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Whether you use marijuana as a natural alternative or supplement to conventional therapeutics — or even just to enjoy a good buzz — you might be surprised to know that the primary determining factor in the type of high you get from different marijuana strains comes not from its concentrations of THC, but its terpene profile. In both medicinal and recreational use cases, if you want to know what to expect when experimenting with new strains on your next trip to the dispensary, it definitely pays to get familiar with terpenes.

What are terpenes?

Over 200 different terpenes have been identified as the cannabis plant, but they certainly aren’t exclusive to marijuana and hemp. Terpenes can be found in practically all plant life, including in peppercorns and pine cones. Scientific research has found significant therapeutic potential in popular terpenes, which indicates that they may have applications in the future of natural medicine.

Their possible therapeutic value aside, terpenes have also been shown to produce a number of effects at the physiological level. These range from impacting appetite, mood and stress levels all the way to aiding against insomnia and night terrors.

In order to understand how terpenes produce their effects and influence the highs you can get from different marijuana strains, it’s important to understand the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). This post goes over everything you need to know, as well as a few sample terpenes and their influence on how different marijuana strains affect their consumers.

Understanding Endocannabinoid System Receptors

The ECS is a term used to describe cannabinoid receptors spread throughout the body, including in muscles and fascia. In the case of terpenes, the main ECS receptor groups of interest are the cannabinoid type 1 (CB1) and CB2 receptors. These are located in the nervous system and peripheral organs, respectively.

Terpenes, like cannabinoids, exert a modulatory influence on CB1 and CB2 receptors, affecting the body on a physiological level. Both cannabinoids like CBD or THC as well as terpenes can have beneficial effects on the brain’s sensitivity and reaction to hormones like serotonin, dopamine and epinephrine. This is also true for signalling molecules like cytokines, which control and catalyze the body’s inflammatory response.

The ECS plays a key role in how we experience pain, inflammation, stress and even mood disorders. Much more information on the ECS, cannabinoids and their effects on the human experience can be found at True Blue, where you can buy natural terpenes for cannabis.

Limonene, the Citrus Terpene

Limonene is most abundant in citrus fruits and peels, such as in lemon, lime, oranges and grapefruit. It is a particularly popular terpene because of its ability to impart a fresh and zesty aroma to limonene-rich marijuana strains like Banana OG and Berry White.

Whether in medical marijuana or recreational use, strains rich in limonene are known to improve mood and reduce stress. Consumers also report that limonene-dominant strains can reduce symptoms of gastric reflux and heartburn.

Myrcene, the Mango Terpene

Large concentrations of myrcene can be found in mangoes, as well as in guava melons, basil and thyme. Myrcene is commonly referred to as the “mother of all terpenes” because it is the single most commonly found terpene in cannabis. Examples of myrcene-dominant strains include OG Kush, Blue Dream and 9-Pound Hammer.

Among consumers and physicians prescribing medical marijuana, myrcene is especially popular as an analgesic, an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. This makes myrcene-rich strains a good bet for individuals suffering from chronic pain or inflammation, as well as from skin infections and acne.

Linalool, the Lavender Terpene

Linalool is the dominant terpene in lavender, with one of the most sought after aroma profiles in the aromatherapy and natural wellness markets. It can also be found in neroli oil, rosewood and jasmine. Popular marijuana strains with high levels of linalool include Purple Hindu Kush, MAC and Black Cherry Soda.

Linalool-heavy strains are commonly prescribed to individuals with various forms of sleep dysfunction, such as night terrors or restless legs syndrome. Sleep disorders like insomnia, sleepwalking and narcolepsy can also benefit from so-called “linalool highs,” as its natural sedative and relaxant properties can help to regulate healthy sleep cycles by making sure you get a full eight hours every evening.

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