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Ed Rosenthal makes a quick and sagacious analysis of the importance of terpenes in cannabis genetics and how it influences the distinction between Indica and Sativa!

Original Publication from Ed Rosenthal

Terpenes are the cornerstone of our new understanding where the respective effects of distinct cultivars/strains are concerned

Not long ago the primary tool for selecting an appropriate product for treating a given condition or achieving a particular sensation was a crude taxonomy that separated strains into two columns; indica and sativa.

In reality, the distinction of Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica is all about the physical characteristics of the plant. But none of those physical characteristics have any actual bearing on the chemical impacts of the plant — that all boils down to terpenes & cannabinoids. Additionally, there are very few genetically “pure” indicas or sativas, given the extensive crossbreeding involved in contemporary cannabis cultivation, further complicating the attribution of indica or sativa “effects.”

What really determines the impacts of a given variety is how the cannabinoid concentration and ratio interplays with the terpene profile, and here we do find some loose correlation between certain terpene profiles associated with indica and sativa effects and actual indica or sativa genetic dominance: Our working hypothesis is that the high levels of myrcene found in many indica strains likely contributes to that suite of effects, and that likewise high levels of limonene, a-pinene and betacarophylene found in sativa dominant strains may account for those famous sativa effects.

It isn’t difficult to find evidence of this; think of a strain that’s considered especially stimulating. You probably thought of something like Trainwreck, Sour Diesel, Tangie, Durban Poison, maybe even Red Congolese.

Add a few more of your favorites to that list — see any pattern emerging?

Chances are you’re seeing certain terpenes repeated across most of those varieties, namely limonene and pinene. This may be another example of “anecdotal data,” but when you start exploring the terpene profiles of strains with similar effects you do often find striking similarities.

Girls in Green Considerations

Today, when thinking about cannabis worldwide, it is important to consider the starting point of disinformation. Prohibition has led to the criminalization and misinformation about marijuana in all countries of the world. With the anti-prohibitionist movement, the empirical experiences of users and patients and, more recently, science, it has been possible to demystify the myths that have been created around the plant.

Understanding how the interaction between cannabinoids and terpenes works will help us understand how cannabis works in the human body and how each new combination, resulting from a new strain, will work for each person!

Really, terpenes are the revolution!

Want to know more? Be sure to check out our full post on terpenes!