So, What are Terpenes anyway?

So, What are Terpenes anyway?

“Why is this Sweet Crude chick constantly talking about terpenes?” you might be asking yourself. Let me tell you how I first came to learn this weird word “terpene”, which you pronounce turp-EEN, and why once I learned it, I immediately needed them in my life.  

In 2016, I was in Denver visiting my friend Matt. It was my first time in a dispensary, and let’s just say…I did not think I would be their target customer. But, I learned a ton from the budtender at that dispensary. He let me smell seven or eight jars of cannabis flower, and I was enamored by how each strain was so different from one another, some like bright citrus, some super pine-y like you’re walking through a forest, others smacking you in the face with their diesel-y scent. Now, if you know me, you know I LOVE a good tasting, from caviar to chocolate to potato chips. I love all tastings. This sensory experience at the dispensary was speaking my love language. And, that was the beginning of this journey I’m on to learn everything I can about terpenes, and here’s a quick primer on what I think you should know about them.

Oh on that same trip, I learned that a gummy could leave me staring off into a fire pit for god-only-knows how many hours searching for life’s answers. Anybody else been there?

Terpene Science 101 

Terpenes are the compounds responsible for a plant’s aroma. Simple as that. When we smell a plant’s fruit, leaves, or sap, terpenes are the horsepower behind those fragrances. They’re present for a reason, typically as a defense mechanism to deter predators. There are over 50,000 unique terpenes found in nature, and over a hundred terpenes can be found in a single hemp plant. 

Mind-Body Connection & Terpenes

The mind has so much power over the body. Stress can have debilitating effects, resulting in muscle tension, migraines, illness, etc… On the flip side, our mind can release stress, especially when we invite terpenes to the party. For example, linalool, also found in lavender, can increase parasympathetic nerve activity, which washes calm over your body. Other terpenes can bring on creativity, energy, and euphoria.

Terpenes in Cocktails

While we see adaptogens appearing in a lot of functional beverages to promote stress relief, we know that things like ashwagandha work best when incorporated into a daily regimen consistently. On the other hand, terpenes have a more immediate benefit, which makes them perfect for a non-alcoholic cocktail. When we seek out a zero-proof beverage alternative, we still want to enjoy the sensory experience of sipping on that drink, like a traditional cocktail, and terpenes help tap into that emotional part of the sipping experience. Terpenes like Limonene, which you might know from the zest of a lemon, can provide that lift of euphoric energy you might want in a social setting (you’ll find it in our Mellow Mule), while Pinene can awake a cerebral introspection when you need to get your creative juices flowing (a ton of it in our Juniper OG Tonic).

I can’t wait to share more about terpenes with you, how they impact your mood, all the research I’m reading about them, and why else I think they are so darn cool.

Talia is the founder of Sweet Crude, and the self-proclaimed "Terpene Queen".

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