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The flavors and aromas of various cannabis strains are due to the wide range and ratios of terpenes contained within them. These cannabis compounds not only make some strains taste fruity and sweet and others skunky and earthy, but they work in combination with cannabinoids to provide and boost the effects as well. This complex and synergistic relationship is a phenomenon known as “the entourage effect,” and is the subject of ongoing research.
Terpenes are not unique to cannabis, although cannabis certainly maximizes the essence of many of them. Other plants contain terpenes as well. Many plants and fruit have robust terpene levels. It’s terpenes that make fresh-cut mangos and papayas smell so delicious, as well as the distinctive aroma of herbs like rosemary and basil. Terpenes are found throughout nature. Interestingly, in addition to their presence in various plants, they are also found in some insects.
Benefits of Pinene
The terpene pinene ranks as one of the most common terpenes found in marijuana flower. As its name suggests, pinene has a notable pine aroma. Like other terpenes, pinene is secreted in the trichomes of cannabis buds along with other terpenes and cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Pinene is also found in various conifer trees, orange peel, dill, rosemary, sage, and parsley.
Like research relating to other terpenes, research relating to pinene is ongoing, but there are indications that pinene may provide a host of benefits for those who consume it.
Among its potential medical applications are the treatment of anxiety, asthma, and pain, and it may even be useful in the treatment of cancer. The effects of pinene when smoked or vaped include alertness and improved short- and long-term memory.
Pinene is able to cross the blood/brain barrier and once in the brain is thought to affect neurotransmitters in a way that boosts memory. Although a partial understanding of how pinene specifically impacts memory has been relatively recent, the ability of pinene to provide mental clarity and improved memory has been recognized by various cultures for thousands of years.
Also, like CBD, pinene is thought to counteract the effects of THC. Research also indicates that it may be effective as a bronchodilator and in the treatment of inflammation. Pinene is an antioxidant and has antibacterial properties as well.
Pinene in Cannabis
A wide range of cannabis strains contain this terpene. Although pinene’s effects suggest it may be more prevalent in sativa strains, this terpene is prominent in the terpene profiles of some powerful indica strains as well as sativa.
Regardless of whether strains containing pinene lean to the sativa or indica side of their genetic backgrounds, they tend to be strains that result in a significant level of mental clarity, regardless of whether or not they have relaxing qualities.
Some strains that contain pinene also contain myrcene—another terpene—which deliver deeply relaxing effects. Bubba Kush, an extremely popular strain, is a perfect example of this. Regardless of Bubba Kush’s deeply relaxing qualities and uses in fighting insomnia, it also allows a certain level of mental clarity, largely thanks to its pinene content.
Cannabis Strains Containing Pinene
A large number of extremely popular cannabis strains are known for their notable pinene content. Unlike the Bubba Kush strain just mentioned, some of these strains deliver strong sativa effects. The following strains contain high levels of pinene in their compound profiles. Their range of effects and unique aromas and flavors define their terpene combinations and make them notable. Indeed, all of these strains are standards in the industry and most of them have been found in the jars of consumers for decades.
- Jack Herer. This strain is one of the flagship strains of Sensi Seeds, a Dutch Seed Bank with a long history of creating notable strains. The strain was named to honor a cannabis activist with the same name who was also known for his preference for sativa strains. Although Jack Herer is technically a hybrid, it definitely has sativa effects. There are several phenotypes, and some prefer the ones with subtle fruit flavor as well as the pine notes.
- Strawberry Cough. This delicious strawberry-flavored strain may not have the pine aroma of pinene, but this terpene is present regardless. Strawberry Cough made quite a splash when it first hit the cannabis space, and for good reasons. Grown properly, it packs a potent wallop of THC with a smooth, sweet flavor that is similar to strawberries and cream. It’s a hybrid that’s known for its happy and upbeat sativa effects.
- Chemdawg. Another potent strain, Chemdawg usually has THC percentages in the mid-20s range. The genetics of Chemdawg are unknown, but has served as a cornerstone strains to create a range of other iconic strains. The pungent, diesel flavor of Chemdawg makes it notable and distinct. The effects are balanced, but what begins as a soaring sativa effect gradually settles into a relaxing body high.
- Blue Dream. A strain known for its immense popularity, Blue Dream definitely ranks among the most popular strains found in dispensaries. In fact, there have been polls indicating that it’s the most popular strain on the West Coast and other regions like Colorado. Clearly, there are valid reason for its popularity, most notably, a pleasing sativa-dominant effect and wonderful terpene experience that’s rich in pinene. Blue Dream was created on the West Coast and Blueberry is part of its genetic background.
- OG Kush. This strain most likely needs no introduction because it ruled the Southern California cannabis scene when it first hit the scene there. OG Kush’s impact on the cannabis world has been profound, with many high-quality “kush strains” resulting from it being crossed with other stains. Known for being a somewhat difficult strain to grow, yield is not high. OG Kush ranks among the tastiest strains on the market, and its earthy pine notes hint at the robust pinene levels present.
- Trainwreck. This potent sativa-dominant strain is a favorite of many outdoor growers on the West Coast. Trainwreck grows to a large size outdoors with a good yield and excellent flavor. The citrusy pine notes and earthy spiciness are a giveaway to the high concentrations of pinene present. Trainwreck is a favorite among medical cannabis consumers because of its effectiveness on a wide range of conditions.
- Island Sweet Skunk. A Canadian classic from Vancouver Island, Island Sweet Skunk is aptly named for its rich terpene content and flavors of skunk and sweet tropical fruit. Although you may not suspect much pinene present, it’s found in decent amounts in this strain. Island Sweet Skunk has a range of mostly sativa effects, although it eventually transitions into a balanced, relaxing euphoria that allows relaxation and rest.
- Romulan. A potent indica strain, Romulan is a favorite strain in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. Although it’s a strong indica, Romulan’s pinene content provides a strong level of cerebral clarity. It has long been known for its effective treatment of a range of physical and mental conditions like anxiety and muscle spasms. Sweet, earthy pine are the predominant flavors, which are an indication of its rich pinene levels.
Pinene is a beneficial terpene found in a range of cannabis strains, including a number of industry classics. Known as an effective treatment for anxiety, asthma, and pain, many strains containing pinene are popular for medical use as well as recreational party accoutrements.
The various terpenes found in cannabis are part of what makes them interesting and appealing, and pinene ranks as one of the most prevalent and important.
Gavin is a worldly adventurer and cannabis connoisseur, embarking on journeys that take him to the far corners of the globe to explore and document the varied effects, flavors, and histories of both renowned and lesser-known strains. From the misty high-altitude farms of the Hindu Kush highlands to the vibrant cannabis cafes of Amsterdam, Gavin's quest for knowledge spans continents. A recognized authority in the cannabis industry, he frequently lends his expertise to leading publications such as Cannabis Training University, where his captivating blog articles chronicle his unique experiences with different cannabis strains.