The Cannabis Advantage

If you missed our Terpenes: 101 article, check it out first.

Terpenes, the mysterious chemical compounds that give everything a distinctive smell, also play an important role in how cannabis products affect your body and mind. There are more than 100 terpenes present in different amounts in different cannabis strains. And your nose knows which terpenes are dominant in each strain by detecting its overall sweet, spicy, sour or bitter aroma. But that’s the easy part. The rest is a bit more complicated.

Once you inhale or ingest cannabis, its terpenes enter your bloodstream and begin to affect your body in strange and wonderful ways. That’s because terpenes send messages to various “receptors” and “transmitters” throughout your body, especially in the immune system and the brain. And these messages trigger various physical and neurological responses.

For example, the terpene, myrcene (a musky, earthy scent), tells the body, “Let’s just chill out, relax those muscles and get some sleep.” While alpha- and beta-pinene (a pine scent) shout, “Rise and shine, and let’s get with the program!” Limonene (citrus) and linalool (lavender) tell your mind, “Don’t worry. Be happy!” Or caryophyllene (spicy/woody), says, “Let me help you reduce that pain and swelling.” And most of the time your body answers, “Yeah, let’s do it!”

But that’s only the tip of the terpene iceberg. They also interact with various cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, to “fine-tune” their effects. Some terpenes increase or reduce the effect of THC in the brain. Others amplify the power of CBD to treat certain medical conditions. And this synergistic interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids, known as the Entourage Effect, offers incredible potential for healing and wellness that Medicine and Science are only beginning to explore and understand.

Just knowing which terpenes are present in a particular flower strain or extract enables you to choose the product that best meets your medical or recreational needs. In our next issue, we’ll share the “terpene profiles” for several Shango strains. These can help you find the right Shango product to enhance every moment, every treatment and every mood!