Terpenes and THC % – Understanding Full Spectrum Cannabis
Anyone who has ever shopped for cannabis knows that THC potency is an important attribute to examine. After all, THC is the most dominant cannabinoid in cannabis and is known for its desirable psychoactive effects. However, the THC percentage is just one part of a bigger picture—terpenes also deserve some consideration when choosing a strain to try. Below is a breakdown of terpenes vs THC, how they work, and why both are an integral part of the full cannabis experience.
Terpenes vs THC – A Closer Look
Terpenes and THC are both found in cannabis, and they both may have therapeutic properties. But this is where the similarities between the two cannabis-derived compounds end. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a cannabinoid and is primarily known for the intoxicating effects associated with cannabis. Terpenes are not cannabinoids. They are compounds in the cannabis plant that give it its flavor and aroma. For example, when you smoke something like Lemon Haze, you are experiencing the limonene terpene, which has citrus notes. Terpenes, however, may also offer their own effects.
Note: Terpenes are not specific to cannabis. They are found in thousands of plants including fruits & vegetables.
How THC Works
THC works by affecting cannabinoid receptors (found throughout our endocannabinoid system (ECS)) in the brain and body. When THC is processed by the endocannabinoid system, the molecules bind to cannabinoid receptors, which can disrupt certain impulses and produce well-known effects. THC is only one of the dozens of cannabinoids found in cannabis. A few others include CBD (cannabidiol) and CBN (cannabinol).
How Terpenes Work
Terpenes work in a collection of different ways, and not everyone has been extensively studied. Therefore, how terpenes yield effects is not always known. For example, caryophyllene actually interacts with the ECS to produce certain effects, but this is the only terpene known to affect the ECS. By contrast, linalool may enhance GABA expression in the brain. This is all to say – we don’t quite know the impact that terpenes have on our cannabis experience, but we do know there is an impact.
Top Cannabis-Derived Terpenes and Effects
Researchers have unveiled about 400 terpenes in cannabis, making this plant one of the most terpene-abundant you can find. A few of the most common terpenes in cannabis and their reported properties include:
- Linalool – Floral aromatics; good for sleep support and helps with stress
- Terpinolene – Woody/herbal aromatics; relaxing effects
- Myrcene – Earthy aromatics; sedative properties
- Caryophyllene – Peppery aromatics; uplifting properties
- Limonene – Citrus aromatics; mood-enhancing properties
- Bisabolol – Floral aromatics; analgesic properties
- Geraniol – Fruity/floral aromatics; uplifting and calming effects
Terpenes and THC – The Full-Spectrum Synergy
Even though THC and terpenes do have different makeups and methods of acting when introduced to the body, the two both need to be considered when it comes to effects.
Terpenes can bring their own effects to the cannabis experience, which means you can smoke the same THC potency in different strains and have a different experience with each new type of flower. This happens because THC and terpenes have a synergistic relationship. In other words, the two play off each other in terms of effects.
One good example of this action is the effects when THC and myrcene are combined. Myrcene is one of the most dominant cannabis terpenes and offers relaxing effects. However, it may also enhance the permeability of THC by affecting the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, if you have a strain that is both high in THC and high in myrcene, you may experience a deeper sense of relaxation and a more intense level of intoxication.
Terpenes vs THC – A Final Word from Neighborhood Provisions
Ready to explore cannabis strains based on more than just THC percentage? Take a look at the dispensary menu at Neighborhood Provisions. We pull together top strains, rich in terpenes, and with varying degrees of THC content to ensure our customers have access to a full spectrum of cannabis experiences.