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Ever wondered what gives cannabis strains their unique fragrance, taste, and appearance? Well, these properties have been largely attributed to one of the significant compounds used in essential oils that are commonly derived from the cannabis plant, popularly known as terpenes. 

Terpenes are aromatic oils secreted by trichomes – those tiny glandular pistils that cover the surface of cannabis plants, giving them a crystal-like glow and sticky feel. 

Trichomes contain resin glands that produce terpenes and cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which transform into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), respectively when decarboxylated.

Plants create terpenes to protect themselves against predators or to attract insects for pollination. They’re also responsible for a plant’s regeneration and oxygenation. In cannabis, terpenes are mainly responsible for the aroma and flavours. Terpenes also influence its effects by interacting with cannabinoids. The effects of the aroma can seem almost as intoxicating as ingesting the substance. 

Over 200 different terpenes have been discovered in the cannabis plant, and each strain seemingly possesses a unique terpene type and composition. Most of them are only present in such extremely low quantities that they aren’t even detectable by testing labs. 

There are both primary and secondary cannabis terpenes. Primary terpenes significantly impact the appearance, flavour, and aroma produced by a particular cannabis strain. On the other hand, secondary terpenes are the underlying matter that adds depth and layers to all of the strain’s features. 

Common primary terpenes include:

  • Pinene
  • Humulene
  • Limonene
  • Myrcene

Common secondary terpenes include:

  • Borneol
  • Phytol
  • Eucalyptol
  • Sabinene

Several factors influence a plant’s development of terpenes, including weather, climate, age and maturation, soil type, fertilizers, and even the time of day. Terpenes are primarily valued for their therapeutic and medicinal purposes. 

Different cannabis terpenes have different benefits, from providing sedation, and relieving minor aches and pains, to reducing inflammation. Some terpenes are more common than others, and some tend to appear in higher quantities on average. 

The most common terpene in modern commercial cannabis is Myrcene, renowned for its calming effects and is usually found in many relaxing cannabis strains. Their distinct blue colour can identify Myrcene-dominant strains like Blue Dream and Granddaddy Purple.

Cannabis terpenes work together with cannabinoids to produce the entourage effect and amplify therapeutic benefits. The entourage effect is simply the combined effect of different cannabis compounds that work together as a whole to create a more significant effect than if working separately to produce separate effects. 

Considering these functions, it makes sense that some cannabis terpenes serve as potential immunity boosters in people. Apparently, cannabis terpenes may be providing immunity defences in the people who consume them and the plants that produce them. 

Though the differences between terpenes may be subtle, they can add massive depth to the horticultural art and overall connoisseurship of cannabis. 


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