While many cannabis users tend to focus primarily on the cannabis strain (whether is it an Indica and Sativa) and the cannabinoid ratio (THC and CBD), more focus in finally being put on the terpenes within cannabis.
Terpenes are what give the flower its distinct aroma. Notes of citrus, musk and floral scents are all indicative of what terpenes are within the cannabis strain. Each terpene has its own unique profile and we are now learning that it also plays a pivotal role in the effects of cannabis. Research is finding that terpenes can modulate the effect of how THC and other cannabinoid work and can actually exhibit medicinal properties independent from the cannabinoids altogether.
Just like aromatherapy, the aromatic compounds of lavender (or linalool) tend to produce sedating and relaxing effects, while citrus scents like lemon (aka limonene) tend to be more energizing and elevating. So, it makes sense that inhaling/ingesting these specific terpenes will produce their own unique effects.
The terpenes within cannabis are secreted by the plants trichomes; the tiny mushroom-shaped hairs on cannabis. Here are some of the most common terpenes:
So, while Indica and Sativa leaning strains are usually sought after for either daytime or evening use, it might be beneficial to start looking into terpene profiles as well. Strains high in myrcene and linalool can be great for evening use (as they are more sedating), while limonene and pinene can help with alertness and energy during the day time.
So, when in doubt, use your nose! The complexities and effects of the cannabis terpenes and how they contribute to a strain’s influence (a phenomenon known as the entourage effect) is just another reason as to why whole plant medicine is the way to go.