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Why terpenes in cannabis matter

What are they and what do they do?

When purchasing cannabis, one of the first things you will notice is the smell. This is an important factor when identifying the strain of cannabis - sativa, indica, or hybrid. But have you ever wondered why different strains of cannabis smell the way they do?

What gives different strains of cannabis their distinct smell is the same chemical compound that makes mangos smell like a mango, and mint smell minty. These natural compounds are known as terpenes, and are secreted from the flowers of the cannabis plant. It is commonly found throughout nature in almost all plants, and in much of what we eat. But terpenes don’t just affect the smell of the cannabis plant.

Even though terpenes found in cannabis are generally no different than the terpenes found in other plants, their complex chemical composition interacts with other natural compounds found in cannabis – such as cannabinoids. These unique interactions can affect your experience when consuming cannabis in what is known as the entourage effect.

The entourage effect is unique to cannabis. It is the primary reason for why many different strains of cannabis generate an equally diverse range of effects and exhibit unique medicinal properties. Hundreds of chemical compounds can complement each other and interact in ways that are exclusive to the cannabis plant. Emerald Health is currently conducting research to better understand how these interactions work and how they can be utilized to yield optimal results – whether for medicinal or adult use.

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