Terpenes and Flavonoids: Why They Are So Important
Just look at those tiny, beautiful, transparent, resin-filled mushrooms!
What Are Flavonoids?
Flavonoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. They are non-cannabinoid in nature.
They are responsible for the varied colour profiles of cannabis strains – when you see the word ‘flavonoid’, think ‘colour‘.
Flavonoids also protect the plant from dangers; such as from pests and animals, as well as from intense heat and sun exposure. Flavonoids can attract certain kinds of pollinating insects.
What Are Terpenes?
A terpene is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon, based on combinations of the isoprene unit – produced by myriad plants, including cannabis.
Terpenes are a crucial component of the plant; they perform many functions. They are found in the trichomes of the flower – the thousands of microscopic, mushroom-like hairs that you see covering the bud. Terpenes constitute the incredible, crystal-like coating you tend to see on premium buds.
When you look at your buds next, check for the psychedelic fractals that make up terpenes!
Try using the torch on your phone. If you cannot identify any trichomes, you have some dodgy bud! If your cannabis also lacks an aroma… chances are, you’ve got PGR. (#FCKPGR!)
Terpenes are paramount to the psycho-activity of the cannabis plant; they contribute to the psychoactive effects of Sativa and Indica strains. Each time you crack open a bag and take a nice whiff of your buds, living hydrocarbon chains (terpenes) evaporate; producing dank smells of blissful delight.
Searching For the ‘Right Terps’
When choosing the right strain; a lot of people’s first question is, “how much THC does [insert strain here] have?”.
THC is an important cannabinoid to track, of course; but THC isn’t everything. THC is not a direct indication of psychoactive potency. The concentration of THC in a bud is the percentage-by-weight of the bud, to how much THC there is; as well as how much THC can cross the blood-brain barrier.
Terpenes come into play in a massive way, here. Let’s say you have older buds with 20% THC, and younger buds that had 10%. If the older 20% aged for far too long, the terpenes will have evaporated; and the bud won’t have much of a smell. Its flavour will have passed, and its effects will be mild. If the younger 10% THC bud is fresher; there may be many more terpenes still attached to the buds. The aroma, flavour and effects will all be plentiful.
Remember, pungency = potency.
Terpenes and Flavonoids Make a Difference to Your Smoke
When you’re looking for strains… never go just by strain name; always go by the types of terpenes that are present in the herb, if you can.
Each and every terpene is unique; it has different psychoactive and therapeutic effects. If you want to produce a certain nuanced effect from your cannabis, you need to pay attention to the terpenes in your herb.
Take a common strain, like Gorilla Glue #4. It has myrcene, pinene and limonene terpenes with a 25-30% THC level. Just from this info, I can tell you that you’ve got a Sativa with sweetish-sour aromas, alongside earthy undertones; this bud will stimulate you, with potential anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It may work as a slight sedative.
A strain like Banana Hammock has nerolidol and myrcene terpenes, with a 22-25% THC and a 1-4% CBD level. This is a pungently sweet Indica; it’s a sedative, with potential anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-fungal properties.
Gorilla Glue #4 and Banana Hammock have a wide array of different aromas, flavours and effects. If you want something stimulating, uplifting and something that will make you focussed, Gorilla Glue #4 would be the way to go; if you wanted something to sedate or relax, perhaps as a sleep aid… Banana Hammock is the one for you.
Strain names often don’t mean a whole lot, on the face of them. When it comes to deciding what kind of weed is right for you… it comes down to the terpenes and cannabinoids that are present, as well as the freshness of your specimen.
Before stocking up for a sesh, take terpenes into consideration (if possible), before you looking at the level of THC. Try not to buy strains based on their name, alone. It’s important to remain aware of what you are putting inside your body.