What is the difference between cannabinoids and terpenes?

"I hear people talk about cannabinoids and I know a little bit about CBD and THC, mainly the difference between them. But what is the difference between terpenes and cannabinoids and why should I care? My bud tender has never mentioned terpenes to me when I buy flower from him."

Cannabinoids and terpenes are found in every strain of marijuana and it’s these synergistic elements that create the ‘entourage effect’. This means we know that when cannabinoids work in conjunction with terpenes that the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts. Some argue that when you divorce one element from the rest, that the medicine becomes less effective. No doubt, cannabinoids seem to have a much higher profile in the dialogue surrounding cannabis. This is due to the fact that cannabinoids are more known to create a certain effect such as CBD is a known anti inflammatory or THC can often treat insomnia by helping you sleep.

Terpenes however are connected to the overall aroma and the individual flavors you may taste when you smoke. It is due to this that terpenes are more often discussed when we are talking about flower, rather than say a sub lingual spray. Terpenes come from the oils on the cannabis plant and each one yields a different flavor which is why some my be minty and yet others taste like citrus. The synergy that happens between cannabinoids and terpenes relate back to the endocannabinoid system in our body. This is the system that is literally built to receive cannabinoids. So for instance when you inhale THC this binds to unique receptors in your brain stimulating a certain effect. Likewise, terpenes have their own effect. A well known terpene limonene is known to create a happier mood and decrease a feeling of depression (for some).

The bottom line is that both are important even though terpenes may be lesser known and not talked about as much. Cannabinoids and terpenes work hand in hand it seems. If you are really interested in knowing what terpenes are in your flower most lab test will reveal this.


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