Article by Mike “DJ” Pizzo, Medium
Picture this. You are preparing an elegant dinner for yourself and your significant other. You head into a liquor store looking for the perfect alcoholic beverage to compliment the flavors of your meal. Do you walk up to the counter and ask the shopkeeper for the bottle with the highest alcohol percentage? Most likely not, as Everclear doesn’t really have the most appetizing taste.
But with the advent of state legal marijuana, many dispensaries in the United States report that medical patients or recreational users tend to do just that when selecting their strains. “Which one has the highest THC content,” is a question often heard by the ears of budtenders, suggesting that anything with a lower count isn’t worth their dollar. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, what is the reason that sometimes one drinks a beer, another time one enjoys a glass of wine, and yet another night one savors a smooth whiskey on the rocks?
The problem with selecting cannabis strains based solely on the THC content is much like stomaching the worst swill at the bar just because it has a high alcoholic percentage. By doing this, the consumer is robbing themselves of not only the rich scents and flavors of the strain, but also missing out on the beneficial effects that can be delivered through a strain’s specific terpene profile.
Terpenes are essential oils that determine all of these factors and make each strain unique. Together with the cannabinoid content — compounds such THC or CBD — we get what’s often referred to as an “entourage effect,” which ultimately has the final say in what kind of benefits you can receive from a particular strain. In fact, it has almost gotten to the point where one can zero in on what exactly they would like a strain to do for them, and by studying the effects of the individual terpenes, with a little trial-and-error, they can find the perfect strain to suit their needs.
But because of the limited scientific research done inside the United States on marijuana, many of these discoveries have been made “in the field” by the underground cannabis users.
“It’s almost as if the rest of the scientific community is in the present, but as far as marijuana is concerned, we are sitting at the forefront of the scientific revolution,” says Adam Laikin, Director of Marketing for Tryke companies.
Darin Carpenter, Director of Cultivation at Tryke, feels passionately about the science of terpenes. We spoke to him to get a better idea about the fascinating discoveries happening in this space.