Thursday 12 February 2015

Can't Smell the Forest For the Terpines

Olfactories, or Olfactory Organs are the parts of our body giving us the ability to smell.  Mine have always been a bit over-active.  I was all about the smells as a youth.  All about the perfumes.  Oh my, I had so many that they went sour before I could use them all.  There were scents I loved and there were scents I abhorred.  Still to this day, I have an issue with the smell of sulfur or rubber.

As an adult you learn to ignore or accept odours but they're still there.  My mama used to love Sung perfume though it repulsed me~still does!

A friend and past co-worker used to also repulse me because he smelled like sulfur all the time.  It was years before I realized it was because of the water where he lived.

My uncle Irvin and his family lived on the mountain in Westport about a half mile from the town dump.  That's a smell and a half.  Depending on the direction of the breeze, that entire family of six breathed in the smell of burning refuse for years.  I used to love going to that dump as a kid.  Burning material like that didn't seem to bother me.  Yet if my parents ever allowed a visitor to smoke in the house, all three of us girls had a fit.

I have friends who have lived above Subw@y restaurants smelling the yeasty gases of proofing bread in all it's stages 24/7.  You'd almost think that the last part of that would be pleasant, but all-in-all that allure fades fast.

I've known peeps who have lived near a McD!cks.  There are times I have heard, that it smells more like a waste facility than a restaurant.  A friend used to be engaged to a McD!cks manager and she said that his uniform smelled that way fresh out of the dryer.  Now that's some permeating odour.

The entire population of Cornwall smelled the rotten egg odour from Domtar, the paper plant for almost 100 years.  It's only been since 2006 that the air in that whole area smells like anything but "total reduced sulphur" or TRS gases.

There are several lovely jewelry stores in my city that I completely avoid at all times simply because of the incense that they insist on burning.  My new neighbor loves the same stuff.  My poor pupperoni and I both have sneezing fits every time we leave our apartment.

All in all, the world as we know it, has a lot of odours in it.  The ones that I can easily accept and appreciate though are the natural ones.  The smell of roses or lilacs just can't be beat.  Don't try to replicate it though or it all goes awry.  Kinda like when they made Marinol~ but that's another blog.

Some plants and trees can be smelly too, most belonging to a group called Conifers.  These plants actively ooze resins full of compounds called Terpines.  Terpines smell.  When you're talking Conifers, think Pine, Spruce, and Junipers.  Terpines do many things for the plant, not the least of which is attract pollinators and detract herbivores.

Without Terpines in plants, Gin would not be Gin.  Bitters, Aperitifs, and Digestifs would not exist either.  And without Terpines, Cannabis would not smell as pungent as it often does.

There's a legal Cannabis grower in Markham Ontario who is being told that the smell of his medicine's Terpines are bothering his neighbors.  Wei Gao is legally allowed to grow 146 plants in a lovely home that is situated in a residential area across the street from an elementary school. Parents say that the smell coming out of the exhaust fans is extreme, often forcing them to throw out items of clothing due to permeating smells.  But due to the recent changes to the Medical Marijuana program in Canada, if Gao moves his garden, he risks losing his license to grow his own medicine.

Interestingly, as stated in the article on a well known smell and taste expert named Dr. Hirsch from the US states that it would be impossible for the smell to attach itself to clothes' fibres if it was released into the air, as it is from an exhaust pipe.  This Doc goes further to call this scenario victim of a phenomenon known as "expectation effect" where once a scent is identified by one person, others in a group will think they smell it simply because they expect to smell it.

"Sniff sniff ... is this diaper dirty ... I can't tell anymore."  :)          

This odour is the smell of germination, vegetation, and flowering.  This isn't toxic waste being incinerated and it's not TRS gases from a pulp & paper plant either!  This is the smell of medicine growing.

The area's MP Paul Colandra is a conservative, so he shares his party's stance on the eradication of legal Cannabis growing at home.  Yet, if this were handled properly, this entire situation could be a massively effective teachable moment.

I mean, those opposed to growing at home say it is a safety and fire hazard.
Show them it's not Mr. Gao!

They say it can cause mold and insect infestation in a home.
Show them it doesn't Mr. Gao!

They say your garden could attract break-ins.
Show them how secure you have that garden Mr. Gao!

 If you invite them in ... they will learn ... do I hear a school trip in the future??

Marketers of scented products across the gamut know about Terpenes.  At least they know which ones they want to reverse-engineer and put in your ... everything.  People spend oodles of cash on scented candles that attempt to replicate the terpenes in the Spruce tree.  For eons the interiors of jewelry boxes and such were lined with Cedar wood because of those wonderfully pungent compounds.  And real alchemic perfumers the world over know exactly which terpene makes you feel what.

In the end, what I truly see is that Dr. Hirsch has it bang on.  But let's take that phenomenon out to the macro view.  Rather than someone identifying the smell as Cannabis and others agreeing, we see them identifying the smell as something illegal or 'bad' and others agreeing simply because they don't know anything about Cannabis Sativa or Indica in it's growing form.  The odour coming out of that exhaust won't get you or your kids high.  Blood tests will not come back with cannabinoids in them. Even if someone broke into that home and ate a flower, very little would happen. Cannabis is not psychoactive in it's growing form!

There is so much to learn from this plant and the people who grow her.  In my modest experience I've ingested weed that smells like sweet straw, and I've ingested weed that smelled like Napoleon after a long battle.  I've ingested onion-y smelling flowers, and I've ingested blueberry smelling flowers.

How does all of that happen?


Suddenly I wish I'd become an elementary school teacher ... just imagine all of the wonders that that garden has for those kids to learn.

Now that's a different view on the situation.  Dear Parents ... would you ever consider that?

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