Everyone is talking terpenes these days, and for good reason. Terpenes are another class of compounds commonly found in the cannabis plant. These chemicals have a profound influence on the fragrance, taste, and effect of cannabis. One thing most people don’t know is that cannabinoids like THC are also classed as terpenes. All terpenes and cannabinoids are derived from a chemical called Geranyl Pyrophosphate.
You may hear the term “entourage effect” when reading about terpenes. We think the term is better defined a “symphony effect”. This is where the combined effects of cannabinoids and terpenes produce a unique experience for the user that goes beyond what THC alone can deliver. This is what makes a wide variety of cannabis strains so desirable. As strains are developed that produce a unique range of terpenes it also produces a unique range of effects. These effects include both psychotropic and medicinal effects.
This blog entry is the first in a series we are calling “Terpene Of The Week” and we are going to focus on one of the easiest to recognize terpenes of all – Pinene, or α-pinene. As you might suspect, Pinene smells like a pine forest. Whenever you smell a strain of cannabis that smells similar to a Christmas tree, you are smelling the Pinene.
Terpenes such as pinene are fragrant oils secreted in marijuana trichomes, and while they originally developed as an adaptive protection against predators, these compounds offer we humans a variety of benefits.
Some of Pinene’s known benefits include:
Bronchodilator (helps improve airflow to lungs)
Counters short-term memory loss associated with THC
Promotes alertness and energy
Please 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.
Strains with high levels of Pinene include – Jack Herer, Gorilla Glue, and Blue Dream. In Sativas and Sativa dominant hybrids Pinene produces a clear, focused effect that is typically euphoric and high energy. The presence of pinene is highly dependent on a variety of environmental factors like grow medium, flowering time, and curing processes. These strains have the genetic potential to produce high levels of pinene, but the only way to know for sure is through a lab-tested product. Luckily, pinene’s distinct aroma lets you follow your nose to many other strains containing this terpene – just sniff out the pine-scented varieties or use Leafly’s filters to find strains that fight inflammation, help with asthma, and promote focus.
Pinene comes in both alpha and beta varieties, however, it is the alpha variety that is frequently found in abundance in most cannabis strains. If a clear, energetic effect is what you are looking for then just follow your nose to a Sativa or Sativa dominant hybrid that smells like pine trees and you should be on the right track.