The Sniff Test

Some canna connoisseurs would say that terpenes and flavonoids are the most important factor in how each specific strain will affect you. When you perform “The Sniff Test” on your buds, what you’re really smelling is the terpenes & flavonoids These are naturally occurring chemical compounds that are not limited to cannabis! They’re found in abundance in all flowers, trees, herbs, fruits, vegetables, and microbes. Being that cannabis is still federally illegal, there is a lot of research that has yet to be done in the terpene and flavonoid department. But our research shows there are seven major terpenes in cannabis. They are myrcene, limonene, pinene, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, ocimene, and terpinolene.

The Entourage Effect

Different terpenes have different effects on your endocannabinoid system causing you to feel differently. For example, a strain high in myrcene is likely to make you feel overly relaxed or “sleepy,” whereas a strain high in limonene might make you feel “bright” or “uppity.” Similar to terpenes, flavonoids share a role in how we perceive cannabis through our senses. But there is more to flavonoids than what meets our noses and taste buds! Flavonoids give cannabis character! Beyond attributing flavors and aromas to the buds, they also affect the pigmentation of cannabis, just as they do with other flowers. Flavonoids may be synergistic in cannabis. “The Entourage Effect” is a widely used term that describes the synergistic nature of the many pharmacologically active compounds in cannabis.

Terpene 101

How are Terpenes Classified?

Terpenes may be classified by the number of isoprene units in the molecule; a prefix in the name indicates the number of isoprene pairs needed to assemble the molecule. Commonly, terpenes contain 2, 3, 4 or 6 isoprene units; the tetraterpenes (8 isoprene units) form a separate class of compounds called carotenoids; the others are rare.

The basic unit isoprene itself is not considered to be a terpene but it may form oxygen-containing derivatives such as prenol and isovaleric acid analogous to terpenoids.

What are Monoterpenes?

Monoterpenes consist of two isoprene units and have the molecular formula C10H16. Examples of monoterpenes and monoterpenoids include geraniol, terpineol (present in lilacs), limonene (present in citrus fruits), myrcene (present in hops), linalool (present in lavender), hinokitiol (present in cypress trees) or pinene (present in pine trees). Iridoids derive from monoterpenes. Examples of iridoids include aucubin and catalpol.

What are Sesquiterpenes?

Sesquiterpenes consist of three isoprene units and have the molecular formula C15H24. Examples of sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenoids include humulene, farnesenes, farnesol, geosmin. (The sesqui- prefix means one and a half.)

What are Diterpenes?

Diterpenes are composed of four isoprene units and have the molecular formula C20H32. They derive from geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate. Examples of diterpenes and diterpenoids are cafestol, kahweol, cembrene and taxadiene (precursor of taxol). Diterpenes also form the basis for biologically important compounds such as retinol, retinal, and phytol.

Your Color Terpene Guide

In partnership between Bern Legacy Cannabis and Magic Mann Cannabis.


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