Your Go-To Guide for Terpenes

Your Go-To Guide for Terpenes

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 28.12.2020

We can likely assume that you’ve heard about all the cannabis rage that is bursting through the holistic health and wellness doors on the daily. 

With the increasing talk about the cannabis plant and its potential therapeutic benefits, more and more people have shown increase in knowing all there is to know about this magical herb. 

This need and curiosity for knowledge has people not only talking about the cannabinoids and flavonoids present in cannabis, but also the beautiful terpenes inside.

Not too long ago, people weren’t too familiar with the term “terpenes”. Even if people were cannabis users or supporters, most didn’t really know they were experiencing the effects of terpenes. 

To no surprise, terpenes are quickly becoming a hot topic for those interested in cannabis and cannabinoid products. 


What are Cannabis Terpenes?

Well, first things first, terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis its variety and distinctive flavors, such as mint, pine, and citrus. 

These organic, naturally-occurring compounds are what cause each cannabis strain to possess different scents. 

There are well over 100+ terepenes that have been discovered in the cannabis plant, so far. Each terpene develops in the same glands that produce cannabinoids, such as where tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are produced. 

Each and every strain of cannabis has a unique terpene composition and type. For example, you can find a strain with terpenes that give cannabis an almost “cheese-like”smell. This distinct scent may have cheese connoisseurs salivating at the mouth in seconds. You can also find cannabis strains that smell like blueberries, another scrumptious scent that users are commonly drawn to. 



This is a huge breath of fresh air for those who are wanting variety to choose from in the cannabis world - there may be something for everyone (and maybe your pup too)!

Beyond just the unique aromas of different cannabis varieties, terpenes also provide so much more. 

Similar to other plants, the cannabis plant naturally creates terpenes as a defense mechanism - repelling away insects. 

Various factors can influence the development of cannabis terpenes, such as: 

  • Fertilizers used
  • Climate
  • Weather
  • Maturation
  • Time of day
  • Soil Type 

Why are Terpenes Important?

Think of puzzle pieces: once you find which one connects to which, you can clink them together, adding to the bigger picture. You can think of terpenes in this way! Terpenes bind to the receptors in the brain, influencing the effects and health benefits an individual may experience. 

The characteristics of terpenes are super interesting, but more importantly, what terpenes do when they are combined with other cannabinoids is stellar. 

The interaction of terpenes with other cannabinoids may have admirable effects for users. In particular, terpenes and cannabinoids work together to boost and change the effects of one another in the body’s endocannabinoid system, ECS, for short. 



Experts have even been able to breed specific terpenes to contain high and low levels of THC, the cannabinoid known to cause a “high” in users. 

Many people think of THC as the main or only compound in the cannabis plant, getting users “stoned”. Fortunately enough, the medical world is taking cannabis into a new light: highlighting the therapeutic benefits and findings of CBD. 

While there have been well over 100+ phytocannabinoids identified so far in the cannabis plant, there are 8 terpenes that are most commonly found. 

Here is a short-detailed profile for the eight ommon terpenes, with some of the potential health benefits and scent descriptions. 

1. Beta-Caryophyllene

Potential Effects: Help manage stress levels

Potential Health Benefits: Help maintain emotional balance, discomfort, support healthy inflammation

Aroma: wood, cloves, spicy, pepper

Found in: cloves, black pepper, cinnamon

2. Alpha-Pinene

Potential Effects: Maintain alertness, promote relaxation, counteract effects of THC, support normal memory

Potential Health Benefits: Support healthy immunity, fight free radicals, help with occasional discomfort

Aroma: Pine trees, pine leaves

Found in: rosemary, pine needles, parsley, dill

3. Linalool

Potential Effects: promote relaxation

Potential Health Benefits: Promote healthy brain activity and nerve function, emotinal balance, occasional discomfort, healthy inflammatory response

Aroma: floral

Found in: lavender 



4. Terpinolene

Potential Effects: promote relaxation

Potential Health Benefits: promote pathogen defense

Aroma: floral, herbal, piney

Found in: tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin, lilacs, nutmeg 

5. Humulene

Potential Health Benefits: support healthy inflammation

Aroma: woody, earthy, hops

Found in: coriander, cloves, basil, hops

6. Ocimene

Potential Health Benefits: promotes pathogen defense

Aroma: sweet, herbal, woody

Found in: pepper, parsely, mint, basil, mangoes, orchids, kumquats

7. Myrcene

Potential Effects: Help maintain calmness and relaxation

Potential Health Benefits: help with discomfort and distress, supporting healthy inflammation 

Aroma: musky, cardamom, cloves, herbal, earthy

Found in: mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops


8. Limonene

Potential Effects: help managing stress, promoting relaxation

Potential Health Benefits: help with discomfort, support healthy inflammation, fight free radicals, help with emotional balance

Aroma: citrus, citrus fruits

Found in: juniper, rosemary, peppermint, fruit rinds

The Entourage Effects and Terpenes

Every one of us, including our furry friends, has an endocannabinoids system (ECS). Similar to our immune systems, our ECS works to regulate, protect, and restore the body. The balance of terpenes and cannabinoids in CBD, for instance, encourages the ECS to operate more efficiently, promoting over homeostasis.

Specialists may be able to manipulate the terpenes in order to achieve different effects too. Crazy right?

For instance, myrcene can increase the effects of THC, which can promote relaxation in users. It can also help with fighting free radicals and help with distress. Myrcene can help reduce resistance in the blood-brain barrier, allowing for easier passage for other beneficial compounds. 



Each terpene has its own ways that it can benefit an individual. When terpenes, such as myrcene, caryophyllene, and pinene, are combined they can result in an effective formula, helping people maintain calmness and emotional balance. 

In addition, when scientists combine terpenes limonene and linalool with CBD, they have reported that it may be beneficial in skin health and inflammation. 

What is Plant Medicine?

Whole cannabis plant extractions can include THC, CBD and 100+ naturally occurring compounds. 

This is where the “entourage effect” comes into play. Many researchers believe that the potential benefits of whole plant cannabis are more impactful than the parts itself. 

Thus, this is why full-spectrum CBD products have been shown to provide more benefits than CBD isolate products. Full-spectrum CBD contains numerous cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, in addition to CBD. 

A Guide to Terpenes: Final Thoughts

The conversations surrounding weed, marijuana, hemp, and cannabis are continuing to grow, change, and approach misconceptions one study at a time. 

Luckily, we live in a time where there is plenty of information at the touch of a screen, in an instant. Hence, we can search for information quickly and efficiently. 



But of course, with all this information, comes misinformation. There is still a large amount of uncertainty and misinformation in the world of cannabis and CBD still. 

If we can continue to talk about cannabis and its therapeutic potential, we may be able to help educate ourselves and others on this magical herb. We can also work to put an end to the stigmas surrounding “Mary J” and getting high. 

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