What Are Terpenes and What Effects Do They Have?
When it comes to the active compounds in cannabis, THC and CBD are without a doubt the celebrities. But fewer people know about terpenes, which exist in varying amounts in each strain of cannabis, and can have a big impact in terms of the effect experienced. Terpenes are also what gives strains their unique aromas.
It can be good to get familiar with the various terpenes out there, and to start paying attention to which terpenes are in the strains you use. You might learn more about your preferences, which can help you find the ideal strains for various situations. You may even want to change your consumption methods to help you better extract terpenes. A dry herb vaporizer that allows for precise temperature control and strain tracking, like the Furna, is a surefire method to maximize your terpene draw and your enjoyment from cannabis.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are compounds produced by many plants, and above all they produce aromas, helping create plants’ unique scents. They can also play a role in defending the plant from predators, or helping it heal from injuries. There are tens of thousands of different terpenes out there in the world - and the cannabis plant alone has over 100 of them.
Dipping your toes into the world of terpenes can seem daunting because there’s so many. But some terpenes are more common than others, and a strain’s name can sometimes be a clue as to what terpenes might be inside. For example, if a strain has “lemon” in its name, it probably contains high amounts of the terpene lemonene. Sometimes, the product info about a particular strain will include a list of terpenes, or at least its most dominant terpene.
The effects of terpene vary greatly: some help with relaxation, others improve mood, some can produce drowsiness, others are said to help with anxiety. Only a few terpenes have been intensively studied by researchers, so there is still a lot to discover about these compounds. But it’s thought by some experts that the terpene profile of a strain might matter more than whether it is an indica, sativa, or hybrid strain.
Similar to THC and CBD, terpenes bind with receptors in your brain to produce their effects. So when you vaporize or smoke cannabis, you will experience the effects of both cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are sometimes not included in edible products (they affect the flavour), and seem to have less of an effect when ingested. Smoking is also not an ideal method for enjoying terpenes; different terpenes are released at different temperatures, and if you heat them too much, some will be destroyed or wasted.
Vaporizers and Temperature Control
If you want to get the biggest possible effect from the cannabinoids and terpenes in your herb, vaporizing using a dry herb vaporizer is your best bet. The main reason is temperature control. When you smoke, the temperature of the cannabis hits at least 600° F, and can go as high as 4000° F (2200° C)! This is overkill, because THC is released as vapour starting at around 315° F (157° C). Some terpenes are even more delicate, becoming released at temperatures as low as 212° F (100° C).
Smoking ends up burning some of the active ingredients before you manage to take them in, and then you don’t get as much mileage out of your bud. Vaporizers let you heat cannabis up to the point that the active ingredients will be released into vapor, without making it so hot that it burns. Vaporizing is also healthier than smoking, and because it’s not scorching the cannabis, vaping allows the taste and aroma to come through much more clearly. It’s also more discreet and doesn’t create as much smell. Just make sure you're grinding your herb correctly to get the best effects.
When vaping, you’re also able to target just some of the compounds in cannabis, if you want. Vaporizing at a lower temperature will release some terpenes but not others, and as you increase the temperature, you’ll start to get THC as well as additional terpenes. CBD has a boiling point of 356°F / 180°C.
As a general rule, vaping at lower temperatures will produce lighter effects which may be more conducive to some activities. All vaporized cannabis can still be reused as ABV (“already been vaped”) herb, and the lower the temperature it was vaporized at, the more active ingredients will remain when you decide to reuse it.
When buying a dry herb vaporizer, make sure it has precise temperature control, or you won’t be able to experience the full benefits of vaporizing. The Furna vaporizer gives you precise control over the temperature, letting you set the temperature between 320°F and 420°F, in 5° increments, letting you achieve the experience you’re looking for in any given session.
Different Terpenes and their Effects
Here’s a list of some of the most commonly-found terpenes out there, along with their most frequently reported effects and ideal vaping temperature. It can be a good idea to take a “low and slow” approach when trying out different terpene profiles, to understand how they impact your experience.
Also, terpenes can work differently when combined with each other, as well as with THC and CBD, in a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect”, so that’s also worth keeping in mind. But this reference guide can be helpful in terms of giving you an idea of what you’re likely to experience with each terpene. This information was gathered from Leafly and the National Library of Medicine (1, 2).
Myrcene - 332ºF (167ºC)
- The most commonly occurring terpene in cannabis. Smells earthy, musky. Has relaxing/sedating effects
Limonene - 348ºF (176ºC)
- Often found in strains with “lemon” in their name. Citrus aroma. Elevates mood, stress relief.
Caryophyllene - 266ºF (130ºC)
- The second most commonly occurring terpene in cannabis. Peppery/spicy aroma. Stress relief effects.
Terpinolene - 366ºF (186ºC)
- Floral/pine aroma. Mood elevating and sedation effects.
Pinene - 311ºF (155ºC)
- Pine aroma. Increases alertness and memory retention. May potentially counter some THC effects.
Humulene - 222ºF (106ºC)
- Hoppy/wood aroma. May decrease appetite.
Ocimene - 122ºF (50ºC)
- Sweet/herbal aroma. Mood elevating effects.
Linalool - 388ºF (198ºC)
- Floral/lavender aroma. Mood elevation, sedation.
Hopefully this article has given you a good starting point for understanding terpenes and their various effects. If you start paying attention to the terpene profile of your strains you use, you will probably discover which terpene profiles work best for you in various situations. And a dry herb vaporizer is recommended to most precisely and effectively release the terpenes from your cannabis, and to make sure nothing is wasted. Just be sure to maintain your vape correctly to keep it running smoothly and efficiently.
A conduction dry herb vape like the Furna is the best option to let you precisely control the temperature in the oven, so that you can unlock all the terpenes. The Furna is simple to load and use, has lightning-fast heating times, and amazing battery life. It’s also very easy to clean. Furna features a unique oven swapping technology, which makes it easy to always have the right strain (with the right terpenes) ready to go, and each oven can be given a memorable label which will show up in the vaporizer’s display. You can learn all about it here.