Jun 21, 2024

Terpenes 101: Everything You Need to Know

When you initially start getting familiar with cannabis beyond the ever-important cannabinoids it holds, terpenes are the first thing to catch most people’s attention. What are terpenes in weed? More importantly, what do terpenes do? Are terpenes related to TAC? Get all the answers below.

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What are terpenes?

The formal terpenes definition is: “Any of numerous hydrocarbons (C5H8)n found especially in essential oils, resins, and balsams,” according to Merriam-Webster. However, in simpler terms, terpenes are abundant aromatic compounds found in cannabis and many other plants in the natural world. 

Basically, any plant with a noteworthy smell contains terpenes. However, weed is one of the most fragrant aromatic plants on the planet; therefore, it is also one of the most terpene-abundant plants.

Terpenes are responsible for giving your favorite strains like Apples & Bananas and Blueberry Kush their telltale aromatics and flavor notes. However, in nature, terpenes serve a number of important roles, right down to deterring predators and attracting pollinators. Therefore, you experience terpenes when sniffing a cluster of wildflowers, cutting open a lemon, or when pulling the quintessential pine tree into the house in December.

Most Common Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effects

Cannabis contains dozens of unique terpenes, and every strain can offer its own collection to explore. Therefore, there is no way we can cover every terpene. Take a look at some of the most common cannabis terpenes below.

1. Linalool

  • Also found in: Lavender, basil, and cinnamon
  • Top fragrance/aroma: Floral with hints of spice
  • Cannabis strains to try: Amnesia Haze from Good Chemistry Nurseries

Linalool is known for its calming and sedative effects, often associated with relaxation and stress relief. It may also have mood-supporting properties, making it a popular choice for promoting a sense of tranquility and mental well-being.

2. Myrcene

  • Also found in: Mango, hops, and lemongrass
  • Top fragrance/aroma: Earthy with hints of citrus
  • Cannabis strains to try: Grandaddy Pluto from Cookies

Myrcene is recognized for its potential analgesic and muscle-relaxant properties. These telltale actions contribute to the “couch-lock” sensation often associated with Indica strains. It may also enhance the effects of THC for people who are looking for a more sedating experience.

3. Limonene

  • Also found in: Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit
  • Top fragrance/aroma: Citrusy and refreshing
  • Cannabis strains to try: Super Lemon Haze from Happy Valley

Limonene is celebrated for its mood-enhancing and anti-stress effects, and is even believed to elevate your mood and promote a sense of well-being. Additionally, it may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties beyond psychological benefits associated with its aromatic profile.

4. Beta-Caryophyllene

  • Also found in: Black pepper, cloves, and rosemary
  • Top fragrance/aroma: Spicy and peppery
  • Cannabis strains to try: Triangle Kush 43 from Four20

Beta-caryophyllene is unique among terpenes as it interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, specifically targeting CB2 receptors. This interaction may result in anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. Therefore, beta-caryophyllne is often thought of as a valuable terpene for addressing conditions such as inflammation and chronic pain.

5. Pinene

  • Also found in: Pine needles and basil
  • Top fragrance/aroma: Fresh and pine-like
  • Cannabis strains to try: Blue Dream from Lazy River Products

Pinene is associated with increased mental clarity and alertness. It may also possess anti-inflammatory properties and aid in respiratory function. Therefore, pinene is a versatile terpene with substantial potential therapeutic benefits.

TAC and Terpenes – What’s the Difference?

When you pick up a package of cannabis flower, you’ll see two primary numbers listed: TAC content and THC content. Some wrongly assume that TAC must indicate how many terpenes are in the strain, but that’s not actually the case.

What is TAC in weed? Does this have anything to do with terpenes?

What does TAC do in weed? The TAC weed definition is Total Active Cannabinoids. In other words, TAC is the total amount of active cannabinoids found in a strain, including THC, CBD, CBN, and others. THC percentage tells you how much THC alone; TAC is a measure of all of them, and it has nothing to do with terpenes.

Explore Terpene-Rich Cannabis at Green Choice

When you’re looking for the freshest, most terpene-rich cannabis in the state, the Green Choice Dispensary in Blackstone, MA is the place to visit. Our menu is filled with the finest flower in the state, and we’re always here to help you understand more about the strains that pique your interest. Be sure to check out our collection or stop in for an in-person exploration of our selection.

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