Nico’s Nuggets: Cutting Edge Highs—Cannabinoids vs. Terpenes


Resin glands contain most of the plant's cannabinoids.

Resin glands contain most of the plant's cannabinoids.

Hey Nico,
Thanks for the years of great strain and grow information! We are huge fans of yours out here in middle-America (incidentally, sorry about Trump! That’s on us.) We want to know, in this modern era of legal cannabis, what’s next? We all know about THC and CBD, but what are the latest findings about cannabinoids and terpenes? Anything new to report or good reference sites to check out? As always, many thanks and much appreciation.
— G-Man from The Great Plains Cannabis Crew

Wow, I’m not really sure where to start with this one.

First, many thanks for the kind words, G. Second, apology accepted for Trump; I doubt anyone that smokes cannabis actually voted for him. Third, how cool that you guys have a grow crew out there in the Bible Belt—love it. And lastly, what a great question!

Currently, there are more than 100 known cannabinoids that exist in cannabis. You are right that most people these days know about THC and CBD. We know about their acid forms as well, such as THC-A or CBD-A, which is the natural state of cannabinoids before being decarboxylated (by heat) during the smoking process. Most people even know about CBG-A, which is the precursor to most of the other cannabinoids. And, of course, nowadays many people are on the “terp train,” identifying which terpenes produce their favorite flavors and aromas in bud and aid in creating the subtle effects of each strain’s high.

Lately, one of the more intriguing pieces of cannabinoid research hoovers around THCV. THCV is more psychoactive and more energetic than THC, however, its high is much more short lived. In limited research, THCV has been found to reduce anxiety, stress and panic attacks, making it an effective treatment in PTSD. Additionally, it is known to alleviate tremors and aid in motor control skills, making it a possible treatment for MS and Parkinson’s Disease.

On the other hand, THCV might be a suppressant of THC and is known to be a strong appetite suppressant as well, which may not bode well for patients who need to stimulate appetite.

On the terpenoid side, much has been discussed regarding the “entourage effect” and how terpenes and their various combinations amongst themselves (and with cannabinoids) affect the stone or high of a particular strain. (Note: Terpenoids differ from terpenes insofar as they are terpenes that have oxidized, either with an added oxygen atom attached, or a methyl group removed. Terpenes are generally considered to be a part of a plant, whereas terpenoids have been extracted.)

nico-chart

Terpenes that are most common in cannabis, such as myrcene, limonene, pinene, humulene and terpinolene, all have their own sets of medicinal values, have been used by humans for centuries and are easily derived from many other plants as well as cannabis. The various combinations when added together, and in conjunction with cannabinoids, can produce feelings of euphoria, energy, relaxation and hunger.

Myrcene is perhaps the most interesting of terpenes, also being found in large quantities in mangos and hops, lending that very sedative feeling to hoppy beers. Myrcene is found in both indica and sativa varieties, but more so in sativas, which has caused added controversy in the nomenclature of the cannabis sub-species. How could such high levels of myrcene, a known sedative, be found in sativa plants, known for a more energetic, uplifting high? As research continues, more answers will come.

In the meantime, for more info on THCV and related cannabinoids, check out the website of our good friends at Steep Hill Labs in Berkeley, California HERE.

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!

Follow Nico on Social Media: @Nico_Escondido (Twitter) & @Nico_High_Times (Instagram)

Got questions? Email ‘em over to Nico at NicosNuggets@hightimes.com and be sure to put “Nico’s Nuggets” in the subject line! (Tip: Before sending a question, try the new Search feature on the HIGH TIMES website. Simply click the “magnifier” icon at the top right and type “Nico + your subject topic” to see if your question has already been answered!)

Don’t miss the previous Nico’s Nuggets: How to Compare Cannabis Grow Lights

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