Tokin’ with Tolbert: A monthly marijuana column

Ever wonder how you can go from being high to stoned? Well, it’s not always how much you smoke but what.


Marijuana enthusiasts lounge around the grass of Civic Center Park and partake in the use of marijuana. Denver Police issued fewer citations for public consumption. May 21, 2016. Photo by Brandon N. Sanchez •

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most widely known compound found in cannabis, but isn’t the only thing that can add to your weed smoking experience. Typically, a marijuana strain testing over 15 percent THC is considered potent but few fail to realize the other contributing factors.

The aroma of marijuana is usually the first thing that draws you into a specific strain or it could also be a deterring factor. Every time I purchase cannabis, I don’t just factor in the THC content but also the smells, look and density.

Terpenes, the highlight of the Cannabis Clinicians Colorado symposium, is the active ingredient in cannabis that is responsible for the pungent odors and taste. Contrary to popular belief, THC does not provide the fragrance of a strain, but rather the feelings, emotions and pain relief one experiences when they partake.

Dr. Steven Bennett, who was a guest speaker at the symposium Tuesday night at the Plaza on Auraria, said that as of now there is 113 cannabinoids including THC and CBD. There are also 30 to 50 thousand terpenes in nature, with 150 specific to the cannabis plant.

There are five main types of terpenes all novice marijuana users should be aware of. Limonene, myrcene, linalool, A-Pinene and B-Caryophyllene are terepene pools a particular strain may fall under. For example, in the limonene pool, you’ll find strains that are typically citrusy such as Orange Wifi and Lemon Skunk. A popular non-marijuana example of this falls under the Linalool pool, with plants like Lavender having a more floral aroma.

Bennett, who is a lab director and organizer for Evolab, said he wants to stand between the cannabis industry and the academic route.

At Evolab, they extract marijuana down to pure oils and created the world’s first suite of cannabis specific pharmaceutical-grade extraction technologies.

Familiarizing yourself with the different types of terpenes will make your cannabis experience that much more enjoyable whether you’re using for recreational or medicinal purposes. And don’t get caught up by all the interesting and fancy strain names that seem to become more and more popular. Because many cannabis plants are bred with one another, the names of a strain can change at a whim. But if you know what terpene pool fits you best, that’ll usually lead you to the original strain.

“The majority of the cannabis experience depends more on the terpenes than the cannabinoids,” said Max Montrose, who is the President of Trichome Institute, an education cannabis company located in Denver. “When people go and shop for marijuana, they just shop for THC, they’re shopping for one element of chemistry out of the 500 that are important. THC is one of the most significant compounds in marijuana, but on its own sucks.”

Basically, marijuana without its terpenes is like watching a horror movie on mute. Part of the appeal of marijuana is the sensory aspect it has and THC alone can only get you high without the entire entourage effect one should experience.

Editor’s note: Tokin’ with Tolbert is a monthly column that covers local cannabis events. I hope to inform students and faculty on the marijuana industry through the eyes of a journalism student and cannabis connoisseur. Please contact me if you have any questions or opposing views you’d like to discuss at

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