THC and other cannabinoids that are the reason that cannabis strains taste and smell so distinctive.
Dozens of terpenes have been identified to exist in the cannabis plant. It’s the specific combinations of these, THC, CBD, and the myriad of other cannabinoids that make up any given strain.
Why You Should Care
If you’re anything like me, your first foray into legal cannabis included you stumbling into a dispensary like a starstruck schoolgirl and seeking out the highest THC percentage sticky icky available. There isn’t anything wrong with this — THC is great; I love THC; you love THC; Snoop Dogg loves THC; what are we talking about again…? — however, THC isn’t the only compound to consider, when it comes to how a strain of cannabis affects you.
The Entourage Effect
The cannabinoids and terpenes that exist in cannabis alongside THC work to subtly alter what it does. Picture them like your extended family at Thanksgiving: A few of them are going to make the experience uplifting and thought-provoking; others, while still pleasant and loved, are entirely likely to put you to sleep like a wee little baby. They all smell fantastic, though, because you have one of them fancy families, whose members never smell questionable.
The way THC synergizes with terpenes and other cannabinoids is called The Entourage Effect. This is something you may want to consider, when deciding your weekly cannabis/food ratio. Mine leans toward cannabis. I call it coincidental intermittent fasting.
The Bottom Line
My relationship with cannabis changed, when I learned I might be buying it wrong. A lot of hard work was put into giving us a comprehensive program with a plethora of options. You’re doing yourself a disservice, if you always go for strains that smell like lemons or blueberries because you love fruit and don’t explore other options…like cheese.
So next time you are buying your medicine, instead of b-lining towards that Blue Dream you’ve sworn by ever since you tried it at that festival five years ago, take a second to smell the flowers…try that weirdly peppery Durban Poison. Maybe you’ll discover strains and terpenes that benefit you in ways you never considered. Maybe you’ll think of a new color and then spend an hour trying to explain it — not that I know anything about that (it’s like yellow but not really).
Also, did I really need to write this nerdy weed article, to make you want to try more cannabis?
Be safe folks, and medicate responsibly.