Food was meant to be paired and shared. Think about your favorite combinations—peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, eggs and bacon, beans and rice. Some people even dunk their French fries into a milkshake. That last one sounds weird to me, personally, but no hate. You like what you like.

Naturally, these pairings are delicious enough on their own but if you *really* want to step up your #Foodie game, you’ve got to learn how to pair marijuana with dishes and drinks. It all comes down to marijuana terpenes, which we’ll take a closer look at in a second. Once you figure out a strain’s unique flavor profile, you’ll be able to cook an accompanying meal that hits the spot.

Marijuana Terpenes

Marijuana Aroma & Flavor

With so many smells at my disposal, I feel like a kid in a candy store whenever I walk into a dispensary to buy a fresh batch of weed. I naturally gravitate toward indica strains thanks to their fruity aroma, usually something grape or berry. Sativa strains typically carry a Diesel or gasoline-like aroma with additional notes of lemon, pine, or skunk. But how does a marijuana strain get its flavor profile? Say hello to terpenes.

What Are Marijuana Terpenes?

Terpenes are naturally-occurring chemical compounds in marijuana plants that give a strain its flavor, aroma, and smell. Terpenes are found in varying concentrations in different cannabis strains. And, in most cases, a strain will produce two or more varieties of terpenes. Tropical strains contain Myrcene, for example, while pine-like strains produce Pinene. We cannot say exactly how many types of terpenes there are but let’s just say it’s a lot. And guess what? Terpenes are naturally found in foods, as well. That’s where the art of pairing comes into play.

Marijuana Terpenes

How Do Taste Buds Work?

Eating is one of my favorite hobbies. I could do it all day long. But something so seemingly simple has a great deal of science and biology behind it. Have you ever wondered how we taste? How our brains can tell the difference between a tomato and an orange? Say hello to taste buds and these little things on our tongues called papillae. “Taste buds have very sensitive microscopic hairs called microvilli.” according to Kids Health. Yes, we dumbed it down for ourselves. “Those tiny hairs send messages to the brain about how something tastes, so you know if it’s sweet, sour, bitter, or salty.”

An Introduction To Weed & Food Pairings

Let it be known that there is no “wrong” or “right” way to pair marijuana with food. Eating and smoking are such highly personalized experiences. The same could be said of food and wine, and yet, thousands of restaurants across the country specialize in educated pairings based on terpenes. So, yes, there is an art to it but don’t worry if you’re not a master right away. It’s always best to use your common sense on what flavor profiles could go together. See the examples below.

Does that last one sound a little iffy to you? Please allow us to explain. The sweet and toasty flavor of Cookie Monster provides the perfect counter-balance to tangy and creamy tomato soup (add a dollop of sour cream for extra creaminess). As two prime comfort foods, this unexpected pairing can easily promote relaxation and calmness after a stressful day.

Once you’ve conquered basic pairings, such as fruit and chocolate, you can begin to tap into your inner chef to come up with more complex combinations. Maybe, something with blue cheese? Or olives? Or pickles? You know, one of those foods that tear friendships apart because people can never agree on whether it’s a hit or miss.

Marijuana Terpenes

The Connection Between Marijuana & Appetite

With all the research out there, it’s a well-known fact at this point that certain marijuana strains boost appetite. This has to do with our brain’s cannabinoids, which control everything from appetite, memory, and mood. Marijuana’s cannabinoids naturally latch onto our own to heighten hunger levels and give us a case of the “munchies.” When this happens, we find ourselves closing and opening the fridge one hundred times in hopes that something delicious will magically appear. When that hunger wave hits, use what you’ve learned in this blog to whip up some food and pair it with a strain of your choice.

Now It’s Your Turn!

Rest assured that you don’t have to be the next Gordon Ramsay or Anthony Bourdain (RIP) to pair marijuana terpenes with food. There’s a slight learning curve that only gets easier with practice and execution. Surely, you’re starving by now after reading so much about food, so get to cooking! Let us know in the comment section below or on social media what your favorite weed and food pairings are!

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