When it comes to strain selection, seasoned cannabis aficionados tend to be particular and deliberate in their choices, regardless of THC levels.
Many medical marijuana patients know that THC isn’t the only component required to produce the strongest effects, or even maintain a long-lasting, high-intensity buzz if that’s all you’re after.
Although THC remains a factor in the overall effects and high produced from your cannabis, a strain’s terpene profile is one of its most crucial components. Cannabis consumers looking to medicate and reap the plant’s benefits to the fullest should become familiar with the world of terpenes.
So what are terpenes? In a nutshell, terpenes are classified as non-psychoactive, organic chemical compounds that produce aroma and flavor in each strain, along with various medicinal benefits.
Terpenes play a key role in the treatment of various medical conditions and circumstances. If your bud is lab tested, it’s easy to find what terpenes are present and at what numerical levels, and which terpenes are most abundant. However, if you don’t have access to scientific testing (and let’s face it, many of us don’t), there are still DIY ways to determine the strain’s general makeup — from smell and taste, to knowing their genetics.
In the spirit of helping educate people who are looking to grow their own and medicate, I’ve outlined some conditions and concerns, along with strains and their specific terpene profiles that indicate continued success with the outcomes they provide. Each strain profiled includes lineage, terpene makeup and purpose of use.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
According to the Mayo Clinic, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression related to changes in seasons. SAD begins and ends at roughly the same times every year.
With the onset of cold, dreary weather throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere, even the simplest of tasks can feel impossible if you suffer from SAD as well as depression. Once the seasonal shift takes place, symptoms will often include a feeling of isolation, irritability, a tendency to oversleep, and a general lack of motivation to engage in physical or social activities.
The Terpene Limonene
Those looking to medicate for SAD, depression, or to combat decreased motivation should focus on choosing cannabis strains with a high level of the terpene limonene, which produces a noticeable lemon-citrus odor.
Aside from helping to tackle mood disorders, the presence of this terpene also provides plenty of other positive benefits.
In addition to playing an active role in mood elevation and stress relief, limonene has antifungal and antibacterial properties, as well as relief from gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn and gastric reflux that tend to arise with increased levels of stress. Limonene also carves a clear pathway for other terpenes by improving absorption through the skin, digestive tract, and mucous membranes.
Growing Ghost Train Haze
A sativa-dominant strain that’s typically high in limonene has quickly become a stable and dependable go-to for helping combat the winter blues. Packing a potent and distinctly unique odor, Ghost Train Haze gives off a scent comparable to fresh spring flowers, with pungent notes of lemon and pine.
Genetics: A cross between Ghost OG and Neville’s Wreck, find Ghost Train Haze at Rare Dankness Seeds.
Grows Climate: Temps from 68–80 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal for growing Ghost Train Haze. With the right climate, this strain will produce higher yields when grown outdoors. However, greenhouse grows can maximize potential and allow for a more controlled environment for climates that aren’t ideal to grow Ghost Train Haze fully outdoors.
Grow Time: Between seven and nine weeks. Heavier feeding and potassium nutrients through the flowering cycle will also produce higher yields.
Once harvested, trimmed and cured, the flower virtually dissolves SAD’s debilitating effects, which tend to be particularly strong in the first few hours of waking, and often hinder productivity in the days thereafter.
Once on the Ghost Train, mornings can became less of a chore and more like a fresh start. Days off became a chance to accomplish projects, tasks and responsibilities usually put off or avoided completely. And social interactions (whether casual or necessary) no longer seem as tiresome or daunting.
If you’re struggling with similar symptoms and decide to give Ghost Train a test ride, we recommend sparking a joint or vape with your morning coffee to approach the day with newfound confidence. Also, be sure to seek out a batch high in limonene for maximum effect.
PMS And Menstrual-Related Symptoms
For women who endure the disruption of their monthly hormonal changes, painful cramps, extreme nausea and intense mood swings are on the horizon with each menstrual cycle, and last for the better part of a week.
When gauging the best ways to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and its aftermath, becoming familiar with your body clock and catching signs early are of prime importance.
To treat uncomfortable symptoms brought on by PMS and monthly cycles, strains containing moderate to high levels of myrcene and caryophyllene can effectively reduce the intensity of symptoms and provide ongoing relief.
The Terpenes Myrcene And Caryophyllene
Myrcene is a prevalent terpene found within many strains, particularly indicas and indica-dominant hybrids. It boasts anti-inflammatory properties that enhance the efficacy of antibiotics, in addition to providing pain relief and sedative attributes.
Caryophyllene has been shown to provide similar effects to that of myrcene, while also providing relief from nausea and other digestive issues including inflamed colon and irritable bowel syndrome. In addition, caryophyllene works to combat depression and anxiety, which can be heightened dramatically during PMS and throughout the menstrual cycle.
When myrcene and caryophyllene are paired together, the terpenes form a perfect symmetry to combat sharp pains, cramping, bloating, nausea, and other hormonal deficiencies brought on by menstruation.
Growing Blueberry Cookies
Within a week leading up to a menstrual cycle, sufferers can endure bouts of depression in addition to extreme pain and nausea thereafter. The Blueberry Cookies strain has proven effective in treating the range of symptoms experienced each month by greatly reducing their intensity.
Blueberry Cookies has a smooth, sweet flavor, complemented by a scent of fresh fruit, dense bud structure, and light-blue or lavender hues.
Genetics: A cross between Girl Scout Cookies and Blueberry, purchase these seeds from Oaseeds.
Climate: Blueberry Cookies prefers moderate to warm climates. Due to the plant’s sensitivity and level of cultivation difficulty, it’s best grown indoors, where the climate can be somewhat controlled. Shocking the plants with cooler temps just before the flowering cycle can produce stronger blue and purple hues within the buds.
Grow Time: From 8–9 weeks. When growing indoors, bending and pruning early can increase the yield.
When it comes to combating cramps and menstrual issues, having Blueberry Cookies on hand is a must, and symptoms, which can handicap some women for several days, are likely to become more manageable. If you’re suffering similar issues and don’t have access to Blueberry Cookies, seek a strain high in myrcene and caryophyllene for maximum effect. As an added bonus, find one that also contains a moderate amount of limonene to further decrease depression and stress levels.
Creativity And Endurance Boosters
People use cannabis for a variety of reasons. Some use medical marijuana to alleviate symptoms of illness. Others toke and ingest to destress and lull themselves to a relaxed state or a deep sleep.
When it comes to creative pursuits like writing and conceiving art, or even exercising, a strain high in pinene and limonene will always do the trick.
For this energised state of mind, you want something that will relax you but not make you feel sleepy, and will allow your creative juices to flow unfettered.
Terpenes Pinene And Limonene
Cannabis strains high in limonene will produce an elevated, uplifted mood that is crucial for creative pursuits. In addition to limonene, cannabis abundant in pinene will produce similar effects. Pinene also acts as a stimulant, providing sharp, clear focus, memory retention, and noticeable boosts to energy levels.
Also, because of its abilities to cross the blood-brain barrier (which prevents materials in the blood from entering the brain), pinene can alter neurotransmitters to counteract psychoactive effects in strains with high THC levels. For some, this helps reduce the paranoia and cerebral haziness that at times can be brought on by potent levels of THC.
Growing Granola Funk
A new favorite, the hybrid Granola Funk should be in heavy rotation if you wish to enhance your creative endeavors. This relaxing strain is identified by its thick, chunky buds, sweet flavor, and strong, piney-citrus scent.
Genetics: A blend of Wookie #15 and Forum-Cut Girl Scout Cookies. Buy Granola Funk from Seedsman.
Climate: Granola Funk is best grown indoors due to photoperiod, which can be controlled more effectively when you’re able to regulate light exposure between vegetative and flowering cycles.
Grow Time: Between 12 and 16 weeks — longer if grown outdoors due to photoperiod. This strain in particular responds well to topping and super-cropping, which involves alterations to the plant’s structure and shape, producing greater yields indoors and allowing for more accessible light.
When ingesting cannabis for health and vitality, it’s crucial to keep tabs on pertinent changes to your overall wellness and state of mind during your experimentation process.
Maintain a strain journal to detail how much your consuming, variety, and types of terpenes present. Also, identifying what effects are produced with each strain can help narrow down what works best for your particular body chemistry.