As the benefits of popular cannabinoids like CBD begin to gain widespread favor, many people are looking to other parts of the cannabis plant for their reported benefits. People are cooking with hemp seed oil, using hemp seed protein powders, and even wearing clothes made from hemp fibers.
Society is finding endless ways to use every part of the plant.
Terpenes are one of the most important naturally occurring compounds in the cannabis plant, but only recently have cannabis wellness enthusiasts begun to take an interest in their potential benefits. If you’re interested in using cannabis-derived terpenes, here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Terpene?
A terpene is an aromatic compound usually produced by a plant. Some insects and animals also make unique terpenes. Cannabis is far from the only plant that produces terpenes, but it produces them in very significant amounts.
Terpenes are responsible for producing the fragrance of plants and flowers. While humans enjoy these fragrances from a sensory perspective, many insects and animals don’t.
Terpenes are part of a plant’s natural defenses and propagation mechanisms. They quickly evaporate from the plant into its surrounding air, sending scent signals to other living things in the vicinity.
A plant’s terpenes usually make it smell unappealing to predators and pests that may damage them. Plants that need help propagating themselves use terpenes to attract pollinators.
What Are the Benefits of Terpenes?
Each terpene offers different potential benefits. For humans, those benefits mostly fall under the umbrella of aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses fragrances to stimulate the olfactory system, which in turn relays information to the limbic system. The limbic system plays a large role in modulating mood and impacting how we feel.
The idea behind aromatherapy is that stimulating your olfactory system with certain scents can be used to improve the mood by inducing calm, sleepy, energized, or invigorated feelings. Aromatherapy is often used as a supplementary therapy or a meditative practice with noteworthy success.
While certain terpenes are recognized for producing specific effects, like lavender promoting calmness or providing stress relief, it doesn’t always have to be a scientific process. People can have their own set of beneficial terpenes or fragrances that work consistently for them.
In practice, it’s simple. You had a tough day, and you walked through your front door. The whole house smelled like cookies.
Did you suddenly feel a little better? That’s because the scent of fresh-baked cookies probably holds positive significance to you, and your soul could use a nice treat when you’re feeling down. The terpene in the baking cookies (called vanillin, or the vanilla terpene) works to boost your mood.
What Are Cannabis Derived Terpenes?
Cannabis-derived terpenes are terpenes that come from the cannabis plant. Cannabis plants can contain over 100 terpenes, but many of those terpenes are only present in minute amounts. Each strain of cannabis boasts its own unique terpene profile, and theories suggest that these terpenes may contribute to the effects people report experiencing after using specific strains of cannabis.
Scientists don’t currently have a way to quantify or understand the effects of cannabis strains or why so many people who use a particular strain will report that it consistently produces a specific set of effects. At this point, it’s a huge mystery on paper. Experienced cannabis users don’t think it’s a mystery at all. They’re usually eager to attribute these effects to terpenes, and maybe one day, we’ll have the technology to put that theory to the test.
For now, cannabis-derived terpenes are something people use simply because they enjoy how it makes them feel. Terpenes are generally harmless, so using them because you like them is sufficient reason to continue to enjoy them. If it helps you chill or brings up your vibe, have at it.
What Are Synthetic Terpenes?
Synthetic terpenes are terpenes created in a laboratory. This practice has become more commonplace since the interest in cannabis terpenes has increased, but it’s far from new.
For decades, companies have been using synthetic linalool (lavender terpenes) and limonene (citrus terpenes) to create perfumes, soaps, lotions, and even household cleaning products.
Synthetic terpenes are generally recognized as safe, but they may not be as beneficial as naturally derived terpenes.
What Kind of Terpenes Work Better?
The Entourage Effect, postulated by legendary cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo, seems to suggest that the benefits of cannabis come from all parts of the plant working in unison.
This means that terpenes are most effective in conjunction with their related cannabinoids and vice versa. Your favorite strain of cannabis partially produces its benefits due to the terpenes it contains, and your favorite terpenes partially produce their benefits due to the cannabinoids they’re packaged with.
When you use synthetic terpenes (terpene-specific extracts) instead of full-spectrum hemp extracts or whole cannabis flower, you’re only getting one part of a much bigger picture. If you’re using both terpenes and cannabinoids as a part of your daily routine, it may be better to use them together in the form of cannabis with a strong terpene profile.
How To Enjoy the Benefits of Terpenes
Pure cannabis-derived terpenes are intended to be used as an aromatherapy tool, although some people mix them into beverages and drink them.
The easiest and most effective way to enjoy the maximum benefits of cannabis terpenes is to use whole cannabis products, like full spectrum hemp tinctures and full spectrum cannabis products like tinctures, distillates, extracts, and cannabis flowers.
High-quality weed contains a substantial amount of terpenes. If you’re looking to enjoy both experiences simultaneously, a joint of top-shelf cannabis will get the job done.
How To Protect Your Terpenes
Terpenes are designed to evaporate very quickly. In fact, that’s their entire purpose. The plant is supposed to exude them, and it does so rapidly.
Any high-quality cannabis you purchase has been dried, cured, and stored in a manner consistent with terpene preservation. Loss is inevitable, but quality cannabis producers do the best they can to minimize that loss and save the terpenes for you.
When you get your cannabis home, you need to store it in conditions as close to its original conditions as possible. This sounds a lot harder than it is. All you need to do is put your cannabis in a Stori pod.
Within the lid of your Stori pod, there’s a small place to insert a Boveda size 1 humidity pack.
The humidity pack will lay down a mono-thin layer of water on top of your cannabis. This keeps the terpenes from evaporating and helps to protect the moisture balance inside the pod. If your cannabis is too wet, it will rot. If it’s too dry, it will lose potency and flavor as it withers. You don’t have to work about figuring any of that out.
The pack will self-regulate, and it will continue to work until the entire pack develops a hard, crunchy texture. All you need to do is swap it out for a new humidity pack.
Learning Your Favorite Terpenes
Each cannabis strain has its own terpene profile. That may be the reason why people develop such strong preferences.
The saying goes, “the nose knows,” and it’s a simple way of expressing the fact that you can tell by smelling something whether or not you’ll like it. You can also tell by rolling it up and smoking it.
Keep your Stori case organized, and use the Stori app to keep track of which strain is in which color-coded container. As you use each strain, take notes about how it made you feel.
Did you like the way it smelled and tasted? Was it great for getting your creative gears turning? Did it practically tuck you into bed? Write it down.
You can use the Stori app to find strains with similar terpene profiles once you’ve developed your personal preferences. We’re your guide to a better high.
We’ll help you find the tastiest strain for your specific needs -- whether you’re looking to soar, float, or just stay comfy on the couch for a few more episodes. We have the simplest, all-encompassing solution for fresh, tasty terpenes on demand.