Think about your last great dinner. Would it have been as delicious and delightful if what was laid out before you didn’t smell super amazing? Most likely, no. Scent plays a huge part in not only piquing our interest in something – whether food or floral bouquets – but also in how we react, and interact, with many of the things we encounter in our daily lives.
Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in nature that give things from flowers to herbs their smell and trigger certain responses within our brain and body. They’re what cause lavender to have its calming, relaxing quality, for example – and they’re also what lend specific experiences to cannabis consumption.
These elements can make an elevated meal a truly novel experience, too. By combining, complementing and matching certain terpene and flavour profiles through a variety of foods, beverages and cannabis strains, you can take any session to the next level. Pairings are ultimately up to personal taste; the endocannabinoid system – an internal system we all have which causes us to react to the various compounds found in cannabis, for example – is unique to each and every one of us. This means you might find that one kind of combination (blueberry and lemon) might be more pleasing to you than to others.
So, much like with any cannabis experience, what’s key when diving into the world of terpenes is to try-and-test. Keep notes about what you like and didn’t like, so you can begin to craft experiences that are really special. And don’t forget that how you consume cannabis affects terpenes as well; vaporizing allows them to really shine through because of how it heats the dried flower.
Ready to take your session up a level? Here are four suggestions, from sweet to savoury, that will really give you a lift.
CLEVER COMFORT FOOD
There’s a reason few of us can resist food that tastes like home-cooking; its familiarity and warmth relaxes us, like wrapping up in a warm blanket, or watching a favourite cheesy rom-com. Play up the relaxing Linalool terpene profile of some cannabis strains – said to lessen anxiety and help with sleep – by serving up dishes with scents that highlight notes of citrus, violet, lavender, rose, and lilies.
Crispy Fries sprinkled with Sea Salt and Rosemary, served with Citrus Chili Aioli
Ginger-honey Chili Chicken with fried ginger
Dishes with Coconut
Texture plays a huge part in our eating experience; we can ‘feel’ the crunch of food just by looking at it, enticing us to take a bite. When our senses are heightened by cannabis, getting into a good crunch can be quite satisfying, especially when you consider that the terpene Beta-Caryophyllene – which is found in pepper, cloves and cinnamon – is said to decrease paranoia, and also have pain-relieving effects.
Handmade Kettle Chips served with Smokey Sour Cream Dip
Chipotle Spiced Nuts
Seared Spiced Steak
Who says a snack can’t be good for you? Crudité and citrus, refreshing herbs, and sparkling drinks can inspire an uplifted mood and tickle the palate. The brightening effects of the terpene Limonene (not only found in citrus, but in rosemary, peppermint and pine as well) will also give your session a little sparkle. And as a bonus, it’s said that the effect of citrus can calm you if you’ve consumed too much of the psychoactive cannabis compound THC.
Fresh Fruit drizzled with Lime Juice
Crudités (Cucumber, Snow Peas, Bok Choy, Green Beans, Rapini, Spinach Leaves)
Sparkling Water infused with Mint and Cucumber
Pasta with Pesto
Take an elevated approach to your next session offering with foods that have an almost sensual quality, like mangos. This decadent fruit has the terpene Myrcene, which is said to enhance the potency of the high associated with cannabis; it’s also known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Frozen Mango Paletas
Story by Odessa Paloma Parker
Photos by Mark Olson
The preceding is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to condone the use or consumption of cannabis. For more information, please refer to our disclaimer.