We all enjoy cannabis for different reasons, and its effects on our bodies differ for everyone. The effects of cannabis terpenes and cannabinoids play major roles in our consumption experience. They are both chemical compounds in the cannabis plant that directly interact with properties in our bodies that produce unique highs, aromas, and flavours.
We’ll explore what terpenes and cannabinoids are used for and how they influence your high.
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The scent and taste of your plant are the physiological effects of cannabis terpenes. However, plants also use these chemical properties for repealing or attracting insects and more. More than 20,000 terpenes exist for all plants, although cannabis plants contain just a fraction of these. We use a handful of the most common terpenes to help define a strain by its smell and taste.
The most common cannabis terpenes you should know are:
Each of these terpenes gives strains their unique properties. Plants that give off a floral lavender smell like the Amnesia Haze strain have lots of linalool terpenes, and the pine aroma from Magic OG Kush is the result of a pinene terpene presence.
In addition to the smell, terpenes have distinct flavours that help tell them apart. Cannabis strains with a citrus flavour profile like the Tangerine G13 have large amounts of limonene. The earthy taste of the buds produced from our Fatkid’s Cake seeds shows high amounts of myrcene.
How does your favourite weed strain make you feel? Do you prefer sativa like the White Choco Haze that gives a serendipitous euphoria and creativity? Or perhaps an indica-dominant like the Dutch Duchess strain that helps you relax after a long day. Maybe even someone who appreciates cannabis for its medical benefits, like easing pain and inflammation.
Each of these effects—and more—are the result of cannabinoids. Like Terpenes, cannabinoids are another chemical compound in the plant produced as the plant’s defense mechanism against insects, bacteria, and UV ray protection.
The most common cannabinoids associated with cannabis are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). When we consume these cannabinoids, they cause many of the psychoactive effects we consider the high. But how does it work?
Did you know that humans already have natural cannabinoids in our system? Cannabinoids in plants are identified as phytocannabinoids, and those found in humans are called endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids work in our Central Nervous System to regulate and maintain homeostasis. Receptors in this system affect our mood, appetite, stress, memory, and more to keep our bodies balanced.
When you consume cannabis, cannabinoids produced in the plant interact with our own endocannabinoid system to stimulate our receptors. It’s why marijuana use is excellent for reducing stress, making us happy, and also hungry.
Terpenes and Cannabinoids Create the Entourage Effect
With 200+ terpenes and 100+ cannabinoids, each strain genetic features a unique combination of them. Together, it’s what makes each strain different and have its own effects on you.
Consuming cannabis creates the entourage effect—when all a plant’s terpenes and cannabinoids interact with the chemicals in our bodies to create a multi-sensory experience.
Thanks to the effects of cannabis terpenes, you get the smell and flavour. And the cannabinoids that alter the high you’ll have. Terpenes and cannabinoids can also affect each other. For example, the herbal scent and taste of myrcene also have properties that allow your body to absorb more cannabinoids. It’s why strains like AK-OG Kush that have a lot of myrcene make you feel higher—also, eating mangoes that contain lots of myrcene! Alternatively, strains with more CBD cannabinoids help reduce your high feeling since it depresses the effects of THC.
Mastering the art of cannabis tasting will enhance your experience with weed. Mindful consumption will help you appreciate the bouquet of aromas, the rich flavours, and discover new highs from each grow.
How You Can Change Its Effects
If you thought the genetic properties were enough to differentiate cannabis, think again! As growers, we have a significant impact on our plants and how they will affect us when consuming them. From our grow techniques to how we consume them, you can help shape any plant into your perfect strain.
Terpenes are found in your plant’s trichomes—the sticky, crystal-like properties located on your buds. You can increase the effects of cannabis terpenes by maximizing the trichomes of your grow. Steps to improve the taste and smell of your weed happen before or after harvest. For example, you can increase terpene production by adjusting temperatures or optimizing your cure time.
There are different ways to consume cannabis—smoking, digesting, topicals, etc. Each delivers the cannabinoid effects differently. Smoking cannabis with rolling papers delivers a faster high effect compared to eating edibles since it must be digested first before entering your system. Also, CBD topicals that don’t give any high effect but are used for their therapeutic benefits.
Cannabis terpenes and cannabinoids are two essential parts of a marijuana plant that give it the physical and psychoactive properties. At Amsterdam Genetics, we provide details of odour and taste for a strain’s terpene profile. Also, a percentage breakdown of a strain’s cannabinoids to determine the kind of high it delivers. Browse our premium cannabis seeds for more information.