Terpene Tasting
September 30, 2021

Can you Predict the Medicinal Effects of Cannabis Strains by Aroma?

The sights and sound of the Midwest summer are behind us. Lightning bugs, monarchs, sunflowers, and thunderstorms give way to campfires, chilly nights, and hoodies. Time for some comfort foods like casseroles, soups, and chilis. And you know what all those dishes have in common? Flavor, aroma, and spice. And do you know what they’d all pair well with? A nice, fat joint.

And why not pair your food with complimentary cannabis strains? To do so, you need to learn the art of “interpening.” Max Montrose, president and founder of Trichome Institute, coined the phrase interpening by combining “interpret” and “terpene” to describe the process of using one’s senses to observe marijuana and interpret those observations.

Terpenes are a compound abundantly found in plants. Terpenes are used by plants to attract pollinators or deter predators. Because cannabis is a wind-pollinated plant, its terpenes serve to deter predators. Luckily for us, humans haven’t been deterred by that sweet, dank smell.

A molecule of a terpene like limonene is identical whether it is found in cannabis or oranges. That’s why common wisdom says that you can enhance the benefits of the entourage effect of terpenes by pairing strains with food. There may or may not be enough evidence to support that common wisdom, but it does enhance the flavor experience.

Terpenes and associated strains and food pairings

Think of yourself as a marijuana sommelier. A purveyor of the finer things in life. A sensorial genius who can pick out the notes of pine, clove, black pepper or cinnamon anytime you open your stash jar. You have the power to identify terpenes by smell and make food pairing for delicious combos. We’ll get you started with eight of the more common terpenes in cannabis, Flora Farms favorite strains with those terpenes, and suggested food or beverage pairings.

Myrcene

(MUR-seen)
About: One of the most common terpenes in cannabis, myrcene can taste spicy with sweet undertones.
Aroma: Musky, earthy, herbal, cloves
Strains: Grand Daddy Purple, OG Kush, Original Glue
Foods with myrcene: Mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops
Food/Beverage Idea: Tom Kha Soup

Caryophyllene

(carry-OFF-uh-leen)
About: The second most common terpene in cannabis. Caryophyllene binds to CB2 receptors. It is currently the only terpene known to interact with the endocannabinoid system.
Aroma: Spicy, musky, funky, diesel and black pepper
Strains: Biscotti, Death Star, Ethos Cookies
Foods with caryophyllene: Rosemary, Black Pepper, Clove, Cinnamon
Food/Beverage Idea: Spice cookies

Limonene

(LIM-o-neen)
About: Limonene is commonly used in everything from flavorings to household cleaners. Fresh mopped floors, anyone?
Aroma: Orange, lemon, pine
Strains: Cherry Gar-See-Ya, Do-Si-Dos, MAC
Foods with limonene: Lemon rind, orange rind, rosemary, juniper, peppermint
Food/Beverage Idea: Candied citrus peels

Pinene

(PIE-neen)
About: The most common terpene found in nature.
Aroma: Pine trees
Strains: Blue Dream, Cobalt Fire, Forbidden Zkittlez
Foods with pinene: Pine nuts, basil, dill
Food/Beverage Idea: Pesto pasta

Humulene

(HYOO-myu-leen)
About: Hops are often most associated with humulene, and hops are in the same family as cannabis: Cannabaceae.
Aroma: Woody and earthy
Strains: Lemon Berry Candy, Miss Cleo, Mint Chocolate Chip
Foods with humulene: Hops, sage, ginger, ginseng
Food/Beverage Idea: Beer bread or Chai

Terpinolene

(ter-PIN-uh-leen)
About: Sniffing out this less common terpene can be harder, in part because it comes in a rich mix of aromas.
Aroma: Fruity, pine, floral, herbal, hint of citrus
Strains: Durban Poison, Lilac Diesel, Miss Cleo
Foods with terpinolene: Apple, cumin, lilac, nutmeg
Food/Beverage Idea: Apple pie

Linalool

(LINN-uh-lool)
About: This pleasant, soothing terpene is used in 80 percent of scented hygiene products.
Aroma: Floral, lavender
Strains: Do-Si-Dos, Kosher Kush, Pineapple Chunk
Foods with linalool: Lavender, coriander, tomato
Food/Beverage Idea: Lavender-infused lemonade

Ocimene

(OH-sih-meen)
About: Ocimene deters pests like aphids, making it a very beneficial terpene for cannabis plants.
Aroma: Sweet, earthy, citrus hints
Strains: MOrockin’ Kush
Foods with ocimene: Hops, kumquat, mint, parsley
Food/Beverage Idea: Kumquat jam and charcuterie board

Do It Yourself

With our handy terpene reference and your nose, you have everything you need to start interpening for yourself. Sync your snack sesh to your smoke sesh. Tag us in your culinary canna-paired creations! @FloraFarmsMo on Instagram and Facebook.

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Authors: Emily Cross & Karla Deel