The medicinal, therapeutic and recreational use of cannabis is nothing new, and goes back several centuries. However, an exciting new development in cannabis consumption is the isolation and use of terpenes.
Terpenes are the naturally-occurring compounds that impart specific flavors and aromas not only in cannabis, but the vast majority of plant life as well. As medical science continues to research these modern marvels of natural medicine, they are increasingly prized for their various medicinal and therapeutic benefits.
Terpenes were originally valued solely for the flavor they added to award-winning strains like Strawberry Cough and Skywalker OG. But as we learn more and more about them, we’re continually discovering that the appreciation was only skin deep. Terpenes contain a multitude of health-positive properties independently, and produce the Entourage Effect in conjunction with cannabidiol (CBD).
What is the Entourage Effect?
The Entourage Effect is a term coined by Israeli organic chemists S. Ben Shabbat and Rafael Mechoulam in 1998. The term is used to describe the process in which the hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenoids present in cannabis synergistically interact during consumption. By modulating and altering our endocannabinoid system (specifically the CB1 and CB2 receptors), they basically amplify each other’s respective beneficial effects.
Today terpenes are appreciated far beyond the scents and flavors they provide in popular cannabis strains, and rightfully so. Over the past few years, it is quickly becoming common practice to use terpenes in beauty products, ointments, balms, vaporizer e-liquids and confectioneries. There are even taverns and pubs whose beverage selection revolves entirely around terpene infusion.
With this epic transformation of public perception and usage, it’s only natural that the consumption of cannabis reinvents itself as well. In this post, we take a quick look at the reasons and benefits to flavoring your weed with terpenes.
Why Use Flavored Terpenes in Your Cannabis?
The cannabis plant has long been vindicated as more beneficial than detrimental, contrary to the stigmatization forced upon it in previous generations. However, there’s no reason the responsible consumption of cannabis should get to be a repetitive experience. While we’re each inclined to be partial to a specific strain or two due to our individual needs, we shouldn’t have to be mired in the same flavors and aromas each time we light up. Tangerine Tuesday and Watermelon Wednesday line up quite nicely.
Enter flavored terpenes: because experimental strains are being developed every day, most of the trial and error has already been done for us. Recommended terpene and cannabis matchups are a simple Google search away, if flavor is what you’re after. But for specific benefits, it’s important to know what each particular terpene does, and how they’re commonly used in the mainstream.
Fruit, Herb & Mint-Flavored Terpenes
Commonly known as “base terpenes,” these are commonly used in anything from cooking to baking to enhancing alcoholic beverages. There are restaurants and bars opening up all over the world that offer terpene-infused roasts, stir-frys, drinks and even ice creams. Customer reviews note excellent flavor, but also feelings of contentment and well-being after trying the menu.
This is due in large part to the various medicinal properties in terpenes. The terpene limonene, for example, imparts a zesty and refreshing lemon twist. It’s also a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant with particular benefits to indigestion and gallbladder health. And if you aren’t impressed yet, limonene is also shown be an effective anxiolytic, viable for treating symptoms of anxiety disorders and insomnia.
Dairy & Dessert-Flavored Terpenes
These terpenes are usually found in ready-to-use products like CBD vaporizer e-liquids and specific JUUL flavor pods. However, they are most popular in the creation of DIY cannabis e-liquids and CBD concentrates.
Homemade isolates and vape juice can be made with nicotine or CBD content tailored to the milligram to suit an individual’s preference. The fact that terpenes can be added to flavor these concoctions after doughnuts and birthday cakes is certainly a welcome bonus among DIY vapers.
Dairy and dessert-flavored terpene products typically consist of ratioed combinations of base terpenes. As such, you can expect multiple beneficial effects and sensations – but to a much milder degree.
Enjoy Your Cannabis Your Way
That wraps up our explainer on flavoring cannabis with terpenes. Whether you smoke, vape or chew your cannabis, a completely new experience is just around the corner from you pending a little terpene research. Once you’ve identified the terpene effects you’re after, it’s as simple as matching it to a complementary strain and lighting up!
By Daniel Gordon, Founder of True Blue (true-blue.co).