Detailed Terpene Profiles and the ‘Entourage Effect’

It is 2022 and we’re seeing a great new trend in the Canadian industry - the inclusion of detailed terpene profiles on flower! Terpenes are the underrated cousins of cannabinoids - they’re absolutely vital for producing different smells, tastes and effects, but for the longest time they were overlooked as THC numbers stole the spotlight.

Do you remember our post about the “entourage effect”?  Defined as “the cannabis compounds, other than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), that act synergistically with it to modulate the overall psychoactive effects of the plant.” In other words, your body may respond differently to a strain, irrespective of its THC content, than another person based on its terpene profile and how that modulates its individual affects on you. 

A strain’s high is not solely due to its THC percentage. The things that make your favourite strains your favourite strains come down to the full package of what that plant is offering chemically and then how that unique chemistry interacts with your individual ‘endocannabinoid system’.  The final product you are consuming (and no, not all methods of consumption produce equal effects) is a result of not only the levels and ratios of cannabinoids but alsolevels and ratios of terpenes and how it all comes together to create a beautifully unique experience.

One of the great joys of experimenting with new cannabis strains is discovering what you love, but also what you are not crazy about. And for the longest time, without terpene profiles being public knowledge, it was tough to figure out what you might also enjoy when your favourite strain is out of stock.

For example, let’s take a look at Natural History’s LA Kush Cake. If you happened to love that strain, you could easily see the percentage of terpenes and realise that its most dominant terpene (at 29%) was a-farnasene, which is more of a rare terpene, but it’s also quite high in caryophyllene (17%) and limonene (12%).  So, when you’re trying something new, you’ll want to look for strains that feature those 3 prominently, so perhaps Natural History’s Fruit Cake (high in caryophyllene and limonene) or BLKMKT’s Peanut Butter Mac (dominant in caryophyllene and limonene with farnesene listed) would be the next new thing to try.

It is important to keep in mind that everyone has different preferences and there will of course be variance between licensed producers (and even batches within that LP) because cannabis is a plant and nature is never cookie-cutter or easily standardized. Yet the cannabis industries trending toward detailed terpene profiles means you can learn more, and the more info you have, the better choices you can make!

Cannabis Terpene Profiles