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How to Elevate Your Weed Experience | Using Terpenes to Improve Your High

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Not Feeling Like Your Weed Gets You as High Lately? 

We’ve all been there, myself included — waiting patiently for those familiar warm and fuzzy feelings the first few minutes after smoking some weed and yet nothing seems to happen. While redosing edibles in a situation like this is a gambler’s game, most of us smokers don’t think twice to take another hit or two at this point and maybe this momentarily makes you feel like you’re about to lift off, but once again, it just doesn’t really seem to pack the punch that you were seeking. You immediately begin running through possible scenarios in your head, trying to assess changes to your tolerance levels, determine if your bud could just be old and degraded, or if it is possible that some shady guest swapped out your top-shelf stash with a low-THC strain during that party you threw a few weeks ago, you deduce that all of the above could be plausible.


Having been in the cannabis industry for over a decade, I have heard just about every crazy trick to getting higher out there. Fortunately for you, I can save you the hassle of wasting time trying them because unfortunately for me, I’ve already wasted my own time giving them a shot. As much as I would like to report that some of the goofy myths out there, like smoking while upside down or weird breathing techniques while inhaling actually DO make you feel higher, I can say without reservation that there are really only two methods that I’ve personally found to help elevate my high. One of these is the dreaded tolerance break or T-break that allows your body to reset. I’ll do a deep dive into tolerance breaks in a later article. The other tried and true method to elevate your weed experience is by pairing complementary terpenes that have actual research-backed evidence suggesting their ability to elevate, improve, and/or impact your high.      


What Are Terpenes?


Terpenes have become a regularly discussed topic in cannabis enthusiast circles — and for good reason. Terpenes are a constituent of nearly all plants (cannabis included) that help create a plant’s aromatic profile (amongst other things). In other words, that delicious skunky scent that hits you in the face when you open a fresh container of weed — you know…the aroma that makes that one friend in the group who is the resident stoner say something likeoh man, this is the good stuff”— has nothing to do with how much THC is in your bud, but instead is primarily derived from the terpenes. Terps aren’t only found and used in the cannabis world either, the majority of scented household and personal care products like cologne, perfumes, cleaning products, essential oils, etc., achieve their smell from terpenes. 


I’m no mind reader, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that most of you are thinking something along the lines of, “oh really? You want me to believe that the way something smells is going to magically make me feel higher?”, or “Grady, all weed smells the same to me”, and probably a few of you who keep your thoughts short and sweet with a simple but direct, “lol. yeah right”. To the naysayers, I hear you and even commend the fact that you’re questioning the validity of my statements — you all get a gold star for critical thinking skills, but when you’re melting into the couch after trying the terpene pairing tricks below, I’ll try my best not to say I told you so. 


A couple months ago, I created a comprehensive guide to terpenes and the entourage effect where I delved into the science behind terps’ impact on cannabis. I’d recommend giving that a read if you’re more interested in the pharmacokinetics and/or pharmacodynamics of cannabis terpenes, but I’ll be sticking to the primary topic for this article: terpene pairing to elevate your high. So, if you’ve got one rolled up and are ready to get as high as [insert your favorite vulgar getting high euphemism here], then let’s waste no more time. 


What Terpenes Will Get Me Higher? 


You’re still tossing around vulgar euphemisms about getting high, aren’t you? While you keep trying to remember that funny saying about giraffes and getting high that your smoking buddies always use, I’ll be getting down to business. I’ve played around with different terpene profiles, pairings, and combinations for well over 10 years and thankfully have been keeping pretty detailed records of how each made me feel and how my experience and high were impacted — I’m still waiting on my gold star for being a data hoarder. 


Without further ado, I present you with the four terpenes that, in my experience, have consistently resulted in a notably elevated weed experience – AKA: using blunt wraps, cones, and papers that were infused with these terpenes got me noticeably higher or led to a better overall experience. 



Even if you’re not a cannabis consumer — which, if you’re not, then why are you reading this article? — you have still most likely experienced myrcene in non-cannabis products. If you are a cannabis consumer, you’ve probably heard the theory about chugging a substantial amount of mango juice before smoking to increase your high. I’ll admit it, I’ve tried drinking an obscene amount of mango juice, to the point that I felt nauseous, to determine if there was an impact on my experience. The only results I can report are being grateful that cannabinoids also have an anti-emetic [anti-nausea] effect, which helped me keep a liter of mango juice down. However, this could simply mean that the myrcene from my mango juice didn’t have time to absorb or reach systemic circulation before I conducted my experiment


Myrcene is one of, if not the most abundant terpene found in cannabis. By itself, it has been shown to produce sedative effects, but more recent research suggests that myrcene may impact the intensity of a cannabis high due to the role in helping cannabinoids reach your brain. Your cannabis likely already has, at minimum, traces of myrcene. That said, I’ve found that pairing just about any cannabis flower with a myrcene infused product like these Mango Kush cones almost always results in a high that is noticeably more intense.      



This one may surprise most readers. Caryophyllene (also referred to as beta-caryophyllene or BCP) is the terpene that gives black pepper its spicy, peppery aroma. Unlike myrcene, there’s not much evidence that BCP will result in making you feel higher, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that it can improve the quality of your high. We’ve all been in a situation where you try a new cannabis strain only to find that, even though it delivers a strong high, the anxiety or paranoia that comes along with it sort of ruins the experience. So, before you get all charitable and pass off that anxiety-inducing strain to your best frenemy as part of an act of selflessness [insert sarcasm here], I’d recommend trying the following: 


Studies on caryophyllene have reported significant evidence that suggests this terpene may reduce anxiety and even depression. So, why not try pairing that nerve wracking strain with a product infused with — you guessed it — caryophyllene? While you likely won’t find a product that outright advertises a caryophyllene infusion, I would suggest looking for products that maintain terpene profiles of strains that are caryophyllene dominant. One such example would be these tobacco and nicotine-free Gelato blunt wraps, considering Gelato is a BCP dominant cultivar or strain



Terpinolene dominant products are typically a bit more difficult to find in the cannabis world but are certainly worth seeking out. Most often associated with the infamous Jack Herer strain, terpinolene can be identified by its fresh, piney aroma with subtle citrus and floral notes. Personally, I’ve found that a premium-quality wrap that is infused with terpinolene serves as an excellent alternative when I’m not able to get my hands on a terpinolene dominant strain. 


Unlike caryophyllene, which can help balance a high, there’s a bevy of anecdotal evidence surrounding terpinolene’s potential to help energize or uplift your cannabis experience. For instance, check out this Reddit thread of over 100 reports of terpinolene enhancing the high of consumers. I personally reach for terpinolene-infused papers when I’m finishing off a strain that has been producing muted effects or one that may be a little older. I’ve heard countless success stories of canna-consumers who used terpinolene-infused wraps or papers to breathe life back into a weed stash that been stored a little too long and has possible lost some potency — Pro Tip: don’t try to strategically hide jars of your favorite strains while high. You will forget them. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. 😉  



We’re all familiar with the invigorating aroma produced by limonene. Its zesty, lemon’y scent may produce more effects than just serving as a reminder to buy more cleaning products (limonene is used abundantly in household cleaning products to give them their fresh scent). Researchers are still working to understand all aspects of this unique terpene, but the studies that we do have on hand suggest that this terp potentially holds some impressive use cases. 


However, we’re here to enhance our high, which limonene appears to maintain the ability to do as well. Much like caryophyllene, limonene, specifically inhaled limonene, is believed to produce anxiolytic or anti-anxiety effects. Personally, I turn to limonene-infused products when I want to use cannabis to relax, but my mind is still racing from the workday. The hypothesis here is that, when a person’s mind is still in work mode and juggling multiple thoughts or tasks, the use of cannabis can lead to feelings of anxiousness because your brain isn’t ready to slow down. Research and anecdotal reports suggest that bringing limonene into such a scenario may help alleviate some of the internal battle between engaging relaxation mode and performance mode. In short, limonene may be a piece of the puzzle when it comes to switching from work mode to party mode — and yes, binging on Netflix can be considered a party by many folks!


Do All Terpenes Make You Feel Higher?


Wouldn’t that be nice? However, finding the perfect balance of cannabinoid and terpene ratios is all about balance. Not all terps are going to make you feel higher or elevate your weed experience. For instance, the terpene linalool, which is commonly associated with lavender, is primarily known for its sleep-inducing effects — probably not the best pairing unless you’re getting ready to catch some Zs. Additionally, the terpene humulene is reported to help counteract the munchies, but the tradeoff is that many consumers also report humulene-dominant products result in a less euphoric high. 


Ultimately, the best approach to determining the optimal terpene pairings for you is to simply conduct your own controlled experiments. Keep a journal beside your stash and each time you try something, make a short note that describes what you consumed and how it made you feel. After just a couple of months, you’ll have at your disposal, the foundation of your very own personalized cannabis effects guide. Not to mention how nerdy cool your friends will think you are — but hey, they’ll be the ones dealing with paranoia each time a gust of wind makes a strange sound – while you’re just sitting there living your best life high. 


The Takeaway: The Secret Power of Terpenes 


There you have it — the secret sauce behind elevating your weed experience to take things to the next level. Which pairing combination are you going to try first? I discussed four of the big players but consider for a moment that we have identified over 150 terpenes produced by cannabis and over 20,000 that are produced by other plants in nature. I’m not sure about you, but this makes me really enthusiastic about the future of cannabis and terpene-infused products. The number of possibilities, combinations, and potential effects feel endless when you have that many terpene options to work from. And if the thought of experimenting with 20,000+ terpenes has you feeling overwhelmed, perhaps you could use a little caryophyllene or limonene in your life.  


This article is for informational purposes only and not to be used as medical advice. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your diet, medications, or daily routine. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. 

Grady Moore is a marketing and development consultant for the cannabis and hemp industry. He holds a Master of Science in medical cannabis science and therapeutics from the University of Maryland. Grady is passionate about increasing medical cannabis literacy and education. When he isn’t working, you can likely find him playing with his golden retriever named Doobie, taking time-lapse photography, or practicing cello. To connect with or keep up with Grady, follow him on LinkedIn.

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