It’s no secret that smoking cannabis can make you cough. But what many people don’t know is that the compounds responsible for this are terpenes.
Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, including cannabis.
And while they may not be as well known as cannabinoids like THC and CBD, they play a big role in the effects of cannabis.
In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at terpenes, their effect on coughing, and how they contribute to the overall experience of smoking cannabis.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are a type of organic compound that is produced by a variety of plants, including cannabis. They are responsible for the distinctive smell and flavor of many plants, and they play a big role in the effects of cannabis.
There are over 100 different terpenes that have been identified in cannabis, each with its own unique properties.
Some common examples of cannabis terpenes include myrcene, limonene, and pinene.
How Do Terpenes Make You Cough?
The main way that terpenes make you cough is by irritating the lining of the throat and lungs. When inhaled, they can cause a burning sensation that leads to coughing.
The exact mechanism by which they do this is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to their volatile nature.
Volatile compounds are those that easily evaporate at room temperature, and they are known to irritate when inhaled.
Are All Terpenes Irritating?
Not all terpenes are irritating, and some actually have the opposite effect. For example, linalool is a terpene that is known for its calming and relaxing properties.
It’s thought to work by reducing inflammation in the lungs, which can lead to less coughing.
Other examples of non-irritating terpenes include pinene and myrcene.
What Are the Benefits of Smoking Cannabis With Terpenes?
Smoking cannabis with terpenes has a number of potential benefits.
First, terpenes can enhance the effects of cannabinoids like THC and CBD. This is because they interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system in a process known as the entourage effect.
The entourage effect is a phenomenon whereby the different compounds in cannabis work together to produce a greater effect than they would have if they were used alone.
So, for example, the presence of myrcene might make the effects of THC more pronounced.
Secondly, terpenes can also affect the flavor and smell of cannabis. This is why some strains are known for their distinct flavors, like lemon or pine.
And finally, terpenes can also contribute to the overall experience of smoking cannabis. For example, pinene is known for its energizing and uplifting properties, while myrcene is known for its relaxing effects.
How Do I Know if a Strain Has Terpenes?
If you’re interested in trying a strain with specific terpenes, the best way to find out is to ask your dispensary.
Many dispensaries now list the predominate terpenes in each strain, so you can make an informed decision about which one to try.
You can also buy cannabis strains that have been specifically bred to contain high levels of certain terpenes.
For example, the strain Super Lemon Haze is known for its high limonene content, which gives it a strong lemon flavor.
The Bottom Line
Terpenes are a big part of the cannabis experience, and they can have a significant impact on the effects of smoking.
If you’re interested in trying a specific strain, or if you want to enhance the flavor and smell of your cannabis, look for strains with high levels of terpenes.
And if you’re looking to avoid coughing, try strains with non-irritating terpenes like linalool or myrcene.