Terpenes are the aromas and flavors found throughout nature, predominantly in the plant kingdom. Cannabis is one of the most diverse plants in the world, possessing the ability to smell and taste a variety of different ways.
More than 120 terpenes have been identified in cannabis. The typical strain of cannabis comprises a combination of somewhere between 6-12 active terpenes.
Terpenes have a direct impact on both the physical and chemical composition of individual strains playing an important role in the chemical compounds of plants; as they create a plant’s genetic structure or ‘DNA’.
Let’s say there are three medical cannabis patients: The first patient suffers from physical pain and is seeking relief. The second patient is afflicted with sleep disorders, while the third has gastric issues. Although each of these three patients may require potent dosages, those strains containing a high level of THC, each patient would greater benefit from medical cannabis, if they are able to get certain strains which are more suitable for specific symptoms.
The wide spectrum of aromas created by terpenes in cannabis are now being recognized and identified, which help with The Future Classification of Cannabis.
Cannabis should be prescribed according to specific strains. Strains should be organized and based on the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes, as it is the differences in terpene levels which give each strain its own unique taste and aroma.
The majority of strains on the market are hybrids, cross breeds taken from certain Sativa and Indica land race strains for their unique characteristics.
* Note that terpene levels tend to differ from harvest to harvest, as the yield varies depending on growing conditions.
** Artificial flavoring with the use of terpenes has been in practice for many years as the science is implemented in perfumes, as well as many common foods and beverages, such as lemon-lime soda.
Read more for information about lab testing for Cannabinoids and Terpenoids. Categorizing strains will help the medical cannabis community better target areas of The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS).