From earthy-flavored OG Kush to zesty Lemon Haze and skunky Sour Disel, there’s a plethora of flavor options for marijuana smokers in legal states to choose from when purchasing weed at their local dispensaries. Now researchers have identified the genes that give cannabis plants their differing tastes.
Scientists at the University of British Columbia (UBC) recently discovered about 30 different molecules responsible for marijuana’s flavor, called terpene synthases genes. In the marijuana industry, the components that make up cannabis’ distinct smell and taste are often referred to as simply terpenes.
UBC researchers said the specific terpene synthases genes found in cannabis are very similar to the molecules found in grapevines that give wine its flavor. Along with the gene that produces marijuana’s main terpene—beta-caryophyllene—researchers discovered three groups of terpenes that produce limonene, myrcene and pinene.
“The limonene compound produces a lemon-like flavor and myrcene produces the dank, earthy flavor characteristic of purple kush,” Judith Booth, one of the study’s authors and a graduate student at UBC said in a statement. The study was released in the journal PLOS One Wednesday. [Read more at Newsweek]