Thanks to growing research interest, scientists have been able to determine a number of chemicals that make your favorite strain of marijuana smell sweet, dank, or sour. They can also tell the different effects these different strains have on your body.
Terpenes are the organic compounds that give pot its diversity. These compounds have recently made a huge mark in cannabis culture as a significant contributing factor to your smoking experience. The level of terpenes in a strain can vary from grower to grower, and lab-testing can guarantee a strain’s terpenes profiles, although a smell test works too. Here are a handful of the different types of terpenes you might encounter and their effects.
Smells Like: Pine. Alpha-pinene, which you’ll also find in pine needles and rosemary, has a distinctly pine-y scent. In addition to functioning on its own, alpha-pinene also reacts with a number of chemicals to produce other terpenes, like limonene.
Effects: In addition to its scent, pinene boasts an abundance of medical capabilities. This terpene is highly recommended for medical marijuana patients for example, because isolated pine needle oil — which contains alpha-pinene — has demonstrated anticancer activity. This terpene is also a bronchodilator, which means it helps to improve the airflow to the lungs. It also helps to combat the short-term memory loss than has been linked to THC.
Where to find it: You can find high concentrations of alpha-pinene in strains like the ever-popular hybrid Blue Dream and the sweet, earthy Dutch Treat.
Smells Like: Myrcene has a strong herbal smell, with many ascribing a clove-like scent to it, as well as hints of citrus.
Effects: This is one of the main chemicals responsible for the infamous “couch-lock” — that feeling of being helplessly glued to the couch — and other pot-smoking effects like relaxation and sedation.
Where to find it: This is one of the most common terpenes produced by the cannabis plant, with some studies showing that 60 percent of cannabis strains contain this oil. You’re likely to come across myrcene in pure indica and hybrid strains, including White Widow and Himalayan Gold.
Smells Like: Citrus and lemon-y!
Effects: The terpene offers several medicinal benefits, including an uplifting mood and stress relief. When testing the mental effects of limonene, subjects were also found to be more focused and attentive. But beyond its mental effects, limonene showcases antifungal effects; it’s a go-to for fighting a case of toenail fungus. It’s also has been used to help treat gastric acids and reflux. And if you can get past the munchies, limonene also has been shown to promote weight loss.
Where to find it: In addition to cannabis, this terpene is found in citrus fruit rinds like lemon, orange and grapefruit. Pot-wise, you’re more likely to find this terpene in sativa strains like Jack Herer or Super Lemon Haze.
Smells Like: Many say linalool offers floral scents akin to lavender. As a scent often found in spas, it’s understandable why many believe this terpene is responsible for providing calming and relaxing effects.
Effects: While pure THC induces anxiety, linalool can help reduce this source of stress, as well as assist those suffering from psychosis and anxiety. Studies have also found that linalool helps reduce lung inflammation caused by cigarette smoke and boosts immune cells.
Where to find it: If you’re on the hunt for a linalool-heavy strain, check out the indica Lavender or the 2012 Sativa Cup winner Amnesia Haze.
Smells Like: Often encountered outside the cannabis world in plants like cinnamon leaves and black pepper, this spicy terpene is known for its woody, peppery flavor.
Effects: It’s the only terpene known to interact with the endocannabinoid system, binding to the CB2 receptor. In terms of medical properties, Beta-caryophyllene has demonstrated itself as a promising candidate for chronic pain treatment. It possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In regards to cancer treatment, beta-caryophyllene is a promising terpene, as it helps to combat damage to one’s kidneys caused by anticancer chemotherapy drugs.
Where to find it: You can find high concentrations of this terpene often in strains like your OG Kush and the heavy-THC-hitting Chemdawg.