My mom used to throw uppity wine parties when I was a child. She’d sit around with her friends and they’d spend more time sniffing their wine than drinking it, swirling it around in their oversized tasting glasses while they wore on their faces the serious expression of a wannabe connoisseur. They’d stick out their pinky fingers and raise their glasses, and then spout all sorts of pompous nonsense like “oh my, this one has a delightful tobacco finish,” or, “the nose on this one is reminiscent of figs on a warm summer’s day.” I’d stand against the wall shaking my head, doing everything I could to stop myself from shouting “it’s just alcoholic grape juice, you idiots!”

But then I got older and realized that there really is a marked difference between the white zinfandel sold in gas station coolers and the stuff sold in boutiques with labels inked entirely in French. Now I can appreciate the tannins and sulfites, or the lack thereof, and I don’t mind paying extra for the good stuff because that’s what life is about. And there’re plenty of parallels to be drawn between wine tasting and pot smoking because the taste matters—as it turns out, if you pay attention to the smell and flavor of your favorite flower, you can figure out exactly which type of high you can expect.

Distilled down to its essence, marijuana is a substance that we smoke to feel good and it’s possible to be too supercilious, saying all sorts of weird words like decarboxylation or cannabinoids just to sound smart, and I promise I won’t do that right now; the information I’m about to share with you is real, and we’re just now starting to understand it. Eventually, marijuana will be marketed by the specific effects each strain provides after the scientists figure it out definitively, but for now, a good deal of this is iffy around the edges. So, it goes without saying that the effects and smells listed below are subjective. Here we go…

“Terpenes” are hydrocarbons. They’re found in almost all green, leafy plants, and they serve as natural protection against mold and bugs and whatever else plants are afraid of. They’re the fancy little chemicals that make pot smell and taste the way it does, and they work in concert with other cannabinoids like THC and CBD to make you feel good when you smoke marijuana—the THC gets you high, but the terpenes effect how that high feels. Know what I mean? If THC is He-Man, a muscle-bound do-gooder who always saves the day, then the terpenes are Battle Cat, an unsung hero who helps the hero do what he needs to do. And each terpene does something different, something you can intentionally look for in your pot by taste and smell. Again, what follows is subjective, so you’ll need to fiddle around with this a little on your own to get the most out of this:

  1. Pinene. This one is easy to remember because it smells like a pine tree, just like the name suggests. It might help with asthma relief or memory problems or inflammation.
  2. B-Caryophyllene. This is a hard one to pronounce (and my spell-check hates it), but it smells like cloves or pepper, and it might help with digestive problems like ulcers or an upset stomach.
  3. d-Limonene. This is another easy one because it smells like lemons, and it might help with immune system problems.
  4. Terpinolene. This one will smell like flowers, and it’s an antioxidant with antibacterial effects and mood enhancement possibilities.
  5. Linalool. This one will smell sweet and fruity, and it might help you with pain or anxiety of depression.
  6. B-Ocimene. This one will smell like a woody orchard (I promise that’s as poetic as I’ll get) and research suggests it might be antifungal/antiviral.
  7. B-Myrcene. This is the dank stuff, the musky perfection that permeates my favorite Indica strains, and it might bring with it relaxation and pain relief and respite from insomnia.

And there you have it; I’m sure you’ve already figured out how this list might help you: if you’re having stomach problems that you’d like to try to treat with marijuana, come into our store and walk up to the counter. Grab one of our sample jars and unscrew the lid, and smell one of our strains—look for something that smells like cloves or pepper and see if the B-Caryophyllene terpene does something for your belly. Or, if you’re in a bad mood, sniff around our samples looking for something that smells like flowers to cheer you up, buttercup. And so on and so forth. Let you nose be your guide, just like Toucan Sam used to tell us in his Fruit Loop commercials, and see where it leads you—it might bring you the relief you’ve been looking for. At the end of the day, that’s what matters, and that’s why we’ve decided to put this out there for you, because we’re your Best Buds.

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