Our sense of smell is something that most people use, alongside our sense of taste, to decide which food, beverage, or aroma they like the most.
There are people that develop a more attuned sense that allows them to detect more concrete notes in aromas and flavors, which is usually born out of passion for gastronomy, or simply a more sharpened sense of smell when it comes to certain fruit, vegetables, and other ingredients.
It’s no surprise that most flavor enthusiasts are fascinated by the complexity of cannabis terpene profiles, as well as the wide array of aromas offered by artisanal, craft beer makers. Let’s find out why this isn’t just a simple coincidence.
First, let’s talk a bit more about hops, a fascinating plant with a bitter taste and aromatic qualities associated with beer.
What are Hops?
Hops (Humulus Lupulus) are a climbing plant which, like cannabis, is dioecious, meaning it produces both male and female plants, and the crossing of both results in reproduction. Hops is cannabinaceas, in the same group as cannabis plants.
The ideal growing conditions for hops are mild, slightly humid climates, although it can also grow in colder temperatures; it’s quite a versatile plant that can be grown across multiple regions.
As we mentioned above, it’s a climbing plant, which means it needs to be staked and held up in order to grow properly and increase yield.
Usually, hops is grown to produce beer; the flowers this plant produces contain lupulin, an essential oil that gives beer its characteristic bitter tastes. Its use dates back to medieval ages, when it was used first, although back then it wasn’t used for its aroma, rather its antiseptic properties that helped preserve beer.
What properties do Hops have?
However, hopes have more uses than just an additive for beer. Lupulin, a green powdery substance produced by dry hops, has different therapeutic properties including:
- Improves blood flow
- Can help treat dermatitis and acne (used on the skin)
- Can help fight insomnia
This is why hops are often used in therapeutic teas and brews; beer isn’t the only way to obtain the properties of this plant. Like most substances, it also has sife effects; it’s not recommended for pregnant individuals, breastfeeding individuals or those that suffer from hypoestrogenism, as it contains Phyto-estrogen.
What do Cannabis and Hops have in Common?
As we were saying before, hops (Humulus Lupulus) and cannabis (Cannabis Sativa L.) belong to the same taxonomic family, Cannabinaceae. However, this is quite a recent classification; decades ago some experts considered the link between the two, but only two decades ago was it confirmed.
It wasn’t until 2022 when a group of experts from the UK and the US proved that hops and cannabis, as well as a hundred other species, belong to the same family; this was done by analyzing the genes produces by a selection of plants. Thanks to this study, the group of investigators was able to establish that these plants began to separate around 27 million years ago.
That’s why they have many things in common, for example they have similar leaves, both similar in shape with serrated edges, and similar flowers too; cannabis and hops flowers grow in a pineapple shape and could be confused at a distance.
Plus, as we mentioned before, both are dioicous species that reproduce via the male plant pollenating the female.
Terpenes: The Secret Ingredient
However, ops and cannabis have something more in common that’s not quite as obvious, although it can be found in its terpene composition; both tend to contain a lot of humulene.
Humulene, also known as alpha-caryophyllene, is present in cannabis and was actually discovered for the first time in hops, where it can be found in large amounts, providing beer most of its aroma.
This terpene isn’t exclusive to these two plants, it’s also found in other plants such as black pepper and salvia. It’s found in most cannabis strains (in varying quantities), although it tends to be lesser than other main terpenes such as limonene, caryophyllene or myrcene.
There are some strains with larger amounts of humulene than others, such as OG Kush, 3 Kings and Gorilla Glue. A large amount of these terpene also influences flavor and aroma, providing spicy, fresh notes similar to earth and wood. This aroma is also similar to beer; thanks to humulene, beer is refreshing.
What Properties does Humulene Have?
Humulene, as well as being an important aromatic compound, also has therapeutic properties which, when combined with cannabinoids, can provide beneficial effects.
For example, recent studies show that Humulene could actually provide some sort of anti-fungal effect when combined with CBG or CBC cannabinoids, and it could also be used as an anticoagulant when used alongside THC.
Interesting, right? Now that you know more about hops and cannabis’s special properties, maybe you’ll be able to notice their intense flavor next time you go for a tasting, and you’ll understand why such complex flavors in drinks and in cannabis can cause people to become such enthusiasts.
Cannabis Flavored Beers?
After what we’ve been talking about, you probably understand now why cannabis terpene profiles go so well with beer. They provide a more complex, intense aromatic profile that’s also similar in a way.
Over the last few years, artisanal beer has skyrocketed, and so has cannabis flavored beer. Brands such as Sir Hopper, Alameda Beer Company, Locals Only Brewing Co, Cerveja Nortada, Sanson Craft and Canna Hopper are just some of the amazing companies becoming experts in crafting beers using Cali Terpenes. The results speak for themselves: sold out and amazing feed back from clients.
Have you been wanting to try out a new beer & surprise your friends? Check out the world of terpenes!
So what did you think? Let us know in the comments section below.
Until next time!