Guys, my work with tinctures takes me into the world of alchemy, and terpenes are the wizard's medicine.
As you will all know only too well, the aromas and perfumes of cannabis are different with each strain. From an alchemist's viewpoint when blending tinctures, it is critical to have good strainal knowledge, as each strain has a different clinical application.
This article is to help you understand the terpenes a little better, such that you can improve the quality of your high and, more importantly, understand a little better when self medicating.
As some of you will have seen, I posted about Myrcene in a thread some time ago. That is an indicator of how profound terpenes are in a cannabis high. That article is here:
I am quoting an article posted by Franco on the Green House seed Company website, about terpenes.
TERPENES IN RESIN
The Green House Seed Company has started a real breeding revolution by providing customers and anyone interested with terpene profiles of the resin of all its strains. The 2008-2009 seed catalogue contains an example of this analysis, and the Green House website has the updated profiles for all strains. It is truly an innovative step away from the effect-only approach to cannabis and into the world of smell and flavor, the connoisseur way, "a la carte".
Cannabis is seen by many as a medicine or a recreational drug, but the more subtle aspect of it being an aromatic plant goes too often unnoticed. The herbs we use in our kitchen are considered aromatic plants because they contain a particular terpene profile that gives a distinctive flavor. Cannabis is so complex from this point of view that the possible combinations are endless, creating a broad spectrum of aromas and flavors that differ with the strains and the way they are cultivated. We are opening a new way of breeding, a new frontier for all growers with a sweet tooth.
To give you an idea of what a terpene is, a quick look at Wikipedia reveals what follows:
The word terpenes defines a large and varied class of hydrocarbons, produced primarily by plants (conifers and cannabis) and more rarely by insects. Terpenes are the major components of resin, and of oils and extracts produced from resin. The name "terpene" is derived from the word "turpentine". Terpenes function as smell and taste molecules, and also as bio-synthetic building blocks for the organism of almost all creatures. Terpenes are one of the most important components of the resin and essential oils of many types of plants and flowers.
Enough with the science. Let’s see how these terpens are affecting cannabis in the process of breeding on flavor.
The list of 16 terpenes analyzed by Green House Seed Company is a selection of the most characteristic and recognizable ones, the ones involved in the distinctive flavor of any strain of cannabis. A few example:
Alpha-Pinene is an organic compound, found in the oils of many species of many species of pine trees. It is also found in the essential oil of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). 2 types of Alpha-pinene exist in nature, one more common in European pines, the other more common in North America. A mix of the two is present in the oil extracted from the eucalyptus tree. In the Green House range this terpene is at the highest level in the Super Silver Haze. So if you like pine-tree smelling and tasting weed, think of growing this strain, or use it for crossings.
Limonene is a hydrocarbon, classified as a cyclic terpene. It is a colourless liquid at room temperatures with an extremely strong smell of oranges. It takes its name from the lemon because lemon and other citrus fruits contain high quantities of this compound, which is responsible for much of their smell. In the Green house Strains is particularly high in the Lemon Skunk and the Big Bang.
Sabinene is a natural monoterpene and it is isolated from the essential oils of a variety of plants, mostly oak trees. Sabinene is one of the chemical compounds that contributes to the spiciness of black pepper and is a major constituent of carrot seed oil. It also occurs in tea tree oil at a low concentration. Again, this terpene is high in the Super Silver Haze and in the Arjan’s Ultra Haze #1.
Myrcene, or β-myrcene, is also an organic compound. It is classified as a hydrocarbon and a monoterpene. It is obtained from the essential oil from various plants: bay, verbena, myrcia (from which is gets its name) and others. Myrcene is one of the most important chemicals used in the perfumery industry. Because of its pleasant odor, it is occasionally used directly. But it is also highly valued as an intermediate for the preparation of flavor and fragrance chemicals such as menthol, citronella, and geraniol. It is extremely high in the White Widow.
Many more terpenes are present in the resin and analyzed, and this represent a guide, a useful tool for a more mature type of smoker, conscious about flavor, and for all breeders interested in following a particular aroma in their lines.
Here is a Liquid Gas Chromatography profile of the Green House Strain, White Widow, using the Head-space method - the most advanced available, to give you an example of terpene profiles.
White Widow is the highest in Myrcene of all the GH strains
Note: the Head-space method is the same technique used in perfume and cosmetics to identify fragrances, or in the food industry to reproduce flavors synthetically.
TERPENES IN GRAPH:
1- ALPHA PINENE
3- BETA PINENE
5- DELTA-3 CARENE
6- ALPHA PHELLANDRENE
8- ALPHA TERPINENE
14- ALPHA TERPINOLENE
16- ALPHA HUMULENE
This also gives you an idea of terpene profiles in cannabis
So, how do we use this information to help us here at TY, so that we can improve the quality of our high, or maximise the medicinal benefits of our cannabis.
Well, first up is to make sure that you ALWAYS inhale the aromas and perfumes PRIOR to smoking or vaping. You do this by breaking up, or chopping up your bud prior to consumption. This releases the volatile terpenes in the bud when you rupture the resin glands. If you then inhale deeply through your nose and wait at least 5 minutes, you will maximise the benefits from that bud.
To show how this works in practice, all of you will have seen reports from police that their officers have gotten 'high' when seizing ripe cannabis in large quantities from a grow room. The police are not actually high, but they are in fact affected by the terpenes released into the air as they handle the cannabis. The two most prevalent terpenes giving this reaction are Myrcene and Geraniol. The police are relaxed and somewhat sedated, but they are NOT high. You will also notice this effect when manicuring your cannabis at harvest time.
I know a lot of purists will nay say about breaking a bud up prior to smoking, but I can assure you that they would get a better benefit if the chopped and inhaled first.
I hope you find this article helpful.