What Are Terpenes & How Do They Work in Weed?

Terpenes make me think of turtles. Of course, terpenes aren’t turtles. If they were, I’d be writing about how the hell turtles got in my weed.

Terpenes are the new hotness in marijuana. They’ve always been in our weed (and many other plants), but we’ve only recently begun to understand just how big a role terpenes play in the aroma and effects of cannabis. Maybe you thought about buying a gram of terpene-enriched cannabis oil, but you want to be sure those extra terpenes are really worth the extra cost. What is it these not-turtles actually do? And how do they do it?

What Do Terpenes Do?

Terpenes are fragrant oils best known for creating the diverse cannabis aromas we know and love. The lemon, grape, and floral smells in your favorite strains are courtesy of terpenes.

For many cannabis connoisseurs, the improved bouquet is reason enough to take note of terpenes. Like a fine wine or perfectly prepared meal, the right combination of terpenes are worth spending a bit more (I go into why terpene-enriched products cost more later). But, terpenes do more than add to a strain’s flavor and aroma profile.

Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain. When terpenes are found naturally in cannabis flower (and nurtured through the growing process), the range of effects can be similar—if less pronounced—than those of THC.

  • Sedating/Calming
  • Stress relief
  • Appetite suppression
  • Alertness
  • Enhances THC effects

The “entourage effect” is the idea that terpenes, THC, CBD, and other compounds work together to enhance the psychoactive and physical effects of marijuana. This could help explain why switching to a higher THC or CBD strain doesn’t always offer greater relief or a stronger high—it may have dramatically different terpenes.

When terpenes are added to a concentrate, the goal is to get the best flavor, strength, and combination of effects.

How Does Terpene-Enriched Cannabis Work?

Extracting the terpenes from cannabis is a difficult and expensive process. It’s the high cost that has kept terpene-enriched concentrates from reaching more dispensaries and recreational consumers (as much as $250 per milliliter of terpenes, according to one California cannabis business owner).

In addition to the cost of equipment capable of extracting terpenes, cannabis labs have another big expense: the process of extracting the terpenes destroys the cannabis plant.

As a result, many “terpene-enriched” cannabis products actually use food-based terpenes for flavor. While this allows for lower cost products with a greater variety of flavors, many cannabis connoisseurs say that using food-based terpenes creates an “artificial” taste.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of chefs are using cannabis terpenes to enhance their cooking—removing the psychoactive effects and focusing only on the flavors.

With terpenes playing such an important role in the aroma, flavor, and effects of a strain or cannabis oil, it may be just a matter of time before they’re as sought after as well-known cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

Terpene-Enriched CO2 Oil from Karing Kind Labs

We strive to offer a top-tier experience every time you enter our store. Our extensive menu of organic bud, award-winning budtenders, incredible deals, and the lowest marijuana tax rate in the state make us the perfect Colorado cannabis destination.
Pick up a gram or half-gram of our organic, terpene-enriched CO2 cannabis oil—extracted at our very own Karing Kind Labs.

Karing Kind is located just off of US-36, one mile north of Broadway, open MON-FRI from 9am to 10pm and SAT-SUN from 10am to 10pm.

While we carry a variety of strains, concentrates, edibles, salves and tinctures, inventory and stock levels fluctuate from week to week and month to month. Check our menu and follow us on Twitter for an up-to-date list of edibles, concentrates and buds available.