Terpenes Are The New Sativa & Indica

Posted by Jack O'Leary on

If you’ve ever visited a dispensary, odds are you know there is much more to a cannabis strain than just indica and sativa, but also terpenes. Terpenes are the pungent oils that give each strain of cannabis its scent and physiological effects. Terpenes serve as a blueprint for the way a strain will affect you. This might leave you asking – how important are terpenes and why should I care about them when choosing my strain?

Understanding the therapeutic properties of terpenes opens a new world of possibilities for symptom relief. If you find a strain that is highly effective for you, you can examine the terpene profile of that strain to gain insight to some of the potential Potentially isolating the specific terpene compound(s) that are effective in alleviating your symptoms, you can begin consuming that specific terpene via inhalation, skin permeation, or direct consumption and not have to consume cannabis every time you seek relief.  

Commonly, many people choose their strain based on THC and CBD levels, thinking a certain cannabinoids like CBD% and THC% will provide the exact desired effects their seeking. While these two traits are good characteristics to look at for the strength of the strain, they actually provide very little insight into the actual physiological effects of the specific strain. Terpenes are the future of true strain knowledge. Terpenes are the aromatic oils of the plant that give each strain its unique quality ranging from relaxing to stimulating, from calming to invigorating. Terpenes significantly influence the therapeutic properties of cannabis.

Sativa & Indica
Many people believe that sativa strains are commonly boosting and stimulating while indica strains leave you ‘in-da-couch.’ While this is commonly true for most strains, the plants are actually classified into these categories based on their species of the cannabis plant, which is determined solely off of the plant’s appearance. These terms are not reflective of the plant’s true therapeutic qualities, rather its is a forced and contrived dichotomy which poorly classifies the diverse spectrum of cannabis strains. It’s like walking into a library and all of the books are organized by fiction and non-fiction. While it’s true a book is either fiction or non-fiction, terpenes are the more precise sub-genres like suspense, fantasy, western, etc. Like a helpful librarian guiding you to the aisle of science fiction or even helping you locate a specific book like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, dispensary experts should be able to help you find precisely the desired experience of strain based on terpene profile. You want a sedating, anxiolytic strain? OG Kush. An uplifting and creative boost? Blue Dream. Terpenes allow you to enjoy the exact experience you wish to have with cannabis. Sativa & indica have served as a useful metric for cannabis users for many years, but the time has come for more in-depth analysis and knowledge of the hundreds of different cannabis strains.

So what is the truth about indicas, sativas, cannabinoids and terpenes? What is the knowledge behind how we feel when we smoke OG Kush, a famously sedating strain, versus how we feel when we Lemon Skunk, a commonly boosting, uplifting strain? The truth is that we are in our infancy of understanding the cannabis we ingest. This is merely the tip of the iceberg. With federal cannabis legalization closing in, this is not the end of the road, but rather only the beginning of a new one. A chapter where caryophyllene and terpinolene content are what looked for in uplifting strains rather than merely ‘sativa dominant hybrid.’

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