Terpenes are becoming quite the buzz word (pun intended) in the cannabis industry, and to the faithful connoisseurs.
"Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers, and by some insects. They often have a strong odor and may protect the plants that produce them by deterring herbivores and by attracting predators and parasites of herbivores." Wikipedia
Conifers are trees that bears cones and evergreen needlelike or scalelike leaves. Our beloved pine cones and needles are from conifers. If you have never experienced the delicious, oily smoke of a pine cone in a fire, you are truly missing out on one of life's treasures. Similarly, the scent of the forest floor, thick with pine needles, and heavy with rain, brings a smile to my face everytime. The terpene we smell in the forest, in the pine cones, is pinene. Pinene can also be found in orange peels, turpentine, rosemary, dill, basil, and parsley...and of course, cannabis.
Terpenes are compounds the plant develops to either attract pollinators, or protect itself from predators. They develop in the trichomes of the plant, those are the "crystals" we see on the outside, the sugary frosting. The terpenes develop here, in this sticky goo for, as I said, attraction and protection purposes.
Today, we're going to talk about one of these terpenes, pinene.
Pinene develops in different levels in different strains of cannabis, depending on how pinene-rich the plants parents were. In addition to providing attraction and protection for the plant, it works as a natural attractant and deterrent for humans on a consumption level as well. Sadly, some people have a pinene allergy, which might explain why when you get a particularly loud (smelly) strain, and your friend/roommate/mom/dad/whatever says "Ugh, the smell of weed makes me sick!" It's a legit
allergy some people have. (I am SO happy I am not one of these people. Gimme all of the pinene!!!) Here is a great list of pinene's effects and benefits, from the good folks at Leafly
"Just as different cannabinoids have different effects, so do terpenes. These unique attributes contribute to the overall composition of a strain, adding a dimension to each one’s “personality.” Some of pinene’s known effects and benefits include:
- Bronchodilator (helps improve airflow to lungs)
- Helps counter short-term memory loss associated with THC
- Promotes alertness
You should note that these effects are modulated by other compounds. For example, strains containing high levels of the sedating terpene myrcene may not provide the alert effects mentioned above. It’s important to consider the entire chemical composition of a strain when looking for a specific effect."
I'm a huge fan of pinene, and have often said that I feel anxiety relief immediately upon smelling certain strains. Gorilla Glue, or GG4
is one of them. I swear that sometimes, it reminds me almost of puppy breath- which can contain certain bacterias that contain terpenes as well- I know, mind blowing. I recently read an article
that explained terpenes as a form of communication that exists, even on a microorganism level. It explains chemical communication, and how scent is key. We rely heavily on scent as a species, from knowing when our food is spoiled by how it smells, to picking a partner, and knowing their scents as well.
As more research develops, I suspect we will find many significant links between cannabis and other plants and herbs, as well as the effects they have for some people. I, for one, am absolutely here for it, and cannot wait to hear what they learn next.
I'll go in depth with some of my other favorite terps in another post, but until then, let me know your experiences with pinene, or maybe another terpene you'd like me to feature next!
Thanks for learning with us!
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