You get home from the dispensary and open your container. Or zip lock bags. Stick your nose into your fresh cannabis, and sigh. If you enjoy smokable cannabis, there is no way you don’t enjoy that smell of new weed.
Have you ever noticed that your body and brain start to feel happy when you smell cannabis? Even before you pack your bowl? Pre-rolls from the medical dispensary are convenient, but they are not a best-seller because the cannabis is dried out. The first choice for many people is the whole-flower. And part of the reason is because of the aromatherapy effect and active terpenes.
Fresh cannabis has a pleasing flavor when you smoke it. But the smell is also part of that experience. And when cannabis is new, the active terpenes can help you relax or feel more alert. It all depends on the profile of the terpenes inside the specific strain.
You probably never thought of cannabis as a method of aromatherapy. But the natural terpenes in marijuana have been part of medicinal use for centuries. It’s not called “the healing herb” for nothing. And exploring different terpenes can help you achieve noticeable wellness results.
Forest Bathing and the Power of Terpenes in Nature
Did you know that you don’t have to smoke cannabis to get health benefits? There are more than 20,000 different types of terpenes. And they occur naturally in every kind of plant on the planet. To some degree, all terpenes provide a wellness benefit. And all you have to do is take a deep breath and inhale to get those benefits.
In Japan, the art of ‘forest bathing’ is called shinrin-yoku. In Japanese culture, walking through a forest is a spa-like experience. In Japanese traditional medicine, exposure to plants provides mental and physiological health benefits. Now you know why your Mom is so obsessed with gardening. Blame the natural ‘high’ from terpenes.
Forest bathing can relieve stress and anxiety. It can help with chronic fatigue and other health conditions. Some clinical studies have suggested that forest bathing or terpene aromatherapy can also reduce the growth of tumors.
If you live in a city and nowhere near a big park or forest, you can still get terpenes’ wellness benefits from the marijuana, you smoke. People who smoke cannabis are known for being relaxed and feeling content. Some of that is the THC. But a lot of relaxing benefits come from potent terpenes found in cannabis.
What Are The Most Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis?
Did you know that there are more than 20,000 naturally occurring terpenes on the planet? Terpenes are used in consumer skincare products. Some luxury perfumes also feature terpenes. That’s why those scents elicit an emotional response, whether it is excitement, happiness, or relaxation.
Some of the most popular strains of medical cannabis are high in terpenes. Not surprising, right? There are five terpenes commonly found in cannabis strains. And they are popular because they provide noticeable health benefits.
- Myrcene has a woody or musky smell. Sometimes this terpene can make cannabis smell like soil or cloves. It provides a sedating or relaxing effect. Cannabis that is high in Myrcene is usually great for night time use to treat insomnia.
- Caryophyllene is the superstar of terpenes. It is the only one that binds to CB2 receptors. You will know if you have cannabis with a high Caryophyllene level because it will have a spicy or peppery smell. Caryophyllene is also the reason that spices like cloves, basil, and rosemary have wellness benefits. Caryophyllene can have anxiety-reducing benefits. So, if you are struggling with a high level of anxiety, you may want to pair a caryophyllene rich meal with your cannabis. Eating terpenes while consuming cannabis can increase both the psychoactive and physiological benefits.
- Beta Pinene and Alpha Pinene are twin terpenes. The name gives the pine-like scent away. This terpene is also naturally occurring in orange peels and herbs like parsley or basil. It can make you feel more alert and protect memory functioning. It is also used in therapies for patients with Crohn’s Disease and Asthma.
- Eucalyptol or Cineole are two names, but one terpene grows naturally in the eucalyptus tree. It has a minty scent and taste. Most strains of cannabis have an average of 0.06% of the Cineole terpene. It can help fight bacterial or fungal infections and is often used as a topical cream.
- Terpineol is a terpene that will have you couch-crashing in no time. You may have guessed this terpene is most common in Indica strains. Make sure you grab a blanket and a pillow before packing a bowl with a strain high in Terpineol. But it might be the most relaxing sleep you have ever experienced.
What Happens When You Smell Cannabis?
Our bodies have cannabinoid receptors. Physiologically, we are ‘wired’ to detect and absorb terpenes. And we gain wellness benefits from inhaling them. More terpenes can be released when you vaporize cannabis. But they are also present if you inhale raw cannabis without incinerating it.
According to Marijuana Doctors, eating a mango before you smoke cannabis will increase the effects and health? It’s true! Mangos are high in myrcene, one of the most powerful naturally occurring terpenes. If you microdose a natural terpene before you smoke cannabis, it can amplify the effects of THC.
The mucus membrane in your nose has receptors. They detect a scent, and then mitral cells carry signals to the brain. All smells are registered in a spot in the brain called the olfactory cortex. But it doesn’t stop there. The mitral cells carry signals to the limbic system. That is where the brain regulates things like stress responses, memory, and heart rate.
You can use a vaporizer (like a humidifier). Simply decarboxylate your cannabis and then diffuse it with water for a therapeutic steam bath. Then sit back and relax. Some people choose a tabletop vaporizer rather than a direct inhalation process to enjoy a milder psychoactive effect.
Storing Cannabis to Preserve Terpenes
Are you the kind of person that buys small quantities of weed weekly? Or do you prefer to get a couple of ounces at the same time? If you like having a variety of cannabis at home, you may buy smaller amounts of different strains. Or because you don’t want your weed to dry out.
Storing your cannabis the right way will preserve flavonoids (that make cannabis taste good). More importantly, an airtight container will also protect the terpenes in your weed. Remember to store your container at room temperature (or cooler) and out of direct sunlight.
There are many ways to recharge cannabis that has dried out. The most economical way is to add water-soaked cotton balls to the airtight container. That can help rehydrate your weed. Other traditional methods include adding fresh lemon or orange peels to the box. However, that will also infuse your weed with a mild citrus flavor.
There are products you can buy that have advanced osmosis technology to help preserve your cannabis. Boveda is a company that makes both airtight containers and bags for cannabis and patches for rehydration. Each patch has reverse osmosis and purified water (so it won’t contaminate your stash). And RAW Hydrating Stones are also a good (and affordable) solution to help you conserve the wellness benefits of your bud.