Navigating Terpene Profiles
Have you ever walked into a dispensary and been dazzled by the overwhelming number of products available? With so many possibilities, how do you decide which strain is the right one to buy? Most sommeliers would recommend using your nose to sniff out the strains you like, but in Canada, we can't open the packaging before buying! By understanding the scents, flavours and effects of various terpenes, it will allow you to find the right products, that meet your needs.
Many brands test their products for terpene content and percentages and include this information on their packaging. These terpene profiles are available to help you buy your preferred products and explore variations on your favourite strains that are for sale. Reading a terpene profile on product packaging can seem overwhelming, but with a little bit of knowledge, you'll be able to understand what all the numbers mean in no time! In this guide we will help you to get to know your terpenes, which will assist you in purchasing the right products in-store or online.
What are Terpenes?
When you smell a flower bud, it is mainly the terpenes that you are experiencing. Terpenes are fragrant compounds that give each strain its unique aroma and flavour. They are naturally produced in the resinous trichomes of the flowers alongside cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Terpenes alone will not make you high, but many believe it is the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids that modulate the overall therapeutic effects.
Discovering your favourite terpenes is the best way to find products you know you'll love! The most common terpenes are Myrcene, Limonene, Terpinolene, Beta-Caryophyllene and Pinene. Each represents an individual scent molecule that offers a specific aroma and flavour. Different combinations of these terpenes have different effects when present in the flowers. These combinations are represented on packaging in the form of terpene profiles or in their online descriptions. As each strain has its own unique aroma and effects, the easiest way to understand your personal preference is by reading and understanding these terpene profiles. Research has shown that certain types of terpenes, such as Limonene, are typically associated with more energizing effects (Sativa) while products that contain terpenes such as Myrcene, are more relaxing (Indica).
What are Terpene Profiles?
Terpene profiles are essentially lists of the different terpenes present in a particular flower strain or infused products like vape cartridges. The terpenes are listed from most dominant to least, often including specific percentages of each terpene. When you read a terpene profile, you can better navigate the potential effects and flavour of the product and ultimately determine whether it's a strain you will enjoy.
Understanding the Format
Terpene profiles are typically displayed as a list from the highest percentage of an individual terpene to the least. For example, CannTerp's Trainwreck Terpene Strain Profile features all the terpenes from most dominant to least dominant. Its description includes a visual aid in the form of a pie chart illustrating each terpene's volume. In order, Trainwreck features: Humulene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Pinene, and Myrcene.
Some strain profiles contain many more terpenes and might seem more intimidating to understand, such as CannTerp's Bubble Gum Terpene Strain Profile which has: Myrcene, Limonene, Beta Pinene, Linalool, Alpha Pinene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Humulene, and Delta 3 Carene. The pie charts are a great visualization tool to understand which terpenes are present in the highest volumes. As a consumer, you want to know which terpenes are the dominant terpenes, as this will help you understand the flavour and scent profiles of the product.
Most terpene profiles list the terpenes present with the percentage of each terpene. For example, a terpene profile might look something like this:
- Limonene: 4%
- Myrcene: 1%
- Pinene: 1%
This list illustrates that the dominant terpene is Limonene, followed by Myrcene and Pinene. However, most dried flower contains 2-5% terpenes, so the numbers listed will often be much lower and in more minor decimal points. For example, a terpene profile might list Myrcene at 0.5% and Limonene at 0.03%. Each company presents their information slightly differently, but the main point is to understand the dominant terpenes.
Once you've identified the dominant terpenes, the next step is to evaluate the percentages listed. These percentages will often correlate with the strength of smell and flavour but can also influence the overall consumption experience. The higher the percentage of a particular terpene, the more prominent that terpene scent, taste and effect will be. For example, a strain with a high percentage of Limonene is likely to have a strong lemon scent, taste of citrus and provide an energizing effect. A strain with a high percentage of Pinene will have a heavy pine or woodsy scent, taste resinous and help with focus.
Understanding the Effects
If you want to make the most of terpene profiles, educating yourself on the individual terpene isolates and their effects is valuable in helping you better understand a particular strain's potential therapeutic effects. For example, strains with high percentages of Myrcene are often associated with relaxation and sleep, while strains with high percentages of Limonene may have energizing and uplifting effects. Check out our Terpenes 101 guide for a quick crash course on the primary terpenes.
You can learn more about terpenes' effects by reading articles, watching videos, or speaking with your local budtender! There are many online resources to understand terpenes' therapeutic actions. By taking the time to understand terpene profiles, you'll be able to choose strains with the effects and flavours you love!
Benefits of Terpene Profiles
Having terpene profiles on packaging is incredibly beneficial for consumers as they provide valuable information about the strains you are consuming. It allows you to make informed decisions about products based on the potential effects of the terpenes present. It will help you find strains best suited to your needs, whether relaxation, energy, or something in between. By looking at a strain's terpene profile, you can better understand its potential effects and determine whether it's the right strain for you. Furthermore, you are able to search online, and filter products based on their dominant terpenes which help you to buy terpene profiles that consistently meet your desired effect.
It's important to note that terpene profiles vary depending on the source and method of testing, so it's a good idea to look at multiple profiles for a particular strain, if possible. Additionally, certain terpenes do not necessarily guarantee specific effects, as the interactions between terpenes and other compounds in the plant can be complex. Nevertheless, terpene profiles can be a valuable tool for making informed decisions about which strains to try and understanding the potential effects of different products.
Vape cartridges provide an interesting option for those who are wanting a more consistent effect, as you have control to create or select formulations that meet your desired smell, taste and effect.
Shop with Confidence
Overall, terpene profiles are a fun and valuable tool for navigating the world of cannabis. Providing information about the terpenes in each strain and infused product allows consumers to make informed decisions and find strains best suited to their needs. So, the next time you're in a dispensary or shopping online, take a look around and read those terpene profiles! We recommend the next time you find a product that you really like, take a moment to review the packaging the make a note of the dominant terpenes. You can find the dominant terpenes in products you love and discover your new favourites!
To experience the unique scent, flavour, and effects of terpene profiles, we suggest trying our "Effects" based Terpene Infusion BudBooster Pearl Package (contains: Elevate, Immerse, Relax and Dream). We recommend using individual containers with 3.5 grams of the same flower and placing 1 terpene infusion pearl from each profile in each container. After waiting 1-24 hours for infusion (depending on your strength preference), place the pearl back in the airtight packaging for reuse, then give each flower a try. Make notes on the different tastes, smells and effects. This will help you identify your favourite terpenes.
Buy CannTerp Premium Terpenes to boost your experience. CannTerp is your top supplier of terpenes for sale in Canada. Experience our strain specific profiles, flavour boosted profiles, live resin boosted and hemp derived terpenes, as well as our unique terpene infusion product line. Shop our award-winning selection today.
Amanda Breeze is an enthusiastic educator on all things terpenes and aroma. She hosts The Smoking Spot podcast, featuring stories and sensory evaluations of our favourite plant. Follow her on Instagram: @emerald.temple.living