Let’s just say I’ve been occasionally smoking Cannabis for 15 years as a holistic mental/physical/spiritual maintenance routine, and no one ever taught me about terpenes or terpenoids until a month ago. Crazy. So you mean to tell me I can choose and steer my Cannabis experience by choosing which chemical compounds or terpenes I wish to have in my inhale? Yes. OK, weed connoisseurs, I’m late. Sad, I know. But thanks to California and all the canna gurus I’ve met along the way, I can now tell a friend that maybe asking for a limonene strain would be best if he intends to drive to San Francisco from L.A. at eight in the morning. Especially after three bagels with cream cheese.
As I’ve been on my journey to optimal happiness, I think of the many unnecessary times in which I could have possibly avoided a panic attack while too stoned and googling to find a way out of it. Up until this year, my knowledge of the blessed plant was pretty elementary.
I never attributed terps to that skunk-like scent that made me giggle with curiosity, or changed my mood around friends.
For me it was either sativa – the upper that helped me organize my closet by color and size while dancing disco – or indica, the chronic overthinker and meditation inspirer that made corner grocery store trips a two hour affair.
It turns out that it’s not just the THC or CBD count of 23% on the back of the pre-roll pack, or the vague description of indica or sativa. It’s way more – like myrcene and humulene to name a few. Excuse me, what?
If these terms are new to you, trust me, you’re not alone. If you go down the rabbit hole of YouTube you’ll see high grade meals like fresh ceviche prepared by the sea in Ibiza, with terpenes being the main ingredient.
Everyone in the videos seem incredibly happy, as if they discovered a well-kept secret. They love food. They love weed. And somehow they found the way to make them dance together in perfect synergy.
This science is the stuff you want to pay attention to when baking a batch of edible brownies in hopes that people reach nirvana.
Even though the house gets aromatic, I’ve been told it’s best to cover your batch with foil to keep the terpenes from evaporating, as well as identifying the proper temperatures for each. And your best healthy binding agent to keep the molecules intact? Coconut oil.
Cannabis has an endless and intricate chemical body and intellect – a complex array of what I like to call character traits.
I got to thinking about my whole experience with Cannabis or even the times when I thought I immensely enjoyed deep dish pizza while watching “That 70’s Show,” when really a nice limonene strain could have had me biking, rather than couch-locked at home from a carb coma.
Terpenes and terpenoids seem like the yin and yang of what creates the balance and wholeness we all look for in a robust and pleasurable high – with aromas and psychological qualities that when experimented with and understood – can create a perfect profile for each of our THC dreams. At the core, these compounds provide distinct characteristics such as myrcene, which is commonly found in lemongrass and has that sedative, almost analgesic effect that I really enjoy. Imagine if we all had a specific terpene profile and it meant more to society than our social security numbers? What if we ate by it and lived by it? Healed ourselves by it and made it part of our overall health and wellness makeup, unique to our own personal needs?
What if we went to dispensaries instead of pharmacies with an exact terpene prescription designed for us, by us, based on years of experience with a full understanding of what benefits they hold?
What if we knew exactly which would make us hype when we felt blue, or which would put us to bed when we were restless? Imagine.
Imagine it’s 2025 and your friends just invited you to dinner. It’s been a long day at work, in 114 degree Sacramento weather, so while you contemplate if you’ve got the energy to be social and sift through potentially clean clothes, you grab a zesty pop from your freezer doused in limonene to cool off and revive.
Your salivary glands dance in citrus and after the fourth A$AP Rocky track, you’re amped and tell Alexa to send an iMessage to your amigos confirming you’ll be there at seven in front of Shinrin-Yoku, your favorite Cannabis conscious fine dining destination on 16th & Broadway.
Certain your crush might also arrive, you chew on half a piece of Locomotion, a linalool infused chewing gum to ease the anxiety and head out. You stop to fill your 2023 Jeep Neo with ethanol at $3.00 a gallon and into your Apple Watch vocalize your customized terpene profile into the SynergyDining app. Given your height, weight, allergies, flavor, mood and chemical preference of the night, the team at Shinrin-Yoku are aware of just how to make sure you and your guests have the ultimate pleasurable and safe canna-culinary experience.
Upon arrival, your over zealous friends are greeted by a host that leads you through a botanical passageway towards the restaurant entry, with alpha and beta pinene misted pine and palm trees recreating Shinrin-Yoku, a Japanese term meaning quite literally, forest bathing.
While you lounge and await your table, you begin feeling the nostalgia of your family as memories of Yosemite perk up in your mind.
Even better, the pinene sends an alert to the cells of your digestive system and your enzymes are ready and activated to enjoy and digest a full meal.
When was the last time you had Blackberry Kush sparkling water before ordering a meal? Too long, so you do and it’s delicious. Not just to your tongue, but your mind and entire being, creating a sensory orchestra. You choose the sashimi salad off the menu with limonene infused Yuzu citrus dressing to keep that fresh energy going, since you’re not 23 anymore and want to at least keep up your social buzz until 10 p.m. Your friends order a platter of spicy black pepper smoked salmon rolls with b-caryophyllene or humulene steamed vegetable dumplings to combat the indigestion that may, or thankfully may not, come later.
Up next, some b-caryophyllene warm chai with cloves and anise to help relieve your friend’s hands from her chronic arthritis, followed by a myrcene infused vegan mango and coconut mochi for dessert, for that friend who can’t seem to get enough sleep in the evenings.
Intentional, mindful, medicinal eating.
You all smile, satiated, and head home for what you already expect to be the best slumber of your week. And while expectation can sometimes be a bore, for an uncertain world, sometimes it’s citrus yet sweet to know that you can control your mind and how you feel. Maybe this sounds far from reality, but I like to believe we can create our reality, and that with further knowledge of terpenes in Cannabis, and plant life overall, we can attain wholeness and use these tools to make a reality that we can not just survive or tolerate – but actually enjoy. Peace.