What are terpenes?

An informational guide to the terpenes found naturally within Mass Alternative Care’s small-batch cannabis.

Macro detail of cannabis flower showing trichomes where terpenes are stored.
Macro detail of cannabis flower (Sour Diesel strain) isolated over black background.

One of the first things you hear around Mass Alternative Care (MAC) is, “It smells so good in here, I wish I could bottle the smell for myself!” And there’s a reason for that. Not only does MAC grow on site in its Chicopee, MA facility, MAC also harvests, dries, cures and processes it within these walls. One of the most fun things as a cannabis consumer is being able to smell the wide range of fragrances that each strain produces. From cheese to citrus – listen to your nose. So where does that smell come from exactly? And why does that matter? The answer is – terpenes.

Terpenes are naturally derived chemicals found in the essential oils of the cannabis plant.

Terpenes are naturally derived chemicals, hydrocarbons to be exact, found in the essential oils of the cannabis plant. Have you ever seen an extremely frosty bud, covered in those shiny, sticky mushroom-shaped crystals? Those are called trichomes. Trichomes can be found on the leaves and buds of the cannabis plant, where terpenes are made and stored.

Cannabis flower with visible trichomes.
Cannabis flower (White Critical strain) with visible trichomes.

Now you’re probably thinking, why does the cannabis plant make trichomes naturally, if they are used to elevate our perspective? Well, they do a lot more than that. Trichomes act as a defense mechanism in nature, protecting the plant from natural predators like insects and animals. Fragrant terpenes help repel these threats, keeping the plant alive.

Cannabis is an incredibly diverse plant, with diverse benefits. There are over 100 different identified terpenes in the cannabis plant, with much progress on their classification and effects. Terpenes can be broken down into broad categories, with each category further narrowing down by smell and effect that correlates with specific terpenes. So now you know a little bit of what terpenes are and why they are found on the plant, but WHY do they matter to the cannabis consumer?

They can affect both body and mind.

A strain high in Limonene will have a citrus aroma, most likely providing elevated mood and stress relief. Limonene is prevalent in zesty sativa strains, giving sativas their stereotypical uplifting or daytime effect.  In large amounts, limonene has shown medicinal properties by providing anti-cancer effects, anti-inflammatory effects, pain relief and nausea relief. More can be said about Limonene – but we’ll go over that extensively in another post.

How can I learn more about terpenes?

Each product on MAC’s menu that has been tested for terpene content has their terpenes listed within the test results. Become familiar with your favorite strains to learn what you’re smelling, tasting and feeling.

Mass Alternative Care example menu showing terpenes and cannabinoid content.

Common terpenes found within Mass Alternative Care’s strains are: Beta Caryophyllene, Myrcene, Limonene, Alpha and Beta Pinene, Humulene, Linalool, Nerolidol, Ocimene and Terpinolene.

Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts that dive deeper into each individual terpene found within MAC’s house strains or come spark up a conversation with any of our agents!

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