Terpene Profile: Caryophyllene, A Spicy, Peppery Powerhouse

Terpenes—like myrcene, which we’ve examined previously—are much more than pretty smells and tastes. In addition to helping make each and every cannabis strain unique, terpenes impart some frankly astonishing medicinal qualities as well.

Caryophyllene terpenes

For instance, today’s terpene—caryophyllene—is associated with powerful effects including fighting pain and potentially helping us reduce a craving for alcohol. Intriguingly, it also acts somewhat like a cannabinoid (such as THC or CBD) in our bodies, spurring our Endocannabinoid System for dramatic anti-inflammatory benefits. We’ll share what we know about this fascinating terpene, and then tell you about some strains known for a high caryophyllene content.

Caryophyllene: What Does It Do for Us?

If you’ve ever detected a pleasantly peppery aroma or flavor in cannabis, there’s a good chance you’re picking up on its caryophyllene content. In addition to some cannabis strains, caryophyllene pops up in oregano, cloves and rosemary, among other plants.

Caryophyllene is one of the “primary terpenes,” meaning it’s fairly abundant in cannabis. While it shares analgesic (or pain-fighting) effects with such terpenes as humulene and pinene, caryophyllene does something very special: It interacts with our bodies’ CB2 receptors, just like a cannabinoid would. This gives it extra potential to fight inflammation, as suggested by some research, and potentially anxiety and depression as well, as indicated by some rodent-model studies.

Because inflammation is one of the body’s primary responses to injury, the ability to manage it is closely linked to reducing pain. But over and above that, caryophyllene may have roles to play in some unexpected arenas. For one thing, it appears that caryophyllene may help in reducing alcohol dependence. A study published in 2014 found that the terpene reduced test subjects’ alcohol intake.

That said, those test subjects weren’t humans, but rodents. “Mice aren’t men,” as the saying goes, but the study suggests a promising route in the treatment of alcohol dependance, an issue that typically plagues some 15 million Americans in any given year.

But there’s more. While we’re leery of claiming cannabis “cures” cancer—a claim not yet borne out by research, some terpenes—including caryophyllene—show promise. Separate studies in Canada and South Korea both demonstrated the terpene’s ability to assist in the destruction of cancer cells, at least in laboratory conditions. It will likely be years till such treatments are tested on human subjects, but again: We’re excited by the possibility of an effective weapon against one of the medical world’s toughest adversaries.

Caryophyllene: What Strains Have It?

It’s not difficult to find caryophyllene in cannabis; here are a few of our favorite strains packed with this powerful terpene:

Caryophyllene buds

Super Silver Haze is a famous and popular sativa strain, typically characterized by piney, citrusy and peppery aromas. It’s usually buzzy and energetic, and some find it causes distracting “racing mind” effects. But it’s beloved by many creatives for its energizing, inspiring qualities.

Purple Punch is a potent, sleepy strain. Some call it a great “dessert” for its heavy sedative qualities and its citrus-tinged flavors and aromas. It’s popular for fighting stress, bodily aches, and sleeplessness.

Original Glue is a potent high-THC strain. As the name suggests, it’s both sticky to the touch and it can “glue” you to the couch if you’re not careful! The peppery aroma should tell you off the bat that this is a high-caryophyllene strain, but before long it’ll be swept away by a strong euphoria and full-body relaxation.

Want to grab your own caryophyllene-rich strains? Stop by our Tacoma dispensary or order online now!

Terpene Profile: Geraniol, A Powerful, Floral-Scented Medicine from Cannabis

We’re very big on terpenes. These fragrant hydrocarbons—or “essential oils”—are a powerful component of the cannabis plant, and they’re an extremely useful way to characterize different strains of weed. There are over 200 of them in cannabis, and as we’re learning, they contribute much more than distinctive and appealing flavors and aromas. Plus, terpenes contribute a great deal to the cannabis plant’s medicinal qualities.

We’re not suggesting you should forget everything you’ve learned about the cannabinoids, which include THC, CBD and over 100 others. Those plant-based compounds are still an extremely useful and convenient way to interpret cannabis strains and predict their effects.

But today we’re going to stick with terpenes for the moment. Today we’re going to focus on geraniol, one of the ten most important of the terpenes in cannabis and one found all over the natural world. In addition to contributing to the characteristic aroma of the geranium flower, this terpene brings all kinds of intriguing and powerful medical effects to bear on our bodies.

What Does Geraniol Smell and Taste Like?

Geraniol is found all over the plant world. In addition to helping define the scent of geraniums, it’s found in roses, citrus peel, blueberries and carrots. Like many other terpenes, it’s often used as an all-natural ingredient in cosmetics and soaps, and as a natural flavoring in confections like ice cream.

Geraniol 1

Many describe the scent of geraniol as broadly and intriguingly floral, with sweet notes of citrus and fresh-cut fruit like apples. If you’ve ever smelled citronella—a natural compound derived from lemongrass—that’s a great example of the characteristic scent of geraniol.

What Can Geraniol Do For Us?

Many terpenes are helpful in fighting our bodies’ inflammatory responses to injury and pain, and geraniol is no different. As a 2016 study demonstrated, it has an anti-inflammatory effect. Another paper published the preceding year found that geraniol helped inhibit fibrosis, a related effect in which tissues become thickened and scarred due to injury.

Geraniol 2

But geraniol’s medical uses go further, all the way into the realm of potential cancer treatments. While a foolproof cure for cancer is still years away, initial studies like this one published in 2005 indicated that geraniol can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells. And more recently, a 2016 study showed that the terpene had much the same effect on prostate cancer cells, and prevented them from spreading further into the body.

How to Get Geraniol from Cannabis

This powerful terpene is relatively easy to find in cannabis; some of the more readily available strains include:

Geraniol 3

Master Kush: This potent high-THC strain elicits instant relaxation without the mind-numbing effects associated with similar strains. Some fans describe a heightened sensory awareness that enhances most any activity.

Lavender: Cannabis containing geraniol often contains linalool as well; no surprise, then, that a strain named after nature’s most recognizable source of linalool would contain a hefty dose of geraniol too! It’s highly relaxing, with moderate sleepy and euphoric effects as well.

Amnesia Haze: As the name suggests, this strain may inspire deep forgetfulness! With a notably euphoric onset, the generally happy, uplifted and relaxed effects make this a venerable and well-loved cannabis.

Ready to explore some great strains? Stop by our Tacoma dispensary (or our Bremerton Dispensary), or check out our online menus!

Myrcene: The Surprising Pain-Fighting Terpene

There’s more to cannabis than meets the eye (or the nose!). Since the discovery of the cannabinoids by Israeli researcher Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, we’ve focused much of our attention on these powerful plant-based compounds. But while cannabinoids such as THC and CBD have fascinating healing effects on our bodies, they’re not the only game in town.

We’ve already introduced the concept of terpenes in a previous blog. Today we’re going to drill down even further by focusing on myrcene, the most abundant terpene in cannabis. In addition to engaging in a wide range of powerful interactions on our bodies—fighting pain and easing inflammation, for a start—a given cannabis plant’s myrcene content is so important that it determines whether it falls into the indica or sativa families.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start by describing this incredibly potent plant compound.

What Does Myrcene Smell and Taste Like?

Because myrcene is the most prevalent of the cannabis plant’s roughly 200 known terpenes, it can be hard to separate it from all the other aromatic elements. But if you’ve ever detected an earthy scent in cannabis that reminds you of lemongrass, basil, bay laurel or—most distinctively—fresh mangoes, you’re probably sensing myrcene. While myrcene is only a single terpene, it’s the chemical precursor to many others, making it perhaps the single most important member of the terpene family.

myrcene in mangoes

As we hinted earlier, the myrcene content of a given cannabis plant is so important that it determines whether or not it will have an energizing, sativa-like effect or a sedative, indica-like effect. Let’s take a closer look at some of those effects and learn how this terpene interacts with our bodies.

What Does Myrcene Do For Us?

The fact that a cannabis plant’s myrcene content determines whether or not it's sedative is a powerful hint. Cannabis strains containing over o.5% myrcene content are believed to have broadly sedative effects, and this may aid in pain relief. Why? Well, in studies on rodents, myrcene has been shown to reduce the perception of pain by helping to stimulate opioid receptors. Studies on humans back this up, as does a wealth of anecdotal evidence. (Though we need more research into whether the myrcene in cannabis works in precisely the same way.)

myrcene in cannabis oil

Like many of the other terpenes we’ll be introducing you to, myrcene plays a role in reducing inflammation, as a 2015 study on osteoarthritis found. (Good reason to stock up on topicals, hint hint.)

How to Find it in Cannabis

Many cannabis strains are already naturally high in myrcene, so it’s not hard to come across. Here are a few of our current favorites.

myrcene in cannabis

Blue Dream is a popular and readily available strain, characterized by sweet berry aromas and gentle cerebral effects. Its high myrcene content provides anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities.

Grape Ape is, a dense, dank, high-THC indica. With a pronounced grape flavor from Mendocino Purps, the calming body high of a classic Afghani and the pungent scent of Skunk #1, this strain delivers a powerful and lasting full-body high.

OG Kush is a potent high-THC strain, and its piney, peppery and earthy aromas lead many fans to label it the ultimate “dank” weed. Its pleasurable effects include strong euphoria and general uplift, but be forewarned: It can exhibit powerful “couch lock”!

Want to stock up on your favorite myrcene-rich strains? Stop by Clear Choice in Bremerton or Tacoma today!