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Cannabis Strains With Rare & Unusual Terpene Profiles

September 26, 2018

Terpene talk is everywhere these days! You can hardly discuss cannabis without someone undoubtedly mentioning the importance of these aromatic compounds responsible for the range of flavors and fragrances found in cannabis. More importantly is their ability to modulate the experience that each strain provides by augmenting the absorption of cannabinoids and our perception of their effects.

According to Leafly data, cannabis strains tend to be dominant in terpenes like myrcene, pinene, limonene, or caryophyllene. As such, we tend to find similar aromas and experiences time and time again with limited variation. But anomalies exist, and they’re worth seeking out—if not for the special flavors, then for the unique effects.

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Your Favorite Cannabis Strains and Their Main Terpenes

Let’s look at  a few examples of rare and unconventional terpene profiles expressed by Dutch Treat, Ace of Spades, and Tickle Kush.

Dutch Treat

Rare weed strain terpene profiles: Dutch treat

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If you’ve ever sparked a bowl of Dutch Treat then you’re already familiar with its unique flavor profile. Much of its distinctive pine aroma and compelling sweet flavor is attributed to the abundance of terpinolene.

Of cannabis’ eight most common terpenes, terpinolene is considered the the least common. Terpinolene is typically seen as a secondary or tertiary terpene that occurs in lower concentrations in most strains.

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What is terpinolene and what does this cannabis terpene do?

Considering the general scarcity of terpinolene, it’s easy to understand why so few strains smell like Dutch Treat. Looking at the plot above, you’ll also see a considerable amount of ocimene, another obscure terpene common to cannabis. Though composed of more remote terpenes, Dutch Treat is a widely available strain. However, if you can’t find it at your local dispensary, see if you can find Snowcap or Sensi Star, two other terpinolene-rich strains with special qualities of their own.

Ace of Spades

Rare weed strain terpene profiles: Ace of Spades

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Curious to see what else terpinolene can do in the presence of other terpenes? Look to Ace of Spades. The Black Cherry Soda x Jack the Ripper cross bred by TGA Subcool has an earthy flavor accented with sweet berry and sharp lemon.

Its terpene data reveals it as a myrcene-dominant strain, which isn’t unusual for THC-dominant chemotypes. What makes it memorable is that its flavor profile is augmented by a significant amount of terpinolene as well as pinene and caryophyllene in nearly balanced proportion.

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The complexity of flavors that Ace of Spades presents makes it a great strain to vaporize at a range of temperatures. Lower temperatures, under 325°F, will preserve the piney and spiced flavors of pinene and caryophyllene. Temperatures closer to 365°F will emphasize the unusual essence of terpinolene.

I don’t come across Ace of Spades very often, so if you don’t see it at your local dispensary, you might try other myrcene-dominant strains with higher levels of terpinolene like Bubble Gum and Silver Bubble.

Tickle Kush

Rare weed strain terpene profiles: Tickle Kush

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Tickle Kush: an unusual name for an unusual strain. The chemical profile of Tickle Kush stands out for a few reasons. Since we’re talking about terps, you can’t ignore this strain’s caryophyllene dominance. What makes this terpene profile unusual, however, is the fact that this is a balanced strain—meaning it tends to express equal parts THC and CBD. In most of the terpene data Leafly has analyzed, most CBD-dominant and balanced chemotypes lean towards myrcene-dominance. So, it’s exciting to find one where the spiced, woody notes of caryophyllene take center stage.

What’s more, the way caryophyllene interacts with the CB2 receptors found throughout the body gives promise to patients battling with inflammation.

If you are on the hunt for other strains high in caryophyllene, check to see if Original Glue and Fire OG are available near you. These high-THC alternatives boast higher levels of limonene, and  their flavor, potency, and potential benefits make them enticing substitutes.

Will Hyde's Bio Image

Will Hyde

Will is a cannabis expert and co-host of Leafly's "What Are you Smoking" podcast. He's a cultivator and former budtender who loves complex hybrids with piney and gassy terpene profiles. Follow him on Instagram at @the.avid.dabber

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  • Fun Please

    Fire OG aptly named

  • UltraAK

    interesting article….never knew weed was so complex.

  • Mirage Arts

    I can smell them from here! Terpenes are the new doorway to heaven in the olfactory department in the brain. Stop and smell the terpenes!

  • Barry Manson

    There are far from the only odoriferous components, though:
    “A scatterplot on the first two principal component axes shows that plants of accessions from Afghanistan assigned to the wide-leaflet drug biotype (an infraspecific taxon of unspecified rank) of C. indica group apart from the other putative taxa. The essential oil of these plants usually had relatively high ratios of guaiol, isomers of eudesmol, and other unidentified compounds. Plants assigned to the narrow-leaflet drug biotype of C. indica tended to have relatively high ratios of trans-β-farnesene. Cultivars of the two drug biotypes may exhibit distinctive medicinal properties due to significant differences in terpenoid composition.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305197804001012?via%3Dihub

  • Nicole Lewis

    Its interesting to know that cannabis has these rare range of flavors and unique fragrances.