What Are Terpenoids, Exactly?

Well… a terpene is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon, based on combinations of the isoprene unit – produced by myriad plants, including cannabis.

Terpenoids are compounds related to terpenes – these two terms are often used interchangeably. Over 20 000 terpenoid compounds have been found throughout the plant kingdom thus far. Only around 200 have been identified in cannabis.

Terpenoids are primarily responsible for the distinct aroma and flavour of your bud – whatever terpenoid/s predominate within the organism determine the smell and taste of the produce, which is reminiscent of other plant organisms due to its genetic lineage. In addition, terpenoids have their own unique therapeutic effects.

Common Terpenoids

The following are the most commonly occurring terpenoids found in cannabis strains:

Alpha-pinene:
Also found in pine needles
Flavours: piney, rosemary-like
Therapeutic Effects: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, aids memory, bronchodilator (breathing aid)

Beta-caryophyllene:
Also found in echinacea
Flavours: citrus, oily, spicy
Therapeutic Effects: anti-inflammatory, gastric cytoprotectant (cell protectant)

Caryophyllene Oxide:
Also found in lemon balm
Flavours: clove, wood, peppery, spicy
Therapeutic Effects: anti-fungal

Limonene
Also found in lemons
Flavours: citrus, juniper, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, tangerine
Therapeutic Effects: immune stimulant, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety

Linalool:
Also found in lavender
Flavours: candy spice, floral, herbal
Therapeutic Effects: anti-anxiety, anti-convulsant, sedative

Myrcene:
Also found in hops
Flavours: acid, citrus, clove, fruity
Therapeutic Effects: anti-inflammatory, sedative, analgesic
FUN FACT: Hops and cannabis are both members of the same Cannabaceae plant family. (Unfortunately, hops do not contain any THC; however, they do possess similar terpenoids, which accounts for the similar flavour profiles found within cannabis and craft/IPA beers).

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Nerolidol:
Also found in oranges
Flavours: berry, floral, sweet, woody
Therapeutic Effects: sedative, anti-fungal, skin protectant

Phytol:
Also found in green tea
Flavours: creamy, earthy, floral, vanilla
Therapeutic Effects: anti-insomnia

Cannabis Flavour Palette: The terpenes in cannabis provide a multitude of diverse aromas and flavour profiles. Since taste actually uses the same olfactory senses as smell, we can break down all the main flavours in cannabis strains into five simple categories: (1) sour, (2) spicy, (3) sweet, (4) bitter, and (5) savoury. Each strain has its own unique combination of flavours, and this diagram breaks down the most common types.

Mitch
Mitch Keys is a young writer from Brisbane, Australia unfolding in a dynamic process of becoming (like everyone else, so don’t go thinking he’s special or anything). He likes being alive.

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