What Are Cannabis Terpenes

When most people think of the effects of cannabis, then cannabinoids such as THC and CBD come to mind. However, cannabis terpenes are another important factor which impacts the individual attributes of different strains. Terpenes are essential oils found in plants which usually determine the plant’s aroma and taste. However, like cannabinoids, they can also provide certain medical benefits when consumed.

Over a hundred different terpenes have been identified in cannabis plants, although some are more common than others. Terpenes are the reason why different strains have different flavors. They also work in synergy with cannabinoids to provide unique effects.

Here’s a guide to exactly what are cannabis terpenes and what do they do.

What Are Cannabis Terpenes?

Cannabis terpenes are one of the components of marijuana and hemp plants that contribute to the smell, taste, and effects. In essence, terpenes are compounds that can be found in all kinds of plants, although there are specific terpenes which can be found in high amounts in cannabis.

For instance, one of the most common terpenes found in marijuana is Myrcene. Myrcene often gives strains a classic citrus taste, as well as providing benefits for the relief of pain and inflammation. While over a hundred terpenes have been found in cannabis plants, there are a certain few which are found in high amounts regularly.

What Do Cannabis Terpenes Do

Cannabis strains often differ in their effects as well as their unique scents. Terpenes are non-psychoactive, but they work alongside cannabinoids to offer a range of medical benefits. Terpenes also significantly affect the smell and taste of marijuana. You’ll often notice marijuana strains resembling the tastes of different herbs, spices, and fruits. This is because they contain the same terpenes found in things like lemons, pine, mango, peppermint, and various other plants and foods.

What Do Cannabis Terpenes Do?

Terpenes are found along with cannabinoids in the trichomes of cannabis. They act as fragrant oils that give off certain aromas. They also determine how your cannabis will taste when you smoke or vape it. However, terpenes can also offer their own medical benefits.

People often use essential oils for therapeutic effects, and terpenes are no exception. A 2017 study found that there are various medical uses for terpenes. They have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic, neuroprotective, and even anticancer effects. People can often get the benefits of terpenes simply by spending time in forests, but the consumption of terpenes via cannabis can have even more potent effects on the body.

Of course, cannabinoids are also responsible for the effects of cannabis. While THC is known for delivering the psychoactive effects of cannabis, it also has many medical benefits. Likewise, other cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG, and CBDA provide additional medical benefits. Terpenes work well in conjunction with these cannabinoids to provide entourage effects, making the medical benefits of cannabis even more prominent.

Common Kinds Of Cannabis Terpenes

There are many different kinds of terpenes found in cannabis alone. However, there are a particular few which are commonly known for their prevalence and for their distinctive aromas, tastes, and effects. Here are some of the important terpenes commonly found in cannabis strains.

Pinene – Pinene is a common cannabis terpene also found in pine needles, sage, rosemary, basil, and parsley. It helps with pain, inflammation, and asthma, as well as boosting memory retention and mental focus. It has a smell and taste resembling pine. Pinene is found in strains such as OG Kush and Blue Dream.

Linalool – Linalool is notable for its floral smell and taste. It also has hints of citrus and spice. It’s found in other plants such as lavender, birch, and rosewood. Linalool has sedating, calming effects that help with insomnia, stress, depression, and anxiety. It’s found in strains like Pink Kush and Granddaddy Purple.

Caryophyllene – Caryophyllene is also found in peppers, cloves, and basil. As such, it has a woody, spicy scent. It’s said to have antioxidant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. You can get the benefits of caryophyllene in strains such as Bubba Kush and Girl Scout Cookies.

Myrcene – Myrcene is a terpene that has a musky herbal and citrus smell. It’s also found in mango, thyme, and lemongrass. It helps with the sedating and relaxing effects of cannabis. It can also enhance the psychoactive effects of THC. Myrcene is found in strains like God’s Green Crack and Northern Lights.

Limonene – As you might guess from the name, limonene is a lemon-scented terpene that’s also found in citrus fruits. It’s known to boost your mood and relieve stress, making it helpful for anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Limonene is found in citrusy strains like Lemon Haze and Lemon Sour Diesel.

Humulene – Humulene gives cannabis strains an earthy and woody scent. It’s also found in coriander and hops. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. You can get the effects of humulene in strains like Girl Scout Cookies and OG Kush.

Other common cannabis terpenes include terpinolene, ocimene, eucalyptol, and terpineol. There’s also a range of other less common terpenes which add their own unique properties.

Common Kinds Of Cannabis Terpenes

How To Get The Benefits Of Terpenes

Terpenes are naturally found in all cannabis strains, so whenever you consume cannabis, you’ll get the benefits of terpenes as well as the benefits of cannabinoids. Terpenes are also responsible for the aromas of different scents. For instance, citrus-scented strains often contain limonene, myrcene or both.

Some stores also sell terpene extracts. These can be added to foods, drinks, and other products such as vape-oils to add extra benefits as well as enhancing the taste. Terpenes are safe to consume on their own and don’t have any harmful side effects. They’re also non-addictive and can be used purely for medical benefits.


Although cannabinoids like THC and CBD get most of the credit for the beneficial effects of cannabis, terpenes can add a lot of character to cannabis strains. As well as being responsible for the pungent aromas and delicious tastes of weed, they also add their own medical benefits. Terpenes work very well in conjunction with cannabinoids and often enhance the effects of your weed without you knowing.

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