Even if you haven’t visited our beautiful Oakland dispensary yet, we’re pretty sure you know what we’re about: A fresh and new approach to cannabis, one that takes into account the whole plant, not just its strain, its cannabinoid content, or any of the other ways to characterize this most beneficial of plant medicines.
We spend a lot of time focusing on the subject of terpenes, the fragrant hydrocarbons—that’s “essential oils” to you and me—that give individual cannabis plants their distinctive and characteristic flavors and aromas.
Why terpenes? It turns out they’re are a big deal, contributing a lot more than aroma and flavor. For literally thousands of years now, Chinese physicians and practitioners of “folk medicine” have known that different cannabis plants elicit specific responses in our bodies: The linalool in many strains (as well as lavender) has relieved stress for eons; eucalyptol has calmed our bronchial passages since we first inhaled its cooling, mentholated aroma.
Terpenes occur in abundance in the natural world, giving many plants their identifying characteristics. But today we’ll focus in on a single terpene—terpineol—and the qualities it gives our favorite all-natural product: The cannabis plant!
What Does Terpineol Do For Us?
Like many other terpenes, terpinoel is found in abundance in the natural world. You’ll find it in pine, bitter orange, tea tree, and roughly 150 other sources. Many describe it as having an agreeable sweet lime flavor and an aroma similar to fresh lilacs. For these reasons it’s often used in perfumes, soaps, and as a flavoring in foods.
Chemically speaking, “terpineol” is actually a family of four closely related terpenes, each with slightly different characteristics. A-terpineol, for instance, is one of the most important aromatics found in lapsang souchong tea (no surprise, as this intense and lovely tea is dried over pinewood fires.)
The fact that terpineol occurs in tea tree is a hint to its antibacterial properties. In fact, at least one study has found that the terpene is effective against E. coli, one of the most feared and troublesome food-borne pathogens. This is noteworthy, as these food-borne bacteria can cause very serious illness or even death.
What’s more, terpineol has noted sedative and anxiolytic properties as well. In addition to anecdotal reports of “couch lock” associated with high-terpineol cannabis strains, a study concluded that terpineol and other similar terpenes had anesthetic qualities associated with them.
How to Get Terpineol from Cannabis
Terpineol is considered one of the “primary terpenes,” so it’s reasonably common in many cannabis strains. Some of the more popular include:
White Widow is a potent, crystal-dusted strain, known for imparting a strong euphoric and energizing effect. Those resinous crystals should serve as a warning: This is an extremely potent strain with a high THC content.
GSC (formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies) is a potent high-THC strain also known for a robust CBD and CBN content. Be forewarned: The high is an enjoyable experience, but not one noted for high productivity!
Jack Herer: A legendary strain among medical cannabis users, this strain—named for the legendary cannabis activist and author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes—lends a blissful, clear-headed, and inspiring. Again, these qualities are all in accord with limonene’s noted mood-enhancing gifts.