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Terpenes and Cannabinoids: Part 1

This lesson is a part of an audio course Medical Cannabis Basics by Harmony Tarrant

Last time we went overstrains and what Sativa and Indica are. They are the oldest names in the book. "Inda-couch", "Sativa sunshine", it's the first thing you learn about cannabis generally. It's been the guideline for many patients and recreational users.

But do Sativa and Indicas really even matter? Although these classifications are important to experiment and see where you want to be medicating wise, it is a disservice to think Sativa and Indica are all there is. Most budtenders I've come across tell me I should only have Indicas for pain and even my anxiety. That Sativa's won't touch my pain and will make my anxiety worse. But while most Indicas take care of my pain, some Sativas do as well. There have even been times where Sativas can calm my anxiety while Indicas could trigger it.

So, there must be more to it than a cut and dry 2 directional methods. That's where terpenes and cannabinoids come into play.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are responsible for the smell and taste of cannabis. Though, terpenes aren't only present in the cannabis plant, they are what you smell and taste in everything in nature. That citrus smell you get in lemons and oranges? That's because of the terpene Limonene. People also use terpenes in nature to make essential oils, and even add them to your scented cleaning products. Ever wondered how Pinesol can smell so much like pine and lemon? That's alpha-pinene for the pine scent and again, limonene for the lemon scent.

But terpenes aren't just responsible for the taste and smell of plants in nature; they also have medical properties that with cannabis, sync with the cannabinoid profile, which also has medical effects.

For example, let's say you have insomnia. Let's go into some terpenes.

Myrcene provides a sedating, relaxing effect. Xylitol has a sedating, calming effect. These are terpenes you would be looking for in cannabis to relieve insomnia.

What Are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are like THC and CBD; they are the chemical compounds present in the cannabis plant that produce different effects. Cannabinoids are what bind like keys to our endocannabinoid receptors which is responsible for the effects that we feel. Much like how caffeine binds to our adenosine receptors to keep us awake.

For cannabinoids, the best by far to go to sleep is CBN with THC. So you would be looking for cannabis that has myrcene and/or Lylinool with cannabinoids of THC and CBN.

Here's a fun fact: CBD is actually a stimulant! This is why when you buy a CBD product for sleep, it usually has melatonin in it and possibly other chemicals or oils. In low to medium doses, it helps you become energized and awake, much like coffee. In high doses of CBD is where it has a sedating effect to help you sleep. So, there's a spectrum of dosing with CBD and how doses can effect you.

So, what about pain? For medical patients, pain relief is the #1 thing people look for. For pain, the terpene Pinene has anti-inflammatory effects, body relaxing effects. Cariophiline has chronic pain-relieving effects. These are the terpenes you would look for to relieve pain. Cannabinoids to relieve pain is CBD, WITH THC if it's chronic, CBC is anti-inflammatory; So that's CBD, THC, and maybe CBC with Pinene and/or Cariophiline. (I believe CBG and CBN also have pain relief properties).

The reason this is important, is because when you go beyond Sativa and Indica for medication, you then have a lot more options to medicate. You also have more precise targets in your arsenal. So instead of getting a random Indica or something that's recommended from your budtender, you can say "White Widow has cariophiline, this would be good for pain" "Harlequin has a high CBD ratio with some THC, this would be good for arthritis". This way you can be more educated, more precise, and hopefully rightfully medicated.

You can look up what strains have what cannabinoids and terpenes, but lab tests are best because, after the growing and curing process, results may vary even with the exact same strain.

In the next lesson, we will be going over terpenes and cannabinoids part 2 where we will go over cannabinoids and terpene names and what they do.

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Written by

Harmony Tarrant

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