As the interest in the cannabis plant keeps rising, thanks to the science identifying and isolating its different compounds like THC and CBD, now more people want to know how its various components affect the consumption of cannabis. For instance, it’s widely known that THC is the reason for marijuana’s high, while cannabis with a high % of CBD and a low % of THC (like hemp) doesn’t cause a psychoactive experience. Therefore, consumers can now choose between high CBD with low THC and high THC with low CBD cannabis strains to smoke.
Researchers learn more and more about cannabis compounds, and as it turns out, cannabinoids aren’t the only ingredients affecting your smoke. Terpenes and flavonoids, lesser-known cannabis compounds, account for many cannabis properties. Now, as the interest in these two groups of compounds keeps rising, you might want to learn more about their effects on different cannabis strains and results from your smoke, so here’s everything you need to know about flavonoids and terpenes.
What Are Flavonoids?
There are thousands of flavonoids in nature, and these compounds aren’t unique to the cannabis plant. Still, scientists have found 20 types of flavonoids unique to cannabis, also known as cannaflavins. Each of these flavonoids interacts with the body differently, resulting in varying outcomes from cannabis.
Flavonoids give nutritional value to plants, help seed development, and promote plant growth by regulating functions like cell cycle progression. They also act as defendants for plants, helping prevent damage from environmental factors like fungi, bacteria, and UV rays.
Flavonoids give cannabis strains their appearance by influencing pigmentation, color, flavor, and aroma. Therefore, flavonoids enrich different cannabis strains with some of their unique properties.
Besides flavonoids playing a vital role in the overall experience of cannabis due to the cannabis properties they affect, they also interact with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Unfortunately, flavonoids are far less studied than cannabinoids, so the exact outcomes they provide after the interaction with ECS are yet to be determined.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes, like flavonoids, are naturally occurring compounds in many plants and aren’t unique only to cannabis. They account for flavors, aromas, and sometimes even colors of different vegetation types. When it comes to cannabis, terpenes are responsible for different cannabis strains’ smell and taste, so they play a vital role in the overall experience of smoking cannabis.
Terpenes are widely used in mass products like cleaning solvents to enrich them with different properties, for instance, citrusy smells. In addition, because smells can affect our moods and trigger different emotions by traveling to the brain’s limbic system, terpenes are widely used in numerous product types like cleaning solvents, pesticides, and dyes.
Almost every flower, fruit, or herb has terpenes. They’re why lemons smell clean and citrusy and why lavender has a sweet and floral smell famous for its sedative effects.
Terpenes are also famous in aromatherapy and widely used to promote overall health and well-being by inhaled aromas.
Some of the most common terpenes in cannabis include:
- Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, common in Indica strains with sedative effects. Myrcene has an earthy smell with musky notes, resembling cloves, mixed with a fruity, red grape-like aroma.
- Limonene: Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in cannabis strains, and as the name suggests, it enriches them with a citrusy lemon-like smell and flavor. It’s also the primary terpene used by manufacturers to enhance cleaning products with a citrusy smell.
- Linalool: Besides cannabis, linalool is found in lavender and accounts for its sedative and relaxing effects. Linalool-rich cannabis strains will promote a calming experience.
- Humulene: Humulene has an earthy, woody, and spicy aroma and is common in clove, black pepper, sage, and of course, cannabis. According to research, this terpene might suppress appetite, effectively preventing munchie attacks.
- Alpha-pinene or Beta-pinene: These two common cannabis terpenes smell just like pine trees – which are also abundant in these terpenes. Besides cannabis, other plants rich in alpha and beta-pinene include orange peels, basil, rosemary, and parsley.
Do Flavonoids and Terpenes Affect Your High?
Terpenes, for instance, can affect your body’s serotonin and dopamine production. Both chemicals regulate mood and might induce pleasurable sensations. Thus, terpene-rich strains can produce a more pleasurable high.
Most importantly, per the famous theory, the Entourage Effect, all chemical components in cannabis, including flavonoids and terpenes combined, will have better effects than isolated compounds. THC and CBD standalone wouldn’t produce the same effects as when mixed with flavonoids and terpenes.
Flavonoids and terpenes work best when combined with other naturally occurring cannabis compounds, including cannabinoids like CBD and THC.
Both cannabis compounds, flavonoids and terpenes can significantly impact the experience of cannabis consumption through the appearance, flavors, and smells they give to each strain. Besides, both compounds work synergically with cannabinoids to produce what science calls the entourage effect. The presence of flavonoids and terpenes can impact the smoking process of cannabis and its outcomes by interacting with ECS receptors and, in the case of terpenes, regulating mood through smells.
Terpenes and flavonoids carry their properties individually, but they are the most understudied compounds in cannabis, so their exact outcomes after cannabis consumption are still yet to be revealed. However, we know for now that strains rich in these compounds will taste and smell differently, and most importantly, provide varying effects and contribute to the entourage effect.
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