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The Intricacies of Smelling Cannabis

Smelling Cannabis

Contrary to popular belief, the true essence of cannabis quality transcends mere THC numbers – a bureaucratic formality mandated by the state for labeling.


In the pursuit of top quality cannabis, our noses become the best guides - interpreting a sensory labyrinth of terpenes and fresh organics. For those deeply connected to nature, the aromatic symphony of the forest, beach, or meadow may find echoes in the realm of cannabis plants. 


Beyond the regulatory checkboxes, this article ventures into the realms of how and why the act of smelling cannabis opens a gateway of information about its origin and quality. 


By smelling cannabis we can identify factors like whether the plant was grown indoors, outdoors, or with living soil. Our olfactory senses serve as a compass, guiding us through the intricate landscapes of experience, a notion well-practiced in fine dining establishments, cozy local joints, and any space dedicated to curating memorable encounters.


Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis and basically every other plant in nature. Terpenes contribute to the distinct flavors and aromas of different cannabis strains. Here are five prominent terpenes found in cannabis along with their characteristics:


1. Myrcene:

Characteristics: earthy, musky, and often associated with a relaxing "couch-lock" effect.

Effects: sedative, calming, and potentially enhances the overall psychoactive experience.


2. Limonene:

Characteristics: citrusy, lemony, and refreshing.

Effects: uplifting, mood-enhancing, and may have potential anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties.


3. Pinene:

Characteristics: piney, woody, and reminiscent of pine needles.

Effects: alertness, improved focus, and may have anti-inflammatory properties.


4. Caryophyllene:

Characteristics: spicy, peppery, and sometimes with hints of cloves.

Effects: known for its potential anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties; it also interacts with CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.


5. Linalool:

Characteristics: floral, lavender-like, and occasionally with a touch of spice.

Effects: calming, relaxing, and may have potential anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.


Cannabis strains often have a combination of various terpenes, contributing to their unique profiles and effects. Additionally, terpenes can interact with cannabinoids like THC and CBD, influencing the overall therapeutic and psychoactive effects of a particular cannabis strain.


Our hormonal orchestra, featuring dopamine, epinephrine, and an ensemble of other chemicals, dances to the tune of the smells surrounding us, conjuring feelings of longing and desire. The pursuit of the highest quality cannabis becomes an adventure that triggers dopamine spikes, transforming the quest for the perfect strain into an exhilarating journey in itself.


When we smell something we like, our body undergoes a fascinating cascade of physiological responses. The process involves our olfactory system, which is closely linked to our brain and various hormonal mechanisms. When we encounter a pleasant smell, odor molecules bind to olfactory receptors in our nose sending signals to the olfactory bulb, which is part of the brain's limbic system. The limbic system is associated with emotions, memories, and pleasure. The limbic system interprets the olfactory signals, triggering emotional and memory responses. This is why certain scents can evoke powerful emotions or memories. Pleasurable smells often stimulate the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, creating a positive feeling. Smelling something we like can also influence hormonal responses. For example, it may trigger the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Pleasant smells can lead to subtle physiological changes, such as a slightly increased heart rate and changes in breathing patterns. These responses are part of the overall sensory experience.


Exploring the physiology of our sense of smell unveils a sensory landscape where the search for excellent cannabis becomes as enjoyable as the moment of discovery. Our olfactory senses serve as discerning guides, enriching the quality of our experiences in the realm of taste and relaxation.

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