You already know a little about cannabinoids, even if you don’t know it (hint: they include THC and CBD). For years, many of us thought of them as the “active ingredients” in cannabis. But while that’s a fair assessment, the cannabinoids aren’t the only game in town.
Cannabis—along with countless other plants, herbs, trees, and other products—contains many dozens of terpenes. These fragrant hydrocarbons—that’s just another way of saying “essential oils”—are what give different strains of cannabis their specific aromas, flavors, and much more.
We’re now learning that, like cannabinoids, terpenes exert powerful effects our bodies and our minds. Today we’ll introduce you to pinene, the most abundant terpene in the world, and one of the ten most important in cannabis.
What Does Pinene Smell and Taste Like?
As you might guess, pinene exhibits a distinctive aroma of pine or “Christmas tree.” No surprise there: Because it’s found in trees like pine and spruce and herbs like rosemary, basil and even orange peel, pinene is the most common terpene on the planet. There are technically two forms of the terpene—alpha-pinene and beta-pinene—but the alpha type (commonly called “a-pinene”) is typically more abundant in cannabis.
What Does Pinene Do For Us?
If you’re skeptical of the idea that fragrant oils might have an effect on our bodies, think back to the last time you smelled the aroma of an evergreen forest or a freshly cut Christmas tree. Did you notice that it had a pleasingly soothing effect on your breathing? That’s due to pinene’s broad anti-inflammatory effects, particularly on our respiratory functions. While we can’t be certain that pinene from cannabis has the same effect, researchers will likely be looking into it soon.
If you find the scent of a pine forest subtly pleasing, you’re not imagining that either. Because pinene readily penetrates the blood-brain barrier, it tends to protect certain transmitter molecules. In plain English, exposure to pinene tends to make one feel more lucid, increasing memory function and attention. This observation is supported to an extent by a study showing that some terpenes help diminish the short-term memory impairment associated with ingestingTHC.
How to Get Pinene from Cannabis
Because a-pinene is relatively common in cannabis, you can often just follow your nose to find it! Here are a few popular strains that typically contain high levels of this powerful terpene:
Grape Ape is a musky and potent high-THC indica. With a pronounced grape flavor and a memorable scent, this strain delivers a powerful and long-lasting full-body high.
Harlequin is a popular strain for its strong CBD content. It imparts a sativa-dominant uplift, often coupled with a mild euphoria. It’s gentle enough for daytime activities while imparting a smooth CBD-powered ride.
ACDC is another favorite among the medical cannabis community, averaging around a 20:1 CBD/THC ratio. Its psychoactivity is barely perceptible, making this high-pinene strain a great choice for daily users who want to combat anxiety, pain, and tension.
Pineapple: Fans of this strain describe a “cheerful, energetic high” minus anxiety or paranoia. A roughly 50/50 indica/sativa hybrid, it’s fairly low in CBD (typically less than 1%).
You can pick up pinene-rich strains at your favorite Des Moines dispensary! Stop by our use our online dispensary menu to see what’s in stock.