In-terp-reting Your High
By: Kris Knox
Cannabis has a mysterious aspect that is just starting to be understood: what drives your high. In recent years, it has become clear that the cannabinoids aren’t the sole factor in the direction the high takes. Recent research is showing that terpenes may be more responsible for our high that we think. Terpenes are volatile, meaning they evaporate easily at room temperature. Linalool is the primary terpene in lavender, responsible not only for its characteristic smell, but also the calming effect the herb exhibits. Over 22,000 different terpenes have been recorded in nature, and cannabis holds roughly 200 terpenes. If you have ever dabbled with essential oils than you’re already working with terpenes!
As far as we know, the high from cannabis utilizes a combination of cannabinoids and terpenes to create what is known as the “entourage effect.” Named for obvious reasons, the entourage effect simply means that when multiple cannabinoids are working together, they will work better and exhibit synergy. Using multiple cannabinoids at once allows your body to maximize receptor capacities, leading to an increase in psychoactive effect.
Since cannabis has such a large number of terpenes, it would be overwhelming to go through each one. Here are five of the more common terpenes that you are more than likely to interact with the next time you use cannabis:
Scent profile: Citrus
Benefits: --Anti-Carcinogenic --Anti-Fungal --Anti-Bacterial --Low Toxicity
--Immunostimulant --Anti-Proliferative --Anti Gastro distressor
Boiling Point: 349℉
Effects: Mood Improvement/Euphoria, Anti-anxiety, Anti-Depressant
Also found in: Lemon, Orange (Citrus)
Strains with Limonene: Super Lemon Haze, Durban Poison, SFV OG
Additional info: Anticarcinogenic: Efficiently passes through the blood-brain barrier to prevent deterioration of the RAS gene, a contributing factor to tumor growth.
Scent profile: Clove, Musk
Benefits: --Antioxidant, --Anti-carcinogenic; --Good for muscle tension, --Sleeplessness, --Pain Reduction, Anti-inflammatory, --Anti-Depressant
Boiling Point: 334℉
Effects: Sedating “couchlock”, Relaxation
Also Found in: Mangos, Hops, Thyme, Lemongrass, Basil
Strains with Myrcene: Pure Kush, Blue Dream, White Widow, Skunk #1
Additional info: Decides The Sativa/Indica High (>0.5%=Heavy High, <0.5% = Energetic High)
Scent profile: Peppery, Woody, Clove
Benefits: --Anti-septic,--Anti-bacterial --Antifungal --Anti-tumor and --Anti-inflammatory.
Boiling Point: 320℉
Effects: Unknown (No Detected Psychoactive Effects)
Also Found In: Black Pepper, Clove, Oregano, Basil, Hops
Strains with Beta-Caryophyllene: Chemdawg, Bubba Kush, Girl Scout Cookies
Additional info: Binds selectively to CB2 receptors, therefore increasing the medical benefits of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Scent profile: Pine Trees/Dill
A-Pinene: Pine Needles, Rosemary
B-Pinene: Dill, Parsley, Basil
Benefits: --Anti-Bacterial, --Anti-Inflammatory, --Bronchodilator, --Anti-Tumor
Boiling Point: 311℉
Effects: Mental Alertness, Mood Improvement, Reduces Memory Loss
Also Found In: Conifer Trees, Pine Trees, Orange Peel, Sage
Strains with Alpha/Beta-Pinene: Durban Poison, Super Silver Haze, Jack Herer
Additional info: Has increased ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, allowing neurotransmitters to amplify memory retention
Scent profile: Lavender
Benefits: --Analgesic, --Anti-Depressant, --Anti-Convulsant, --Anti-Inflammatory
Boiling Point: 388℉
Effect: Relaxing, Sedating
Also Found In: Lavender, Coriander, Rosewood
Strains with Linalool: Grand Daddy Purps
Additional info: One study by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Calabria, Italy found that linalool’s anti-cancer activity was comparable to the commercial anti-cancer drug Vinblastine.
With the knowledge of terpenes and their properties you can begin to notice the common trends in your high. The sharp tinge of orange in that joint of Agent Orange is the limonene bursting out to expand the energy and euphoria, whilst that heavy musk of the myrcene in Afghani gives the pain relief and sedation. Now you know why your first instinct with cannabis is to smell and gain a sneak peak of each strain with a simple whiff. Never forget: Your nose knows!
Want to learn more? Here is a list of a few more popular terpenes if you’d like to expand:
Delta 3 Carene