Welcome back young grasshopper: we applaud you for your continued tutelage as we teach you the ancient and mystic ways of the terps.
As you might recall, in our last blog we talked about terpenes (the aromatic phytochemicals which determine the smell, effect, and flavor of cannabis strains) and we went over 5 of the most common terpenes found in marijuana: myrcene, pinene, caryophyllene, limonene, and linalool. Continuing our terpene education series, let’s briefly go over some of the less-common terpenes you may encounter on cannabis packaging.
Humulene got its name because it’s a predominant terpene in humulus lupus (better known as “hops” among beer aficionados). Aside from lending beer its “hoppy” aroma, humulene expresses an appetite-suppressant quality, making it an ideal terpene for our customers who don’t like getting the munchies.
The aroma of humulene is woody, earthy, and herbal; in addition to appetite suppression, humulene is known to provide relief from tension. Other plants containing humulene include hops (of course), sage, ginger, and ginseng. Some strains which historically test high in humulene are White Widow, Cookies (GSC), and Tangerine Dream.
Aside from being a natural mosquito repellent, the main benefit of terpinolene is its sedative quality that helps our customers fall asleep. Similar to patchouli, terpinolene has also been used as a preservative for the long-term storage of natural fabrics.
Terpinolene carries a smoky, woody, lightly herbal aroma. Other plants containing terpinolene include apples, tea tree, cumin, and lilac. Some strains which historically test high in terpinolene are Super Lemon Haze, Trainwreck, and Tesla Tower.
A sequiterpene (meaning it has a more stable chemical structure than other terpenes), nerolidol is used as a food flavoring agent as well as a catalyst for enhancing skin penetration in transdermal drugs. Similar to terpinolene, nerolidol has a sedative effect.
Nerolidiol carries a leafy, herbal sort of aroma. Other plants containing nerolidiol include ginger, jasmine, lavender, and tea tree. Though it’s not found in cannabis as frequently as other terpenes, some strains which historically test high in nerolidiol are GG4 (also known as “Original Glue,” formerly known as "Gorilla Glue #4") and Hindu Kush.
Used in fragrances for its pleasant scent, ocimene is actually a pheromone involved in the social regulation of honey bee colonies (though we humans benefit from its decongestant properties).
Ocimene has a tropical, somewhat citrusy aroma with some woody notes. Other plants containing this terpene include mint, kumquat, parsley, and alfalfa. Some strains which historically test high for ocimene are Strawberry Cough, Jack of Spades, and Space Queen.
Stay sharp, young grasshopper; experiment with products that list terpene concentrations, evaluate how the different scents and flavors make you feel, and start committing your favorite terpenes to memory. We’ll be back soon with another blog about terpenes, but until then, feel free to stop by the shop and chat about terps with any of our budtenders!
Article by Ramsey Doudar; an in-house marketing and social media strategist at Herbn Elements. Ramsey's perspective is influenced by 1.5 years of budtending, 5 years as a cannabis industry marketing professional, and 10+ years of being a super picky medical patient.