Understanding Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effects

Understanding Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effects

Maximum people are unaware that cannabis terpenes have an important role in the effects and benefits of the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are also important to benefit the plant, but they are not only responsible. However, terpenes show some interaction with these cannabinoids and alter effects. To get the maximum benefit from the consumption of cannabis, the profile or content of a strain’s terpene is as significant as the cannabinoids. Terpenes truly describe the diversity of cannabis chemovars, previously called strains.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes, also known as terpenoids, are aromatic compounds present naturally in plants and develop various kinds of scents that look like lavender, mint, or lemons. They are the main constituents of essential oils and are accountable for the aroma feature of cannabis. Terpenes are hydrocarbons stored and made in the trichomes, and when the plant cures and dries along with the flower of cannabis, the terpenes start to get oxidized and change into terpenoids.

Terpenes are taken out to sum up the scents and flavors of various everyday usable things, such as, but not limited to, foods, body products and perfumes. Plants secrete terpenes for many purposes, like repelling predators and attracting various pollinators, especially bees, to protect the plant from any damage and help it to enhance immunity. Terpenes are not only credible for the aroma of cannabis but also provide a therapeutic potential for the users of cannabis. For instance, various terpenes are used for airway dilation, sleep, softness, mental focus, relaxation, and various others to provide immunity against many bacteria.

For many centuries, the Indica vs. Sativa dichotomy has been used to differentiate various strains of cannabis. Now we can tell the various effects of different strains of cannabis-based on the profiles of terpenes and cannabinoids. In “The Cannabis Sativa versus Cannabis Indica Debate: An Interview with Ethan Russo, MD,” published in the academic journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, using the Indica vs. Sativa dichotomy to distinguish between the strains of cannabis is not accepted by the science of cannabis, argued by Dr. Ethan Russo. His point of view was that “ Dr. Russo says, prospective commerce must authorize accurate and complete terpene and cannabinoid profiles to be available.”

How Terpenes Affect Cannabis?

As per medical news today, Various terpenes are bioactive, which implies that these terpenes have a biological impact on the body. There are more than 200 terpenes present in cannabis. Scientists are trying to find those combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids which can have better benefits and experiences. For instance, mixing linalool and THC can be proven helpful in countering bad memory impacts and help to keep a clear focus and mind. Mixing CBG and pinene is beneficial for patients having methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Moreover, it was found in the 2018 study that those people who take CBD-rich terpene extracts get more benefits than those taking CBD-isolate extracts.

Terpenes have the property to stimulate the absorption of cannabinoids and provide therapeutic properties. By developing cannabinoid absorption, terpenes have much more effects. In other words, they can reduce or enhance the absorption of compounds such as THC, which is accountable for the psychoactive impacts of cannabis. The terpene’s effects on cannabis are also based on preservation techniques and boiling points. This all is possible only because these terpenes and cannabinoids get bonded to the receptors preventing our body in the endocannabinoid system. The term ‘entourage effect’ was coined by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam to explain the synergistic impact that occurs when the different products present in cannabis are consumed together in comparison to taken in isolation.

Follow your nose when you are going to pick a strain or chemovars for medical purposes. Go through the Certificate of Analysis (COA) to get the content of cannabinoids and terpene in your favorite products. It is possible that COA may not be accurate all the time, but when you are finding any such product, check its contents, stick with it and make use of as little amount as you can to avoid tolerance. With time, you will understand that the particular terpenes take your attention, and you will feel the medical benefits you were searching for. However, it is recommended that interested persons first consult a professional healthcare provider. Never go for self-medication, self-treatment, or self-diagnosis. And there is a need for more research to better understand the effects of cannabis terpenes on our body.

Differences Between Terpenes and THC

The cannabinoids are organic combinations that are core sent in a high concentration in the plants of cannabis, while terpenes are considered aromatic compounds. Various terpenes can interact with the endocannabinoid system of our body similarly, but the difference is in the absorption and utilization process by the body. While THC is a proactive compound and interacts with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, terpenes are not intoxicants. They stimulate the simpler absorption of chemicals into the bloodstream and brain while starting the secretion of norepinephrine, GABA, dopamine, and serotonin.

The 6 Most Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis

We know that there are mainly 6 terpenes in cannabis, and every terpene has different advantages. Let’s see them one by one to determine which one has the benefits which you require.

Terpene #1: Myrcene

In the cannabis plant, the commonly occurring terpene is Myrcene, which is also present in other plants such as hops. This terpene has a musky, spicy smell and is present in mango, lemongrass, and thyme. While consuming this Myrcene terpene, one can benefit from it as it has antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties impact pain relief, serve as the best agent for sleep in insomnia patients and prevent the damage of DNA of our body from the external toxic agents, which otherwise can lead to cancer. Additionally, cannabinoid crosses the brain with the help of this terpene and enables powerful impacts of THC. Strains that are elevated in myrcene comprise ACDC, Granddaddy Purple, OG Kush, Critical Mass, and Purple Urkle.

Terpene #2: Pinene

The most researched terpenes among all are pinene, which is found in cannabis and is present in two species called alpha and beta-pinene. These terpenes produce a peppery, citrusy and earthy smell. The smell of alpha-pinene is like dill, basil hops, and parsley, while the smell of beta-pinene is more like rosemary and pine needles. This popular terpene is useful in developing mental focus, reducing inflammation, enhancing energy levels, bronchodilators, combating cancer, antiviral, antiseptic, and protecting against dementia. Great strains elevated in this terpene include Dutch Treat, Jack Herer, Bubba Kush, Harlequin, and Blue Dream.

Terpene #3: Limonene

This limonene terpene is produced in the rinds and peels of citrus fruits and provides a scent signature to fruits like lemons and oranges. The benefits of this terpene are reducing pain, antimicrobial agent, reducing inflammation, suppressing appetite, being anticarcinogenic, relieving depression and stress, antifungal role and alleviating nausea. Prominent strains outstanding in limonene include Durban Poison, OG Kush, Lemon OG, Bruce Banner, Sour Diesel, and Trainwreck.

Terpene #4: Linalool

The terpene linalool is accountable for the aroma of birch and lavender. This type of terpene is present in more than 200 plants, including coriander, so there are chances that you have already consumed this particular terpene. Various benefits of this terpene are alleviating anxiety and stress, repelling mosquitoes, antimicrobial activity, anti-epileptic properties, and reducing inflammation. Important strains elevated in this terpene include Purple Urkle, Amnesia Haze, Granddaddy Purple, and Lavender Kush.

Terpene #5: Humulene

The Humulene terpene has Woody, spicy, and earthy notes. This terpene smells like cloves, sage, ginger, and black pepper, among other herbs. The various benefits of this terpene include reducing inflammation, anti-cancer properties, suppressing appetite, bacteria-fighting properties, promoting wound healing, anti-proliferative as well as relieving pain (like an analgesic). Great strains high in this terpene include Girl Scout Cookies, Sour Diesel, Skywalker OG, Pink Kush, and White Widow.

Terpene #6: Caryophyllene

The terpene Caryophyllene has a spicy scent and can be found in cinnamon, black pepper, rosemary and cloves. The benefits of Caryophyllene include cancer inhibition, alleviating depression, stress, pain and anxiety, reducing inflammation in case of arthritis, and keeping glucose level in balance in diabetes case.
. Prominent strains that are elevated in this terpene comprise Sour Diesel, Death Star, Cookies and Cream, Chemdog, and Girl Scout Cookies.

Lesser-Known Terpenes to Explore


Various terpenes are lesser known and are present in very few concentrations in marijuana. Here are some points regarding them which are worthy of being known:

Terpene #1: Ocimene

This terpene is the lesser known one but is generally present in nature. This ocimene has a fascinating smell commonly used in perfume industries, as it has a fascinating floral, citrusy and sweet scent. The terpene smell is available in the orchids, parsley and mint. The usefulness of this terpene comprises antifungal properties, pain relief, antitumor activity, reduction in inflammation, and anticonvulsant properties. The staring present in this terpene includes Strawberry Cough, Golden Goat, and Lemon Sour Diesel.

Terpene #2: Terpinolene

This terpene is generally found in the strains of cannabis but is present in very small concentrations. This terpene has a piney and sweet smell that is similar to camphor, mint, and menthol. It is frequently found in various botanicals such as sagebrush, wormwood, and mugwort. The best benefits of this terpene are neuroprotective, relieving pain and insomnia, reducing inflammation, anti-anxiety effects, alleviating stress, and antioxidants. The strains involved in this terpene are Orange Cookies, Dutch Treat, and Golden Pineapple.

Terpene #3: Terpineol

The terpineol is present in a very low concentration but is common in more than 150 different plants. It has a fascinating floral smell and is frequently utilized by perfume industries. The sweet and fascinating smell of this terpene is like lime blossoms, crab apple blossoms, and lilacs. The various benefits of this terpene are antibacterial activity, gastroprotective, antioxidant, reducing inflammation, antidiarrheal, alleviating pain, antiasthmatic, anticonvulsant, antitumor, and antispasmodic. They also have the property to improve the absorption of cannabinoids in the skin and boost the local impacts. The terpene’s prominent strains are Girl Scout Cookies, Jack Herer, and White Widow.

Terpene #4: Geraniol

This terpene is present in various species of plants and is the main constituent found in rose oil. As this terpene has a fascinating floral and sweet smell, it is used by various perfume industries. It can even be found in geraniums and lemons. This terpene has various properties as it can act as antimicrobial, antibacterial, insect repellant, chemopreventive, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiseptic. This terpene has strains that have rosy terpene, along with Tahoe OG, Amnesia Haze, Dutch Hawaiian, Strawberry Diesel, and Harlequin.

Terpene #5: Borneol

This terpene is used in conventional medicine of Chinese and has remained for decades as one of the main constituents in cosmetics. The Borneol terpene has a smell related to camphor and menthol. It can be found in wormwood, sagebrush, mugwort, and ginger. Its main benefits are alleviating stress, neuroprotective properties, inhibiting oxidation, relieving pain, and reducing inflammation. Strains that include this terpene are OG Kush, Amnesia Haze, and Golden Haze.

Terpene #6: Bisabolol


This terpene has a fresh, sweet, and floral scent with hints of citrus and is mainly found in chamomile. The potential advantages of this terpene include antimicrobic, anti-irritants, pain-relieving properties and anti-inflammatory. Tremendous strains encompass this terpene comprising Girl Scout Cookies, ACDC, Headband and Sour Diesel.

Terpene #7: Camphene

It smells earthy, like fir needles and is mostly found in essential oils like citronella and cypress. The potential benefits of camphene are reducing inflammation, alleviating pain, and helping in decreasing cholesterol level, which enhances heart health. Strains that include camphene comprise Banana Kush, ACDC, Strawberry Banana, and Ghost OG.

Terpene #8: Eucalyptol

This terpene, commonly known as cineol, has a minty, earthy, and spicy aroma. The eucalyptol is commonly found in bay leaves, oil of eucalyptus, mugwort and tea tree. The benefits of this terpene are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antifungal effects, as well as pain relief. Prominent strains with this terpene encompass Girl Scout Cookies, Bubba Kush, and Super Silver Haze.

Terpene #9: Nerolidol

This terpene is mostly found in tea trees, ginger, lemongrass, lavender, and jasmine. The smell of this terpene is woody and bark-like. The benefits of this terpene are helping in sleep due to the sedating impact and antimalarial and antifungal properties. It also aids in the absorption of cannabinoids by the skin. The strains of this terpene are Sour Diesel, Skywalker OG, and Jack Herer.

Terpene #10: Guaiol

It is found in guaiacum oil and cypress pine. Its smell is like that of pinene terpene and smells like a pine tree. This terpene has many beneficial effects of insecticidal and antimicrobial and is even utilized in traditional medicine. The strains of this terpene are ACDC, Jillybean and Pennywise.

Terpene #11: Delta 3 Carene

This terpene is found in cedar, rosemary, and turpentine. It has a sweet aroma, also cedar and pungent-like. The benefits of this terpene include promoting mental focus, decongestant, and reducing inflammation. It can also cause dry eyes. Super Lemon Haze, Skunk, and AK-47 are the strains in which terpene is found.


As we know that various aromatic compounds which are consumed along with cannabis products are very beneficial for alleviating various symptoms. While deciding which strain will be beneficial for particular symptoms based on the profile of terpene and cannabinoids, it is also significant that you should steer clear of synthetically originated terpenes as they have unfavorable effects on you. To get more information, kifdoctors are always here to help you. At last, taking cannabis along with terpene content benefits you and makes you enjoyable as the aromas can tease your sense of smell and provide you with a good flavor and impact of the flower.

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