So, What’s a ‘Terpene’?


Nearly all users of cannabis recognize a few key terms in conversation.

Things like THC, Indica, CBD, or Sativa are all words that that majority of people have some notion of at least.

But cannabis is so much more than just some arbitrary classification, and certainly greater than the sum of THC and CBD present in any product.

Essentially, it is all the tiny compounds operating together that make any given cultivar (or strain) exactly what it is. This coming together of organic compounds is what is known as the entourage effect.

At the very center of this symphony of compounds are the organic molecules known as terpenes. No matter the source, if you find a particular odor coming off an organic material the source is likely some kind of terpene!

Black pepper?

Those are terpenes.

What about a pine tree?

Still terpenes!

Even the blueberry smell of this Blue Dream eighth of cannabis?

Better believe it those are terpenes!

That doesn’t mean that these wonderful aromas and flavors that we experience in Cannabis are merely good for just that. As I mentioned earlier, this mysterious entourage effect is really the most important part of this entire terpene discussion.

No single part of the ever-growing list of cannabinoids and compounds found within cannabis are as effective on their own as they are when working together. CBD works better when there is THC. THC is less overwhelming when CBD is also present. Terpenes play just as important of a role.

Terpenes, in a sense, tell our endocannabinoid system what to do with the THC and CBD in the body. They regulate and dictate how these compounds interact with the other bodily systems controlled by the endocannabinoid system.

This is the true difference between the uplifting sativa cultivars and the couch-lock experienced from Indica plants.

Because this is such a misunderstood and truly critical portion of understanding hat a specific medication will do for any given patient, this blog will continue to focus on terpenes and their individual properties in the hopes of educating you, the patients, on how to navigate the murky waters of the cannabis market in order to find the relief you need as an individual.

Terpenes are the surgical instruments of the cannabis world. They can take the blunt tools of THC and CBD and mold the experience and products into something that transcends the sum of these individual parts. From anti-inflammatory topical creams to the anti-depressant effects of a capsule, let terpenes be your guide on the journey towards better health.

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