By Sharon Letts How fragrance affects our emotions Memories connecting scent to emotion come to us courtesy of the Limbic System – the sentimental side of human physiology connected to our psychology. Can a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade on a warm summer day trigger a childhood memory of happier times? The Limbic system […]
By Sharon Letts
How fragrance affects our emotions
Memories connecting scent to emotion come to us courtesy of the Limbic System – the sentimental side of human physiology connected to our psychology.
Can a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade on a warm summer day trigger a childhood memory of happier times?
The Limbic system is a complex structure located beneath the cerebral cortex within the brain supporting emotion, behavior, motivation, and long-term memory. Our emotional life depends on this system, and when triggered by a scent, can bring back a gamut of emotions and feelings – including lemons on a warm summer day.
It’s why you choose with your nose when selecting fragrant flower in a dispensary. What are your favorite fragrances? Chances are the scent is a recurring theme in your life. Why? Because humans have a symbiotic relationship to plants and it starts with the way they smell.
You might be choosing lemon scented weed with your heart and mind because it reminds you of a happy childlike, carefree summer day. But, your body may be choosing it subconsciously because it craves the benefits behind the scent.
The limbic system was created to purposefully seduce, to draw us near to what we need. It’s a seduction that humans have been graciously accepting since Eve handed Adam that apple.
The unsaid part of the story is, Eve also must have liked the way Adam smelled, compliments of pheromones.
Pheromones are a unique subset of chemical signals first defined in 1959 by scientists P. Karlson and M. Luscher, as substances secreted to the outside of an individual and then received by a second individual, in which they release a specific reaction.
In other words, pheromones can make or break a love match. We can draw those we love as close to us as a fragrant rose, if their scent aligns with ours – with love as beneficial and crucial to our well-being as the beneficial compounds of a plant to keep us healthy. It’s all connected. Never ignore the power of your nose in life, love and at the bud counter.
For the Love of Lemons
Terpenes are where the fragrance is found in plants.Terpenes are also where much of the beneficial compounds are, or where the medicine is found.
Large and varied types of hydrocarbons, terpenes are made up of hydrogen and carbon. These compounds are the main component of plant resins or essential oils, and why we are compelled to bring fingers to our noses after cutting up fragrant bud, or chopping up ginger to cook with, or when a rose beckons us near.
Do you love lemons? That means one of your favorite terpenes is limonene (D-Limonene). You can also find it in cannabis cultivars, citrus, and some fragrant and beneficial herbs, such as lemon balm or lemon eucalyptus.
Why do you love lemon so much? Because somehow, through the magic of nature, your body knows you need limonene in your system for healing and homeostasis – or to help create a place where illness can not dwell.
Terpene and cannabinoid writer, Curt Robbins, detailed for Eaze.com, “Of the 20 thousands terpenes found in nature, and the 200 that may manifest in a particular strain of cannabis, limonene is one of the major players. This terpene sometimes constitutes up to 16 percent of the volume of a particular sample of cannabis.”
The Magic of Plants
As detailed in How Stuff Works.com, the limbic system isn’t solely all about intoxicating fragrance, memory and romance. Our limbic system is said to be essential to our survival in finding food and sustenance, and self-preservation.
Research tells us that 75 percent of all emotions processed every day are connected to smell, with humans 100 times more likely to recall something due to their sense of smell over sight, hearing or touch.
The limonene scent you chose at the pot shop has benefits that go way beyond the memory of a sun-filled summer day. Limonene can uplift and destress. It’s listed as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and heart-disease-fighting properties.
Limonene is also said to reduce appetite. And while high tetrahydrocannabinol or THC cultivars are said to cause the munchies, cultivars heavy in limonene might just curb the urge to snack.
Those who still may be stuck on the Sativa/Indica dilemma, please know, it’s the limonene giving you a lift, not the Sativa. It’s the terpene profile you need to pay attention to, not the THC.
Meaning, if you suffer from depression, a nice limonene cultivar might be helpful.
Other terpenes that treat depression by lifting endorphins and creating dopamine in the brain are pinene, also found in rosemary, pine needles, and black pepper; and linalool, also found in lavender and rosewood oils.
Cultivars heavy in limonene and pinene terpenes are O.G. Kush, Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, Durban Poison, Jack Herer, and Jack the Ripper.
Cultivars heavy in linalool are Granddaddy Purple, Do Si Dos, Lavender, and Kosher Kush.
Always check the breakdown of a cultivar’s terpenes and never go by THC count alone. Too much THC can trigger anxiety that can lead to depression. Too much THC can trigger negative disorder symptoms like neurosis and psychosis.
Our bodies know what we need, and our noses are the gateway. Follow your nose to health and happiness.