What are they, why are they important, etc.?
Perhaps the most underrated component to predicting your experience with a strain of cannabis is understanding the terpenes that are found in the plant. Terpenes are found in nearly every plant or crop, including fruits and vegetables and are considered a secondary compound in the plant’s genetics.
This compound helps dictate the profile of plant’s smell and how it’s taste, both as a way to attract pollination and to try and ward off potential predators. This is key with cannabis terpenes, as we learn more and more how a flavor profile of a strain can be adapted by tinkering with the terpenes.
Understanding terpenes can help you maximize your relationship with cannabis. It could be to simply find a strain with a nutty profile to pair with your coffee. Pick out the citrus notes to go with a dessert or cocktail.
There are well over 100 terpenes known to be in the trichomes (the little hairs) of cannabis, and research has shown that they affect how THC passes through your system. While cannabinoids like THC are what offer the psychoactive effects that elevate you, terpenes help sway how your body reacts in terms of mood upliftment and perceived feelings.
With an understanding of biology, farmers and seed breeders are able to create new strains that include a combination of terpenes passed down by their parent strains and even reintroduce other terpenes to the plant during its cultivation.