Terpenes: what are they and what’s the entourage effect?
Terpenes are an aromatic compounds found in many plants (especially conifers like pine trees), and a very important part of the cannabis plant. Terpenes are the main aromatic component of essential oils which gives you an idea of how potent their fragrance really is! Essential oils have been used for centuries for aromatherapy and alternative health and it’s easy to see the direct link between the tenets of aromatherapy and the importance of cannabis terpenes when medicating with cannabis.
What terpenes are found in cannabis?
From the names, you can imagine how some of these smell: pinene smells of pine needles, limonene smells like lemon or citrus. But others are a bit more difficult to discern their origin. Here’s a helpful graphic from Leafly explaining the terpenes found in cannabis:
There is limited scientific proof around what effects terpenes have, but there are decades of first-person accounts showing similar effects. Did you ever hear that tip from a friend that if you eat fresh mango before smoking or vaping cannabis, you will feel more “high”? That’s because the terpene myrcene is also found in mangoes and through the “entourage effect” the additional myrcene you consumed has heightened the effects of the THC in your cannabis. Alternately, smelling or chewing on black pepper is commonly used to lower the effects of THC – so if you’re feeling too “high”, this is an old-school way of reducing the uncomfortable effects. Black pepper contains beta-caryophyllene, a variant of caryophyllene which provides a blissful sensation and reduces the paranoia that can come with high amounts of THC.
Here is an informative graphic from Leafly explaining the common effects of each terpene:
What is the entourage effect?
The entourage effect is the combined effect of all cannabinoids and terpenes in your cannabis acting together: their sum is greater than their parts! And, as discussed in the previous section, you can add additional terpenes to your session to customize and enhance the exact experience you’re looking for. Many people will light candles, incense or essential oil warmers while medicating to alter the effects they are looking for. Eating fresh fruits and veggies with specific terpenes also works – but be sure to account for digestion time – eat and allow about 30 minutes of digestion before smoking or vaporizing. Or, make a delicious smoothie with both your cannabis oil and terpene-rich food!
Want to add some terpenes to your session? Try essential oils!
Stay tuned for the rest of Cannabis Supply Co.’s educational series on all things cannabis!
More Educational Posts:
- The Endocannabinoid System: What is it?
- Cannabinoids: THC, CBD and more!
- Cannabis Species: Medical & recreational cannabis species
- Cannabis Species: the four species of cannabis
- Dosing Methods #1: Smoking & Vaporizing
- Dosing Methods #2: Edibles & Oils
- Dosing Methods #3: Topicals & More
- Make cannabis oil with your vape!
- What are cannabinoids?