How to Pair Food with Cannabis Terpenes

How to Pair Food with Cannabis Terpenes

Terpenes are flavour compounds found in cannabis as well as other plants, fruits and vegetables. They are not only responsible for the aromas of cannabis; they can also work synergistically with cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) to produce a variety of effects. This interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids is known as the entourage effect.

With edibles recently legalized in Canada, many consumers are starting to dabble with making their own cannabis-infused dishes at home. Even among those who prefer to purchase their edibles already-made, there is increasing interest in the complementary nature of terpenes. Consumers are starting to ask, “How can I combine terpenes in food with cannabis terpenes?”

In fact, there are two main reasons why cannabis enthusiasts might want to explore terpene food pairings: First, the taste. As any experienced chef will tell you, some flavours go great together – while others do not. For example, if you’re making a dessert with sweet citrus (limonene) flavours then you probably don’t want to use a strain high in caryophyllene (black pepper), or you’ll end up with a strange and potentially unpalatable flavour combination.

Secondly, the terpenes you use will influence the effects felt after consumption. As mentioned above, cannabis and terpenes work together to produce a range of effects. So, if there’s a specific effect you’re seeking from edibles, it would be wise to consider terpene food pairings.

Keep reading to learn about some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis and which foods they pair well with.

Limonene Food Pairings

Limonene is commonly found in sativa-dominant cannabis strains as well as citrus fruit. Its flavour profile is easy to remember – just think of limes! Limonene produces the distinct sweet citrus aroma revered by many cannabis consumers. Described as sharp yet pleasantly fragrant, limonene pairs well with dishes that have a crisp or sweet flavour. Examples include strawberry shortcake, key lime pie, or caesar salad.

Strains high in limonene: Ultra Sour, Citrique

Myrcene Food Pairings

Myrcene, found in thyme and mangoes, is responsible for the musky, earthy and herbal aromas of certain cannabis strains. Because of its herbal notes, myrcene goes well with savoury recipes. Try it with salmon, quiche or a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

Strains high in myrcene: MK Ultra, Sensi Star, DM2

Caryophyllene Food Pairings

Caryophyllene is found in hops, cloves and black pepper. It has a spicy, woody aroma that experienced consumers will recognize as one of the most prevalent scents of cannabis. It complements egg dishes nicely and can add a peppery kick to steak, jerk chicken or chili con carne.

Strains high in caryophyllene: Sensi Star, Wappa

Pinene Food Pairings

Pinene food pairings

Another component of cannabis that can be used for terpene food pairing is pinene. Unsurprisingly, this terpene is also found in pine trees and emits a strong piney aroma. Use strains with high levels of pinene in dishes that you would typically garnish with fragrant herbs like rosemary and thyme. Some examples include roasted cauliflower with pine nuts or mashed potatoes.

Strains high in pinene: Wappa, Shishkaberry

Linalool Food Pairings

Linalool has a semi-sweet, floral aroma and can be found in lavender and geraniums. Like lavender, it pairs well with desserts or any dish containing vanilla. Cannabis strains high in linalool can be used to complement the flavour profiles of vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate or crème brûlée.

Strains high in linalool: Shishkaberry