A Journal of Cannabis and Culture

What are Terpenes?

What are Terpenes?

If there’s anyone who understands the fun that comes from browsing, buying, and enjoying cannabis, it’s us at MedMen. From the moment you walk into any of our stores, you’ve got aisle upon aisle of thrilling marijuana products. Need to take something to sleep? Or perhaps a product to pump up the energy? How about looking for a way to manage pain or stress? Yes, we’ve got it all. But part of what makes the world of weed so fun isn’t just the types of strains or ways to consume it: it’s the flavors.

Berry, Lemon, Banana, Cypress, Lavender, Citrus—sometimes walking into a MedMen marijuana shop can feel like a candy store. Everyone’s got their preference of flavor, and that's what is so fun about it all. But while choosing said flavor may be simple for some, the complex flavors and aromas that define your strain of choice is actually due to chemical components in the flower that are not as simple as choosing a bud.

Thanks to all the greatness of science, researchers have identified the specific genes that actually give marijuana the differing tastes, smells, and flavor profiles that you have come to know and love. That’s not to say that genes lead to that hyper-focused cookie-flavored strain, but there are some interesting interactions going on.

So, what’s going on when you inhale a lemony flavor after a puff and a pass? What you’re smelling are terpenes, which are aromatic oils that give cannabis its distinct smell and flavor. These oils are secreted in the flower’s resin glands, which is also the spot that produces THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids.

Any wine fans out there? Well, the terpene genes that are found in cannabis are actually very similar to the molecules at work in grapes that give wine its flavor. And similar to wine (as well as many other plants, food, and so much more) terpenes actually developed due to an adaptive need to repel predators and try to attract pollinators. Climate, weather, age, fertilizers, soil type, and even the time of day influence and impact the specific terpenes that develop in different cannabis strains.

Coming from this adaptive necessity, there are different types of genes that produce terpenes. Beta-caryophyllene, which is the gene that produces the main terpene found in cannabis, as well as limonene, myrcene, and pinene. These different genes lead to the plethora of aromas and flavors that come to life across the strains and other products that grace our store. Pine, citrus, spicy, woody, earthy, herbal—that list can go on and on. It’s a wonder of flavors and aromas at work due to the one and only mother nature. After all, cannabis is a flower!

There are over 100 different terpenes that have been found in the cannabis plant, which means the flavor varieties are seemingly endless. Each and every strain has its own special terpene type and composition, and while those differences can be gigantic or super subtle, terpenes work across the board to cultivate depth and produce particular uses depending on a person’s leaning.

So, what are you waiting for? Go get your flavor fun on at any of our MedMen locations.

A Journal of Cannabis and Culture
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