Terpene hydrocarbons are a simple compound that is found in cannabis and in most fruits and plants. There are actually a huge number of different types of terpenes, and each strain of cannabis has its own different combination of terpenes which contribute to the aroma and effect of the cannabis itself. While most people are aware of the different cannabinoids that are found in cannabis, the terpenoids, terpenes and flavonoids are often overlooked and misunderstood.
Terpenes are made of carbon and hydrogen in different combinations, and they have different scents and different impacts too. Some strains of terpene are sedative in effect, some are energizing. Some increase the amount of THC that can pass through the blood-brain barrier, increasing the impact of the plant and creating what some call the ‘couch-lock’ effect. These molecules can act as a painkiller, give a feeling of euphoria, improve focus, or make you feel inspired. These impacts aren’t purely caused by the terpenes themselves, but more by the way that the terpenes and the THC and other cannabinoids interact with each other.
The overall quality of a given type of cannabis is usually measured according to how much THC it contains. Yes, some good cannabis will make you high, but the high isn’t the only thing that is valuable about cannabis. Someone who ingests cannabis for its pain relief benefits may want to consider smoking or the bud, or dabbing a ratio of 1:1 THC and CBD to negate the negative effects of THC.
The isolation of specific terpene hydrocarbons is something that some enthusiasts are experimenting with day-in, day-out. Extracting the terpenes and then adding them to dabs or to oils in order to provide a multitude of benefits to the masses.
There are more than 220 different compounds in the average cannabis plant of which more than 80 are cannabinoids, around 120 are terpenes, and the rest are flavonoids. Together, they are what gives cannabis the taste, the smell, and the medicinal and psychoactive impact that we are so used to.
Both terpenes and THC have a biochemical precursor that they share called geranyl pyrophosphate. This is produced in the plant’s resin glands, and it is then used in the making of the terpenes and the cannabinoids. The type of terpene that the plant makes depends on the climate, the maturity of the plant, the soil that it is growing in, the nutrients that it is exposed to, and the specific type of plant. Cannabis growers cultivate specific strains because of their aroma and the way that the body responds to the terpenes in question, and enthusiasts have put a lot of time into cataloguing the different feelings and responses produced by different terpenes.