PITTSFIELD — Most people are familiar with THC and CBD, two of the most popular cannabinoids but many are unaware that there are over 100 other cannabinoids.
The terpene profile is likewise overlooked and is arguably more important when it comes to the distinct effect one cultivar has compared to another. Truly understanding the effects of cannabis requires the realization that cannabinoids and terpenes work synergistically together.
Terpenes are a class of naturally-occurring hydrocarbons chemicals that can be found in many different types of plants. They are especially common in conifers, citrus plants, and certain types of flowers, giving these plants their rich scents their distinct aroma. They’re also the main ingredient in essential oils and have been used in other traditional medicines for hundreds of years. Cannabis in particular has a high and diverse concentration of terpenes.
A cannabis product’s terpene profile affects its taste and is a major factor in a strain’s enjoyability and effect. Their impact goes beyond simple flavor, though. Depending on the terpene, they can contribute to the effects or feel that the product may provide, potentially such as lowered anxiety or an elevated mood. Some evidence suggests that certain terpenes can also have medical benefits, such as anti-inflammatory or antioxidant properties.
Terpenes work alongside a cannabis product’s cannabinoid profile to impact the effects it produces.
“We’ve found that the terpene profile itself has more to do with the effect of the product than the level of cannabinoids,” said Matthew Culkin, senior director of production at Berkshire Roots. “The savvy customer is not only concerned with the cannabinoid profile but the individual terpenes they’ve come to enjoy.”
Culkin went on to describe how cannabinoids and terpenes work together.
“While cannabinoids are what causes the psychoactive effect, they behave very similarly from cultivar to cultivar, so you’re not really going to get a very distinct effect from the cannabinoids specifically themselves,” says Culkin.
“The secret sauce that makes a cultivar spectacular and unique is its terpene profile.”
He also explained that a cultivar’s specific combination of cannabinoids and terpenes works together to create what’s known as an “ensemble effect,” which he defined as “the synergistic effect of the terpenes, cannabinoids, and other compounds in the plant working together.”
In other words, the ensemble effect of a particular cultivar, or collection of similar plants, depends on how all the compounds in it work together. A product can have an average cannabinoid profile but still produce a powerful effect because of the terpene profile.
The specific effects of terpenes vary depending on the concentration of the terpene and the person using it. The following are some of the most common types of terpenes found in cannabis and the type of effect they might have.
Scent: citrusy, found in lemon or orange
Potential effects: elevated mood, stress relief
Scent: sharp and pine-like found in pine trees, cedar, conifer trees, dill and basil
Potential effects: alertness, memory retention
Scent: floral, found in lavender, cinnamon, rosewood and mint
Potential effects: stress relief and sedation
Scent: herbal citrusy, found in lemongrass, hops and mango
Potential effects: stress relief; can enhance THC’s effects
Scent: woody with mild spice, found in clove, black pepper
Potential effects: none
Scent: woody and herbal, what gives beer that hoppy aroma, found in sage and ginseng
Potential effects: appetite suppressant
Companies like Berkshire Roots are taking these effects into account when serving patients and customers. Berkshire Roots labels cultivars with their terpene profiles so customers can learn what types of terpenes they like and shop accordingly.
Culkin also spoke of how Berkshire Roots is creating new products based in part on terpene-derived effects.
“We’re striving to create a lot of effects-based products, and terpenes are a main component of this. Due to their distinct characteristics, they can be added to products to enhance a certain effect … an example is our Calm and Uplift Tinctures. We incorporate terpenes that are associated with relaxation into the Calm formula and terps that have an uplifting or energizing effect to our Uplift Tincture. The same is true for our vape cartridges and also ensemble oil.”
To better craft these products, Berkshire Roots has recently opened a new extraction lab. The company hopes that with this state-of-the-art lab, it’ll be able to take advantage of processes that preserve terpenes to make higher-quality concentrates. This includes creating concentrates extracted with hydrocarbons instead of ethanol, isolating cannabis-derived terpenes for use in products like vape cartridges and extracting concentrates from plants that were frozen immediately upon harvest to preserve the freshness of their flavor profile. Berkshire Roots will also soon be rolling out solvent-free products.
“In our opinion, the best way to take care of our customers is to produce a quality product that is easy to use and has the effects they’re looking for,” Culkin said. “One of the ways that we do this is by paying special attention to the terpenes.”
Berkshire Roots is an award-winning Massachusetts cannabis cultivation and dispensary, growing craft-grown cannabis in Berkshire County, the highest elevation in the state.
With a commitment to product innovation, staff education and customer service, the Berkshire Roots experience and vibe keep you coming back to this cannabis destination. Berkshire Roots also takes pride on its continued commitment to community, diversity and inclusion through internal programs, monthly activities and using its voice to end racial injustice
Visit the highly educated team at retail locations in Pittsfield or East Boston. Chat online with a customer care team member or set up a free private virtual consultation to get your cannabis questions answered, at BerkshireRoots.com.
PLEASE CONSUME RESPONSIBLY. This product may cause impairment and may be habit forming. For use only by adults 21 years of age or older. Keep out of the reach of children. This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment.