What Are Terpenes and What Effects Do They Have?
Of the naturally occurring compounds in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are definitely the celebrities. But fewer people know about terpenes, which are found in plants, including the cannabis plant. The terpenes in cannabis are what gives strains their unique aromas, and terpenes play a big role in the therapeutic or medicinal effects experienced during a vaping session.
It's a good idea to get familiar with the various terpenes out there, and to start paying attention to the terpene content in your strains, and not just the cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This will help you find the ideal cannabis strains for various situations.
You may even want to change how you consume marijuana to help you better extract terpenes. A dry herb vaporizer that allows for precise temperature control and strain tracking, like the Furna, is essential to maximize your terpene draw and your enjoyment from cannabis.
Do Terpenes Have Medicinal Properties?
Terpenes (or terpenoids) are compounds produced by many plants, and above all they produce aromas, helping create plants’ unique scents. They also play a role in defending the plant from predators, and 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.
Exploring the world of terpenes can seem daunting because there’s so many of them. 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. If a strain has “lemon” in its name, it probably contains high amounts of the terpene limonene. Sometimes, the product info about a particular strain will include a list of terpenes.
Properties of terpenes found in cannabis
The effects of terpenes 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 the terpene profile of a strain matters more than whether it is indica or sativa - that's a misleading label.
Similar to cannabinoids, terpenes bind with a receptor 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 flavor), and 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. Check out our article about hitting dry herb vaporizers to learn more.
Dry Herb Vaporizers and Temperature Control
If you want to get the most cannabinoids and terpenes from your herb, vaporizing using a dry herb vape 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 vapor 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 burns some of the active ingredients before you manage to take them in, wasting bud. Vaporizers let you heat cannabis up to the point that the active ingredients will be released into vapor, without burning it.
Vaporizing is also better for lung health than smoking, and because it’s not scorching the cannabis, vaping allows the natural 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 for vaping to get the best effects.
How to vaporize terpenes from dry herb
When vaping, you’re also able to target just some of the compounds in cannabis. 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 already vaped bud (AVB or ABV), 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 exact 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).
Commonly found terpenes
Myrcene - 332ºF (167ºC)
- Myrcene is the most commonly occurring terpene in cannabis. Smells earthy, musky. Myrcene 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, caryophyllene has a peppery/spicy aroma. Caryophyllene is also known for stress relief effects.
Terpene effects to watch out for
Pinene - 311ºF (155ºC)
- Pine aroma. Increases alertness and memory retention. Pinene may potentially counter some THC effects.
Humulene - 222ºF (106ºC)
- Hoppy/wood aroma. May decrease appetite.
Less commonly occurring terpenes
Terpinolene - 366ºF (186ºC)
- Floral/pine aroma. Mood elevating and sedation effects.
Ocimene - 122ºF (50ºC)
- Sweet/herbal aroma. Mood elevating effects.
Linalool - 388ºF (198ºC)
- Floral/lavender aroma. Mood elevation, sedation.
Vaping Cannabis with a Dry Herb Vape
Hopefully this article has given you a good introduction to the world of terpenes. If you start paying attention to the terpene profile of your strains, you’ll find which terpene profiles work best for you.
A conduction dry herb vaporizer 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 also features a unique oven swapping technology, which makes it easy to always have the right strain (with the right terpenes) ready to go, so you never have to load your vape in an awkward or inconvenient place. There's even special ovens for cannabis concentrates that are just as easy to swap in. You can learn all about Furna here.