If you haven’t heard of terpenes at this point in 2018 then you clearly have not been paying close enough attention to the cannabis industry. Most of you have heard of terpenes–limonene and linalool and mycrene and many, many more–things you really want to have in your cannabis because they enhance the effects. And if you don’t have them, you better add them in. Terpenes are definitely for the people in the know. However most people know nothing about terpenes other than that they make your weed better and are therefore needed. But what are terpenes, and where do we find them? Get ready for a bit of chemistry.
Terpenes are simply aromatic hydrocarbon compounds made up of linked isoprene units. Isoprene is nothing more than a naturally occurring molecule with the chemical structure of C5H8, and when two or more of these isoprene units link together a terpene is formed. So, a monoterpene (single terpene, formed by just two isoprene units, such as camphene) has a structure of C10H16, a diterpene (C20H32) is made up of four isoprene units, and so on and so fourth. They’re found in pretty much every flowering plant on the planet, from oranges to lilacs and roses, including cannabis. Just depending on the plant, or strain of cannabis, determines what kinds of terpenes will be found with in, and in what quantities.
If of course chemistry is not your forte and that didn’t make a whole lot of sense to you, all you really need to know is that terpenes are responsible for your favorite cannabis smells and flavors. They’re responsible for the gassy smell of diesel, or the skunky smell of, well, skunk. They also help regulate the effects of THC, and work in harmony to with the other cannabinoids (like CBD) to enhance and make them more beneficial.