The chemical nature of cannabis is complex. The flower (bud) possesses many dozens, if not hundreds, of cannabinoids and hundreds, if not thousands, of terpenes and flavonoids. This chemical complexity manifests in a wide-variety of potential experiences with the plant.
The chemical makeup of the cannabis you smoke or vape affects not only the taste, but also your experience and potential medical benefits.
One of the major drivers of the human experience with cannabis are light, aromatic compounds called terpenes. They are naturally occurring in aromatic plants and herbs and play a profound role in the entourage effect of cannabis.
Take, for instance, myrcene, the most common terpene in cannabis. For most people it is highly sedative, described as the “couch-lock” terpene. It has medical benefits ranging from treating pain to supporting sleep.
Knowing whether or not a strain or cannabis product is myrcene-dominant is critical to understanding how it will affect you. To say, however, that high-myrcene strains are sedating is insufficient. Every person’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS) will respond differently to chemical compounds in cannabis like myrcene. If your body metabolizes myrcene very quickly, for instance, you may not experience its sedative effects. Furthermore, myrcene in combination with different terpenes like limonene or terpinolene may affect your body in different ways. And remember - cannabis has hundreds of different terpenes. Where are we to start?
A good understanding of the most-prominent terpenes in cannabis - say, the top eight - is a solid place to start. But listing the top eight terpenes on a box isn’t exactly useful to most consumers.
The company Cannabinder has produced an elegant solution to the challenging but critical question of how to convey terpene information on a cannabis product. The Cannastamp™ is a virtual representation of the prominent chemistry in a product, see below.
The Cannastamp’s outer-ring conveys terpene information while the inner-ring represents the THC:CBD ratio. The top eight terpenes of the strain/product are shown extending out in four tiers from near-zero to high “potency”. The term potency here has a different meaning than THC-potency - it is a comparison of the relative ratio of that terpene to an average of that terpene across all of cannabis.
Heylo has listed the top three terpenes on the box of every vape cartridge we have produced since we were founded. But reading the percentages of terpenes on a box can be a clunky experience. With the Cannastamp you can quickly picture what terpenes are in oil and compare two products side-by-side. If you had a great experience with a given terpene profile, look for a similar terpene profile in the next product you purchase.
One last thing - as part of Heylo’s commitment to education and transparency, we will continue to put all analytical information for our products on our website, along with additional terpene insights. If you’re ready to become a “weed scientist” check these out!