Terpenes are the natural compounds that are responsible for the flavors, smells, and colors that are found in every plant on earth, including, of course, cannabis. What you’re sensing in fruits, meals, flowers, and even cleaning materials are terpenes. Let’s use soup as an example. Some soups can be delicate with an herbal smell, while others can smell rich and meaty – it all depends on the terpenes.
Essentially, terpenes are aromatic metabolites that can be found in the oils of all plants. There are more than 20,000 terpenes, and at least 100 of them are produced by the cannabis plant. The production of terpenoids evolved over time in some plants to act as defense compounds and to attract pollinators.
Glandular trichomes – which are glands that look like small hairs that protrude from the leaves and flowers – are produced by female cannabis plants. The trichomes form a home for crucial cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. If the plants are handled delicately and the trichomes are left intact throughout collection and processing, the end result is excellent cannabis that has strong and distinct smells, flavors, and colors.
The production of terpenes is largely dependant on abiotic factors such as humidity, light intensity, and temperature; these factors are synthesized in response to a variety of influences. This is the reason that cannabis producers put a lot of emphasis on the standardization of growing conditions for their strains.
Some of the latest studies have found that the terpenes found in cannabis don’t only affect how a strain will taste and smell, but more importantly they may determine what they do on a chemical level. In fact, terpenes are known to have a unique effect on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), since each type may deliver a different sensory experience