Cannabis 101: Pinene, The Earth’s Most Abundant Terpene

pinene

You probably know by now that we’re big on terpenes. And we’re not alone: Increasingly, savvy cannabis consumers are focusing on these fragrant hydrocarbons—that’s another way of saying “essential oils”—as a way to characterize different strains of cannabis.

Of course, terpenes aren’t the only way to talk about cannabis. We’re not saying you should forget what you’ve learned about cannabinoids. They’re still an extremely useful way to interpret cannabis strains and predict their effects.

But in addition to imparting their own subtle but powerful characteristics, terpenes do a great deal for our bodies and our minds. Today we’re going to focus on pinene, one of the ten most important of the terpenes in cannabis and, beyond that, the most abundant terpene in the natural world.

What Does Pinene Smell and Taste Like?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, pinene has a distinctively piney and resinous aroma. It’s a hint to other natural sources of pinene: Pine trees, rosemary, orange peels, basil, and parsley, among others. Chemically speaking, there are actually two variants of the terpene: alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, but the alpha type—commonly shortened to “a-pinene” is more abundant in cannabis. 

pinene pine tree

If you’ve ever tasted a delicious, slightly bracing and resinous hit of fresh-cut conifer tree in cannabis, it’s a fair guess it’s coming from this little powerhouse of a molecule.

What Does Pinene Do For Us?

Pinene has an anti-inflammatory effect on us, especially when it comes to respiratory function. It may sound counterintuitive, but inhaling pinene-rich cannabis—particularly using a vape pen or vaporizer, which doesn’t actually burn any plant matter—may help reduce inflammation in the lungs and airways, such as asthma. A rodent-based study published in 2015 showed that e-pinene exhibited anti-inflammatory effects.

pinene lungs

Many users report that cannabis strains high in pinene heighten focus and alertness. This is borne out to some degree by a study demonstrating that certain terpenes help combat the short-term memory impairment associated with THC. 

How to Get Pinene from Cannabis

A-pinene is often abundant in cannabis. Again, following your nose may be a good way to sense the presence of this powerful terpene, but for more authoritative data, always buy properly handled, lab-tested cannabis (the only kind we sell!). To help guide you, here are a few popular strains that typically contain healthy levels of a-pinene. 

pinene from cannabis

Jack Herer is a legendary strain among medical cannabis users, this strain—named for the legendary cannabis activist and author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes—lends a blissful, clear-headed, and inspiring. Again, these qualities are all in accord with a-pinene’s noted focus-enhancing gifts.

Blue Dream is a popular hybrid associated with a gentle euphoria and creative inspiration. If its resinous aromas are often obscured by its strong blueberry nose, this strain typically delivers a potent hit of a-pinene.

One way to tell whether a strain has pinene is to give it a whiff. If it smells like pine trees, you’re in luck!

Ready to try some different strains? Stop by or check out our online menu to see what we have in stock!

Terpene Profiles: Myrcene, An All-Natural Powerhouse from Cannabis

Myrcene

As our understanding of the cannabis plant grows, researchers are working hard to deepen and expand their understanding of this incredibly rich and diverse plant-based medicine. As we’ve shared previously, one of the most exciting areas of discovery is into the world of terpenes, or aromatic oils which give different strains of cannabis their distinctive flavors and aromas.

Terpenes are found everywhere in the natural world: In plants, trees, foods and elsewhere. many of their medicinal properties have been recognized for centuries, but with the current focus on cannabis, they’re taking on newfound importance as researchers unlock their secrets.

Today, we’re going to dive into the story of the most abundant of these compounds: Myrcene. If you’re at all familiar with cannabis, you might recognize its earthy character. We’ll share the current science on what this important terpene is doing for our bodies and our minds.  

Myrcene: What Does It Smell and Taste Like?

While myrcene is the most abundant terpene, it’s difficult to pick out a single defining characteristic. But if you’ve ever detected a musky, earthy scent—some describe it as “funky”— that carries hints of basil, bay laurel, lemongrass or ripe mango, there’s a good chance you’re sniffing myrcene.

Myrcene mango

One reason myrcene is so important is that it’s a chemical precursor to many other terpenes. What’s more, the myrcene content of a given cannabis plant is so important that its quantity dictates whether the specific plant will have a typically sativa-like energizing effect or an indica-like sedative effect. 

Myrcene: What Does It Do For Our Bodies?

You’re probably already familiar with THC and CBD, the two most abundant cannabinoids. But terpenes interact with our bodies as well, and myrcene is no exception.

Myrcene woman sleeping

For a start, it’s believed that myrcene helps cannabinoids pass into the bloodstream through what’s called the blood-brain barrier. Some other effects of include:

Aiding Sedation: Cannabis strains containing over roughly a .5% myrcene content are known to have broadly sedative effects, which are especially helpful when insomnia is an issue.

Helping Relieve Pain: In some studies undertaken on rodents, myrcene has been shown to reduce the perception of pain. Studies on humans support this finding, as does a strong body of anecdotal evidence. 

In addition, studies suggest that myrcene imparts powerful anti-inflammatory effects. If you want to address localized pain without the psychoactivity associated with THC, you may want to try a cannabis topical with a high myrcene content.

Cannabis Strains with a High Myrcene Content

Fortunately, many cannabis strains are naturally high in myrcene. Here are a few of the most common; be sure to check our live menu for our current stock: 

Myrcene bud

Blue Dream is a popular strain known for a sweet berry aroma and gentle cerebral effects. Its high myrcene content provides anti-inflammatory and pain-fighting qualities.

White Widow is a potent strain known for its strongly euphoric and energizing effect. Take note: This is an extremely potent strain with a high THC content.

Sour Diesel is known for its “classic” uplifting and buzzy characteristics thanks to a generous helping of myrcene and other terpenes.

Stop by our Columbia dispensary to discover myrcene-rich products, or check out what we have in stock with our online menu.

The Best Medical Marijuana Strain for Pain and Anxiety

Best Medical Marijuana Strain for Pain and Anxiety

Many patients want to know what the best medical marijuana strain for pain and anxiety is. The truth is, there’s no magic bullet! Let’s explain.

First, everyone’s physiology is unique. What works for Suzy may not work for Sam. Secondly, cannabis is a highly complex plant. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, which may contain just one — or, at most, a few — active components, the cannabis plant contains dozens. The active components include both cannabinoids and terpenes. And every strain consists of numerous different ratios and levels of various cannabinoids and terpenes that can vary not only from strain to strain but from grower to grower, and even within harvests.

Continue reading “The Best Medical Marijuana Strain for Pain and Anxiety”