Hey! Can I try that? The nose knows when it comes to medical cannabis

(Photo courtesy Pixabay)

The other day I posted in my medical cannabis group about exhaling smoke through the nose. I said I noticed that I got much higher that way. Or shall I say, I got a much better dose of the medicine I legally administer.

And that’s what it’s all about – feeling better.

One commenter quickly noted that it makes sense that you would feel some of the therapeutic effects more quickly that way. That’s because the nose contains mucous membranes that quickly absorb smoke, and the smoke contains the terpenes from the plant.

Pretty soon everyone was trying it, LOL, and posting the results online. Everyone agreed…it takes you higher. However, it also burns your nose a bit depending on the terpenes. Some smell like pepper. That’s not so pleasant blowing through your nose.

What are terpenes? Terpenes are those cool little molecular compounds that make the plant smell so darned good. All of the different terpenes convey different medicinal and psychoactive effects.

I learned from a story at ProjectCBD.org how terpenes were “discovered.” A couple of American expatriates formed a company in Holland that studied terpenes and infused marijuana plants with terpenes. They found that marijuana plants with half the THC of other plants became far more potent when infused with terpenes.

While a terpenes lesson is old hat for hardcore stoners and even most medical cannabis patients, all the old ladies following me on social media want to know! By God they are thinking about it for their arthritis.

Follow your nose…it always knows

Terpenes are found throughout nature. They convey an odor to flowers, vegetables and other plants.

Much like aromatherapy, ProjectCBD says “Follow your nose” when choosing which plant to puff. Do you like lavender? Then try lavender kush.

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I LOVE lavender like a cat likes catnip. My dispensary has some lavender kush right now but only in ounces. I can’t spare 300 bones right now so that is on the “next time” list.

Oh, the smells of cannabis terpenes. Lemon, pine, lime…they all do different things.

Plants that smell like pine contain Alpha-pinene, or essential pine oil. This terpene opens up the air passages and make it easier for asthmatics to breathe.

I absolutely love cannabis that smells like pine, and I have not bought any since obtaining my card. I need to do that. It has been many, many years since I ran across that strain.

Limonene, of course, smells like lemon and lime. It has been used on everything from gallstones to mood to heartburn, according to ProjectCBD, and even “has been shown to destroy breast-cancer cells in lab experiments.”

I have two strains of lemon right now – kush and tag. One is for day, one is for night. Both are solid and dependable.

Myrcene is a terpene that essentially puts you to sleep. It’s used for pain, stiff muscles, and insomnia.

All told, there are about 200 different terpenes. One of the joys of legal cannabis is that you know exactly what you’re getting terpene-wise when you spark up.

Terpene tutelage from Dr. Dustin Sulak of Maine

I first learned about terpenes while interviewing Maine osteopath Dr. Dustin Sulak for a Healthline News story. Dr. Sulak explained “the entourage effect” to me.

“Compounds in the plant, called terpenes, that give the flowers their aroma, are responsible for modifying the effects of the cannabinoids,” he said. “So, you can have two different strains, both with 10 percent THC and close to zero percent CBD, and one that smells like fruit might be sedating and a great treatment for insomnia, while the other that smells like pepper might be stimulating.”

As I went on to explain in my Healthline story, “This knowledge of how marijuana works and the effect of terpenes isn’t being put to use and studied, however, because the U.S. government only allows medical researchers to use pot grown at the University of Mississippi.”

Sulak also told me about “the entourage effect” of all of the medicinal properties of cannabis. That includes THC (the psychoactive ingredient most people think of in terms of getting ‘high,’ but in fact, it also prevents children from having seizures), CBD (not psychoactive and getting lots of media attention for its uses in treating people with PTSD and other conditions) and finally, the terpenes.

All plants are different and contain different levels and amounts of all three properties. Regardless of your medical condition, when it comes to choosing cannabis, there no doubt is a bud for you.

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