University of British Columbia researchers published a study finding 30 terpene synthase genes that contribute to different scents and flavors in cannabis. Such genes facilitate the production of terpenes like limonene, myrcene and pinene in the cannabis plant.
Researchers also found the gene that produces one of the most common essential oils of cannabis, beta-caryophyllene. Cannabis inflorescences, the complete flower head and stem, are known to be densely covered in granular trichomes, these trichomes are specialized to produce and accumulate terpenes. The discovery of these genes may be a step toward facilitating genetic improvements of cannabis to create more desirable terpene profiles in certain strains.
Considering that cannabis has been domesticated by breeders for increased resin volume and potency, it is possible that this led to a decrease in the quantity or variability of terpenes available in mainstream cannabis strains. The researchers pointed out the importance of examining how terpene compounds interact with the different cannabinoids that provide medicinal properties of cannabis.
Compassionate Sciences ATC grows 23 different strains, each of which encompasses a distinct terpene profile.