TERPENES + HOMEMADE PESTO
Updated: Mar 30
WHAT ARE TERPENES?
To put it simply, terpenes are the natural, aromatic oils found in plants (both edible and non) behind the flavors, aromas, and therapeutic effects of botanicals. Though commonly associated with cannabis because of their high concentrations, terpenes exist in every living plant. While cannabis is a botanical plant, terpenes found in cannabis are usually referred to as such, and botanical terpenes are those found in other plants. Some of the most notable terpenes include those found in lavender, rosemary, pine, tea tree, mint, teas, and of course, cannabis. To date, there are over 30,000 terpenes that have been identified in nature.
BOTANICAL VS CANNABIS TERPENES
Both botanical and cannabis-derived terpenes serve very unique roles in our bodies. Contrary to common belief, neither source is “better” than the other. They both serve important purposes and their effects on the body vary greatly.
Botanical terpenes are often used in place of cannabis terpenes in cannabis products because they are cheaper to extract and are more widely available. Botanical terpenes can mimic the cannabis plant’s natural flavors and aromas, and can help cannabinoids respond better in the body after consumption. Some foods bind to cannabinoids, which in turn can make you feel higher in a sense. Let's explore that below.
TERPENES IN FOOD
Terpenes can be found in a wide variety of different fruits and edible plants. Some of the most common terpenes are found in fruits, herbs and spices, teas, and even beer! They enhance flavor profiles and offer health-promoting benefits.
If you indulge in cannabis, you are probably familiar with the claim that eating mangoes before or during your cannabis experience can result in a more intense high. Once you eat a mango, the fruit’s terpenes (mainly Myrcene) enter your bloodstream and interact with the cannabinoid THC in a way where it increases your high. This is believed to be caused by Myrcene’s ability to affect the blood-brain barrier, making it easier for cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.) to reach the brain and enhance cannabis' psychoactive effects.
If you are not a cannabis user, you can always enjoy mangoes for their other many terpene-related benefits: this may include treatment for anxiety, sedative, or anti-inflammatory properties. And if mangoes aren't your jam, you can also find myrcene in hops and guava fruits. Another common terpene present in popular foods is Pinene, which is found in pine nuts, dill, basil, and parsley. In cannabis, strains that include pinene offer a woodsy, pine-like aroma and taste. Pinene is known to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and a bronchial dilator. Limonene, as you can probably guess, is found in lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. It has a sharp, citrusy aroma and can be used as an anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and mood enhancer. Linalool is most plentiful in the lavender plant and is responsible for giving the flower its rich, signature scent. Linalool is one of the more popular oils in aromatherapy and is responsible for the calming effect many people experience. It is also known to provide anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, neuroprotective, anti-depressant, anti-cancer, and anti-anxiety effects on the body. Terpinolene carries an array of smells from piney, floral, herbaceous, to even a little citrusy. It is commonly found in apples, cumin, lilac, tea tree, pine, fir, and cannabis. This terpene is known for its anti-oxidant properties and can be a potential anti-cancer agent in the body. Traditional terpinolene uses include natural anti-septic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial. One more for the people in the back: Humulene is commonly found in hops, sage, and ginseng. This terpene has a herbal, spicy aroma and is used as an anti-inflammatory and appetite suppressant. Terpenes present themselves in our diets more often than you'd think! From your steaming mug of clove and cinnamon-steeped apple cider, fresh-squeezed orange juice, a bowl of French onion soup made with fresh thyme and sage, to pesto made with pine nuts, lemon juice, and fresh herbs, your body is reaping the benefits of these botanical terpenes while your senses are enjoying their tastes and aromas. How delicious is that! Try out this delicious homemade pesto recipe below and enjoy the benefits of Limonene, Pinene, Myrcene, Linalool, Terpinolene, and more! Bonus points if you also pair with one the suggested cannabis strains 😋 TERPENE RICH PESTO INGREDIENTS 4 cups of herbs and/or fresh greens (basil, mint, parsley, spinach, cannabis leaves, etc)
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts (or hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, other nuts)
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice (zest optional)
2 cloves of fresh garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, cannabis infused or not (avocado oil is also delicious)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (or romano, dairy-free or regular, or omit!)
salt and pepper to taste
Toast nuts (if applicable) and pulse them in a food processor (or mortar and pestle) with the fresh garlic cloves until finely ground.
Add your greens, grated cheese, and lemon juice. Pulse/grind in food processor/mortar and pestle several times until all the ingredients are about the same size (looks like tiny confetti). You may have to scrape the sides of the processor several times to ensure it is cohesively ground.
With the processor continuously running, or while continuously grinding/stirring, drizzle in the oil in a steady stream until the pesto has emulsified and the oil does not separate.
Taste and season with salt and pepper, and possibly more lemon in accordance to your tastes.
Enjoy as a dip, tossed with pasta, spread on a sandwich, and more! Store in airtight jar or container in the fridge for a week.
Let's make this recipe + more together in my Homemade Semolina Pasta + Pesto Virtual Cooking Lesson
CLICK HERE for more info on virtual lessons and to book. ALL lessons are BYOB/420 friendly :)
✨ Cannabis strains with LIMONENE: Durban Poison, Jack Herer, Lemon Diesel, OG Kush, Sour Diesel, and Super Lemon Haze. ✨ Cannabis strains with PINENE: Big Smooth, Blue Dream, Cannatonic, Grape Ape, Harlequin ✨ Cannabis strains with MYRCENE: OG Kush, Blue Dream, Remedy, Grape Ape, Granddaddy Purp, Tangie, Harlequin ✨ Cannabis strains with LINALOOL: Durban, Rainbow Belts, Wedding Mints, Jack Frost, Gushers, Ice Cream Cake ✨ Cannabis strains with TERPINOLENE: Wookies, White Durban , Super Lemon Haze, Durban Poison, Dutch Treat