What Are Cannabis Terpenes?

To put it simply, cannabis terpenes are the aroma given off by cannabis whether it’s being smoked or not.

You ever notice how some cannabis strains have a fruity smell while others are a bit skunkier? These differences are caused by terpenes.

By better understanding terpenes, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to better appreciate the variety of cannabis strains as a whole.

Cannabis Terpenes

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Within glands that produce cannabinoids (such as CBD or THC) are aromatic oils known as terpenes. ¹ Terpenes have three important roles when it comes to the cannabis experience:

  • They create the smell of cannabis we’ve all come to love.
  • They create the taste of the cannabis strain when consumed.
  • They produce a variety of colors on the cannabis plant.

Terpenes play an essential role in the variety of cannabis strains as they have the ability to produce different feelings. For example, some terpenes will help calm you down while others will keep you focused and energized.

Terpenes have evolved for a very special reason. They’re perfect for when it comes to naturally repelling predators. Yet, at the same time, they have the ability to lure in pollinators.

There are a number of different aspects to a plant’s environment that determines what kind of terpenes it will develop, including:

  • Age / maturation
  • Climate
  • Fertilizer
  • Soil type
  • Weather

Currently, there are over 100 different known terpenes produced by the cannabis plant. And each cannabis strain you come across is named after these terpenes.

Of course, on the surface of things, terpenes play a very subtle role in the cannabis experience. However, the more you dive into terpenes, the more depth there is to explore.

And thanks to cannabis analysis labs now testing terpenes, this has become much easier.

Different Kinds of Terpenes

Considering there’s over 100 different terpenes, we could write a whole encyclopedia on the topic. However, for the sake of this article, we’re going to explore some of the most common terpenes.

Myrcene (Mc)

The most common terpene cultivated in modern commercial cannabis is Myrcene. It’s often used to grow strains that have a calming effect, including:

  • Blue Dream
  • Cherry Pie
  • Granddaddy Purple
  • OG Kush

Some have speculated that Myrcene can be used as an antioxidant and, in turn, treat medical conditions such as insomnia, pain, and inflammation.

Limonene (Lm)

Limonene is often used to grow strains that alleviate both anxiety and stress. These strains include:

  • Do-Si-Dos
  • Strawberry Banana
  • Wedding Cake
  • White Fire OG

Due to its affects on anxiety and stress, many have come to speculate that Limonene can be used to treat other mental health conditions, such as depression.

Caryophyllene (Cr)

Caryophyllene is unique compared to other terpenes as it’s the only one known to have a direct effect on our endocannabinoid system. In turn, this makes Caryophyllene another cannabinoid, similar as THC or CBD.

Common strains that are high in Caryophyllene include:

  • GSC
  • Original Glue
  • Purple Punch

Caryophyllene has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. Due to this, it may be able to treat pain and ulcers.

Terpinolene (Te)

Terpinolene may be the most common terpene found in sativa-dominant marijuana strains. Due to this, it’s known to fill people with energy and creativity.

Some strains that have Terpinolene include:

  • Chernobyl
  • Ghost Train Haze
  • Jack Herer
  • XJ-13

Terpinolene is currently being observed for its antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer properties.

Pinene (Pn)

Pinene is the most common terpene found in cannabis that grows in the wild. Some strains with this terpene include:

  • Big smooth
  • Critical mass
  • Snoop’s dream

Pinene is currently being observed for fighting against asthma, anxiety, cancer, inflammation, pain, and ulcers.

Humulene (Hu)

Another terpene found in the wild is Humulene and it’s known to produce a herbal smell. Some strains that contain Humulene include:

  • Gelato
  • GSC
  • Sherbert

Humulene has very strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Ocimene (On)

This terpene is commonly used in perfume for it’s earthy/citrusy aroma. Some cannabis strains that contain Ocimene include:

  • Amnesia
  • Clementine
  • Dutch Treat

Ocimene may be able to aid people as an antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, decongestant, and antibacterial.

Linalool (Ln)

Linalool has a distinct floral smell to it and has been known to promote calmness in people who consume it. Strains that contain Linalool include:

  • Do-Si-Dos
  • Kosher Kush
  • Zkittlez

Final Thoughts

Many of these terpenes can be found in other naturally grown plants. With that said, you can still benefit from all of these without having to consume cannabis.

Still, one of the perks to cannabis is you not only receive the terpenes it produces, but also the various cannabinoids that work alongside your endocannabinoid system.

Understanding terpenes can help you figure out which strains work best for you. If you’re new to this industry, we highly recommend you experiment around with these terpenes to get a sense of your preference.

Your Questions

Still have questions concerning cannabis terpenes?

We invite you to ask them in the comments section below. If you have any further information you’d like to share, we’d also love to hear from you.

Reference Sources

¹ PubMed: Medicinal Properties of Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids in Cannabis

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