The cannabis industry is growing in all aspects of the word— especially in regards to the knowledge that is being presented to the general public. People are getting smarter about their cannabis consumption and during this particular part of the journey we’re largely realizing that things aren’t quite as black and white as they seem.
Did you know that distillate may get you really high, really fast, but since all the terpenes and lots of the other cannabinoids have been worked out of it the experience you’re left with is often hollow and quick to fade away? Did you know that even if you don’t want to get high, a CBD product is going to be largely more effective with at least a small amount of THC due to the way that cannabinoids attach to the receptors in your brain?
These were never fun facts that were offered up to me while I swiped my ziplock baggie back in the day. The legalization of cannabis has allowed us access to a great amount of more knowledge regarding what and why cannabis affects humans the way they do. This is also making us question the way that we’ve been doing things; in the not so distant future sativa, indica, and hybrid being associated with uppy or relaxing kinds of effects from cannabis might become a thing of the past as the future points to a much more complex rule of thumb than that.
The bud structure (which is what defines sativa or indica) is showing little relativity to the chemotype or effect of a specific strain.
Cannabis operates in a very holistic way— terpenes and cannabinoids play with each other to compose the unique traits that each strain can bring to the table. Ben Cassiday of True Terpenes in Oregon describes terpenes interaction with our bodies and cannabis as “low volume, high impact”. It isn’t as simple as finding out your favorite strain is high in linalool (a terpene also found in lavender that can encourage deep relaxation) and drawing the conclusion that you like strains high in linalool. There’s a high probability that what actually draws you to that particular strain is all the terpenes that come together in the trace amounts underneath the majority. It could be the way they interact with linalool, as well, because terpenes and their associated effects can change with whatever it is they’re paired with.
This is the reason why when studying terpenes and their effects it’s very important to look at who it was conducting the study where this information came from. For example, hops are terpene rich and often the subject that terpene studies are done on. Hops don’t have cannabinoids, though, and while very closely related are still different than a cannabis plant. It’s inconclusive to draw concrete results from this and apply it to cannabis. Terpenes are also very volatile; part of why it’s so easy for them to get into our nose and senses is due to their ability to easily evaporate into the air that we breath. Some wise words from Virginia Hoyer, an herbal scientist who works for The Herbalist, is that when looking at terpene studies find out if they isolated the terpene to study it; if they did not any conclusions they draw should be in question. This is a widely known requirement of any serious scientist, before you can make conclusions from any variables you need to have a control so you can tell the difference between what’s really true for all situations and circumstances or if it’s an anomaly because of interference or unfair comparison.
We love talking about all things cannabis, especially the cutting edge turns of the industry! The educator group is ready and eager to deep dive into terpene or cannabinoid talk any day of the week so stop by and ask any questions!
By, Nikki Marangon