Time and time again we see cannabis consumers reaching for the highest THC on the shelf. Yes …THC is the most well-known cannabinoid, and YES…it is directly associated with the pleasurable effects of a cannabis high. BUT it’s not that simple. A true, informed high never is. There are two primary components in addition to THC that have a huge effect on your high – cannabinoids and terpenes.
What’s a cannabinoid?
THC has a lot of badass siblings – we’re talking CBD, CBN, CBV and 100s more. The entire cannabinoid family provides different effects separately, but together they can provide new, beneficial effects that contribute to the potency of your high. You may be familiar with some of the other popular cannabinoids like CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid with multiple therapeutic effects like antiseizure properties, anti-inflammatory properties or CBG, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that may help with pain management. Just now consumers are starting to learn about the other cannabinoids out there and their potential benefits. It’s not all reliant on THC anymore especially for those who want to find relief from pain or anxiety without the intoxicating effects. Here are just a few more cannabinoids that you may have heard of before and their benefits:
- CBN (Cannabinol): Observed to show greater sedation when combined with Delta 9 THC. May have anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties.
- CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid): A minor cannabinoid that is the chemical precursor of THCA, CBDA, and CBCA. It can actually be decarboxylated by light or energy to create THC or CBD. There is minimal research on this strain but the research performed has shown potential to help those with colon cancer, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular disease.
- CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid): This cannabinoid converts to become CBD over time and when exposed to heat. Studies focused on CBDA have found that it may provide anti-inflammatory and anti-convulsive properties as well as combat depression.
- CBCA (Cannabichromenenic acid): Decarboxylation converts CBCA into CBC. Since there are minimal studies on CBCA we can look at the possible effects of CBC. CBC has the very strong potential to provide therapeutic benefits on inflammation, cell function, and mood.
- CBGVA (Cannabigerovarinic acid): This cannabinoid is the carboxylic acid precursor of cannabigerovarin (CBGV). The primary current use is most likely research into the synthesization of THCV and other varin cannabinoids.
- THCVA (Tetrahydrocanabivarinic acid): The carboxylic acid precursor to THCV, this substance remains a critical component of the majority of THCV research. Currently, the uses of THCVA remain relatively limited, however, it has become more common to include when studying the overall effects of Cannabis sativa flower or cannabis extracts.
- CBDVA (Cannabidivarinic acid): A non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in Cannabis, this substance reportedly has anti-inflammatory properties. Cannabis scientists have also conducted a series of studies that shows the substance having various beneficial effects for digestive inflammation, brain atrophy, and other conditions.
- CBCVA (Cannabichromevarinic acid): Being one of the major components in cannabinoid, this substance targets receptors in our bodies to help with various daily functions, including appetite, sleep patterns, mood, and movement.
Let’s talk about terpene profiles in cannabis
Now that we’ve given some background on other cannabinoids, we can’t leave out our favorite cannabis high contributor – terpenes! Terpenes are the organic compounds responsible for creating the unique aroma of each individual cannabis plant. Terpenes contribute much more to the bud than the smell, although they are the reason you associate different smells to different strains.
- Limonene: An aromatic cannabis terpene that’s associated with a citrus aroma. It is originally found in the rind of citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and limes. The substance is shown to help with anxiety and stress.
- Linalool: Typically characterized by a lavender scent, this substance is commonly found in over 200 different types of plants, including jasmine, lavender, rosewood, basil, or thyme. Linalool’s potential benefits include reduced levels of anxiety and depression-like symptoms.
- Caryophyllene: This terpene tends to have a variety of aromas, including, floral, earthy, musky, and citrusy notes. One can find this substance in many herbs and spices such as black pepper, basil, and oregano. It is shown to activate your endocannabinoid system and provide it with anti-inflammatory effects.
- Myrcene: This common terpene is typically found in hops, thyme, and mango and is shown to have a peppery and spicy fragrance. Is it believed that this substance promotes calming effects to those that utilize it.
- Alpha-pinene: As the name suggests, this compound has the scent of a forest of pine trees. This terpene can be used to treat pain, inflammation, or anxiety, and is typically found in pine needles, rosemary, and basil. The main difference between this terpene and its Beta counterpart is that Alpha-pinene is slightly water-soluble.
- Beta-pinene: As the name suggests, this compound has the scent of a forest of pine trees. This terpene can be used to treat pain, inflammation, or anxiety, and is typically found in pine needles, rosemary, and basil. The main difference between this terpene and its Alpha counterpart is that Beta-pinene is not water-soluble.
- Terpinolene: Generally known as the least-common common terpene, this tends to have aromas of pine, flowers, and citrus. Found in lilacs, nutmeg, cumin, and apples, this Terpene is shown to have uplifting effects to those who use it.
- Eucalyptol: Found in eucalyptus trees, bay leaves, tea tree, and sage, its aroma is described as being minty and cooling. Its potential benefits include helping with sinus infections and pain, and may decrease blood pressure and improve cognitive function for those who use it.
- Bisabolol: Typically shown to produce a sweet, floral aroma, this terpene is often found in chamomile and herbal teas. This substance is said to have anti-inflammatory and relaxing effects on one’s skin, and is typically used in skin care products.
- Humulene: A terpene that has earthy, woody, and spices aromes, this is typically found in a variety of plants including black pepper, hops, and ginseng. It also may provide benefits by acting as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and appetite suppressant.
Terpenes provide therapeutic benefits to your high, and when alongside a rich cannabinoid profile, they can form a sinergy that creates stronger and better effects than they would on their own. This is called the Entourage Effect.
The Elusive Entourage Effect
The Entourage Effect is a result of the growing knowledge and research around cannabis and its effects. The theory is described in a review called “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects,” authored by Dr. Ethan Russo—a neurologist and pharmacologist who has long studied cannabis compounds and how they affect the body.
Weedmaps defined the Entourage Effect as “the combined effect of different compounds found in cannabis that work together as a whole to produce a greater effect than if working separately to produce separate effects.” A good example of this effect is how THC and CBD work together. THC is the psychoactive component of the plant that provides the high most smokers know and love. THC is also responsible for some of the negative side effects that smokers are familiar with, like paranoia and increased anxiety. When CBD is introduced in the mix, the CBD balances the negative effects from the THC and rates a more therapeutic high.
We hope the next time you head to the dispensary that you stop and ask questions about terpenes and cannabinoids before you purchase based solely on THC percentage. Our cultivation process is designed to elevate the natural components of the strain to produce a pleasurable entourage effect. Although our THC percentages on average range between 21%-31% each harvest, we prioritize the development of other amazing benefits the plant produces to stand out from other competitors with similar strains.