Not all cannabis highs feel the same. And discovering which strains lead to an experience perfectly suited for you is an exercise in knowing both your cannabinoids and your terps, aka terpenes, the naturally occurring chemical compounds that not only give plants their aroma and flavor, but also contribute to their overall effects.
Take, for example, linalool, an essential oil found in over 200 species of plants, including cannabis. Best known for its lavender aroma, linalool has a number of therapeutic uses, acting as an analgesic, anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory while also offering relief from stress, anxiety and chronic pain. A 2016 study found that linalool could reverse neuropathological and behavioral impairments in mice with Alzheimer’s. Additional research has found that the chemical compound is an effective post-op pain reliever on par with opioids, curbing the need for pharmaceutical relief altogether in 50% of the patients studied.
Recreatioanlly, cannabis cultivars with linalool-forward terpene profiles are typically relaxing and stress relieving, bringing peace to otherwise overextended users. And while linalool is often a supporting player, or secondary/minor terpene, there are a handful of linalool-dominant strains. Here are some of our favorites:
For wake-and-bake smokers who want a snappy daytime strain that also allows them to relax, Durban might be worth an audition. This cultivar is as peppy as Durban-hybrid users would expect, with a sparkling onset and an elastic body buzz that both invigorates and calms. Consider skipping the coffee, though. Durban delivers a hot streak of glittering energy that caffeine might corrupt. Expect a woody, flowery perfume and pungent citrusy exhale.
BUY: Budlandia, 8135 SE Woodward St., 503-412-8447, budlandiapdx.com.
Another dazzling, peppy strain made soft by its terp profile is Red Haze, a bright and vitalizing cultivar that, for the right user, might take the place of morning caffeine. This cross of Neville’s Haze and Colombian Red delivers a balance of clearheaded energy and super-cushy, but not sleepy, relaxation. Most users describe highs that feel typically sativa, which is to say, upbeat. But many also report body highs that land on the mellower side, so go slow to figure out how your endocannabinoid receptors will react. Expect a sharp piney perfume and nutty, earthy exhale.
BUY: Green Planet, 17332 SE Powell Blvd., 503-912-1144.
This version of the popular Runtz strain delivers balanced effects: round and soothing in the bod, sharp and airy in the head. Users report chest-rattling onsets that ease into a deep, sleepy couchlock, bottomless munchies, and rose-colored mood boosts. Consider it a wind-down strain, so newbies should exercise caution just in case you end up falling asleep when you simply intended to chillax. Expect an earthy, sour aroma and a funky tropical exhale with lingering notes of flower petals.
BUY: Eden Cannabis, 128 SE 12th Ave., 503-477-9998, edencraftcannabis.com.
For potheads looking for a blissful strain, reserve a place in your stash box for Xena. This cross of Starfighter and Tina delivers a potent, nonsedative sense of relaxation in the body (arousal is also a noted effect), alongside a manageable euphoria that’s suitable for day or evening use. Fibromyalgia patients have reported Xena is an effective treatment for pain management. Expect a sharp diesel nose and piney, flowery exhale.
BUY: Nectar, 8601 SW Terwilliger Blvd., 971-754-4956, nectar.store/terwilliger.
The aptly named Lavender is a linalool-rich cross of Super Skunk, Big Skunk Korean and Afghani Hawaiian. Those genetics deliver both an airy head high and velvety body buzz, while people struggling with anxiety, chronic pain, gastrointestinal disorders and migraines may find relief from their symptoms after using this strain. If the aroma of fresh lavender lifts your spirits, consider the namesake cultivar your go-to.
BUY: Puddletown Organics, 8201 SE Powell Blvd., Suite F, 503-558-6321, puddletownorganics.com.