Ready to taste the terps?
January 8th is National Terpene Day, and we’re celebrating the compound that gives cannabis that pure fire flavor and oh-so lip-smacking smell.
Here’s to the aroma that makes our mouths water and taste buds tingle. The one that greets us before we even lay eyes on the green. That identifiable fragrance belonging to none other than dank, dope, and delightful cannabis thanks to those trusty terpenes.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes, commonly referred to as ‘terps’, are the aromatic compounds found in plants. Terpenes are responsible for the taste, smell, and pigment of the cannabis flower making up the plant’s unique taste and flavor profile.
The variety and composition of terpenes lend each plant its own unique taste and smell. For example, while the strain UK Cheese holds notes of sweet berries and funky cheese, Presidential Kush leans more towards pine and lemon. Moreover, even flower under the same strain can vary in taste and smell depending on its unique terpene makeup which can change subject to weather conditions, nutrients, lighting, and other growth variables.
Although no precise number is known, there are believed to be around 150 types of terpenes in a cannabis flower, making them an integral part of the plant.
In addition to their contribution to a cannabis plant's taste, smell, and coloring, terpenes, along with cannabinoids and a plethora of other compounds, have a hand in determining the plant's therapeutic and psychoactive effects - although the extend to which they do so is still somewhat unknown. While two strains may possess the same amounts of THC, they can have quite different effects on its consumer due in part to their unique terpene profiles.
Although heavily associated with the great ganja, terpenes are not exclusive to cannabis plants. “Terpenes are the largest and most diverse group of naturally occurring compounds.” They can be found in a variety of plants like thyme, lavender, and rosemary and play a major role in the potency and efficacy, and of course, smell, of essential oils. Much research is still being conducted on terpenes, especially in relation to the cannabis plant and its effects on consumption, but in the meantime, sit back, relax, and taste those terps!
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