The first green I smoked was in 1975. It was probably rag weed from Mexico – 70s shake rolled into a pinner, handed to me in the bathroom of a gas station in Redondo Beach. It was around 7:30 in the morning, I was 16 and on my way to high school.
More than 40 years have passed, but if someone hands me some cheap weed, with one whiff I can see us jammed into that small space. I can smell the motor oil, see the smudges on the walls, and nearly hear the traffic outside.
I can also remember how uplifted I felt, opening that bathroom door and feeling the cool morning air on my face. The world was crisp and new, I could see every leaf on every tree, and my third eye was fully open. It felt right. I didn’t know it at the time, but cannabis would become my remedy for what ails me for life.
Memories, light the corners of my mind
The memories of that small space and that early morning walk come rushing in courtesy of the Limbic System – the sentimental side of human physiology, connecting scent to memories.
The Limbic system is a complex structure within the brain supporting all the fun stuff, like emotion, behavior, motivation, and long-term memory. Our emotional life depends on this system, and when triggered by scent, can bring back a gamut of emotions and feelings.
The main scent trigger for memory and emotions are Terpenes, a large and varied type of hydrocarbons – made up of hydrogen and carbon – found in fragrant plants – especially so in cannabis.
Who isn’t drawn to that first whiff of good bud? Whether you cut, grind or break it up with your thumbnails, it begs a deep, meditative inhale of pure goodness.
The sweet scent…of terpenes
Terpenes are the main component of plant resins or essential oils, and why we are compelled to bring fingers to nose – for the fragrant plants draw us to them, begging us to partake. It’s a seduction to be sure, and one that humans have been graciously accepting since Eve handed Adam that apple.
Writer Curt Robbins has written extensively on the many beneficial compounds of cannabis. He started Terpene Tuesday as a weekly nod to educate readers on the many benefits of different terpenes found in cannabis and other plants, fruits and vegetables.
His articles on terpenes have been written for many publications, using the hashtag #TerpeneTuesday to bring them together for readers.
As quoted in CannabizDaily. com, Robbins stated, “I’m honored that folks find value in the articles, which describe the medical efficacy of terpenes in plain English, allowing anyone to understand. Patients and cannabis consumers shouldn’t have to be scientists or doctors to understand the efficacy of what they put in their bodies, especially if it’s intended to improve their health.” Robbins take-away is that all herbs, fruits, and vegetables have the same type of medical efficacy of cannabinoids like CBD, THC, and CBG, and more.
A favorite article of mine is Robbins explanation of the terpene, Linmonene (D-Limonene), with scents similar to citrus.
“Of the 20,000 terpenes found in nature, and the 200 that may manifest in a particular strain [cultivar] of cannabis, limonene is one of the major players,” he details in Eaze.com. “This terpene sometimes constitutes up to 16 percent of the volume (by weight) of a particular sample of cannabis.”
In terms of medical efficacy, he details, this primary terpene acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory (benefitting chronic pain sufferers), and anti-cancer – as with other terpenes and cannabinoids, it has been shown to shrink cancerous tumors.
To burn or vape, that is the question
Anyone who has ever used a vaporizer has tasted the sweet green and intense flavors of the fragrant taste of cannabis. What you are tasting are the terpenes, unmasked by the charred carbon – the smoke inhaled when burning flower.
Cannabis heals and carbon is the only negative effect of smoking – causing bronchial issues that include coughing, a rattle, and spitting up hard mucus riddled with dark black carbon in the mix. It won’t kill you, it won’t cause cancer, but it can make partaking via burning flower more difficult.
I’ve felt the bronchial effects of taking in too much carbon – especially after using a bong consistently, or burning paper via joints. Bong rips force more carbon deeper into your lungs. To take a break I vape for maintenance. This gets the pure terpenes into your lungs for clearing up the air passages and healing the damage done. Fine print: If you are still smoking cigarettes, using a vaporizer is a good idea.
If you have been diagnosed with COPD, or suffer from bronchial issues, whether you smoke tobacco or not, you might want to consider ingesting cannabis oil, as I’ve personally seen good results with these ailments where traditional medications fail. The flavor and fragrance of cannabis is an amazing thing. Knowing that scent is carrying the healing compounds of the plant into our biological systems is a gift. With each whiff of scent memories are made and we heal. It’s not miraculous, it’s the beauty of healing plants.
For more information on the limbic system, visit http://science. howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/laughter4.htm For more information on terpenes visit, http://www.cannabisscience.com/aroma_flavor.html
- Kitchen Apothecary – Sharon Letts
- Kitchen Apothecary – Apple Cider Vinegar Infusions – By Sharon Letts
- Kitchen Apothecary: Making Cannabis Oil at Home – By Sharon Letts
- Kitchen Apothecary – Easy Tinctures & Tonics – By Sharon Letts
- Kitchen Apothecary – Cannabis Infused Honey & Ganja Chai tea – By Sharon Letts