What Are Cannabis Terpenes?
Cannabis terpenes are a fast-growing trend that can take both your understanding of cannabis and experience with CBD to the next level.
While many assume they aren’t familiar terpenes, almost everyone has had experience with them. Terpenes are the aromatic compounds that are produced in plants, fruits, and herbs, including cannabis.
From strains with earthy tones to floral bouquets, or even a rush of pure lemony pine — those amazing scents that secrete from the cannabis plant are thanks to terpenes.
But what exactly terpenes, how many are there, and what do they do? In this article, we’ll answer these important questions and more.
Let’s dive in.
The Basics of Cannabis Terpenes
Terpenes are produced in the same sticky resin glands that produce cannabinoids like CBD and THC; however, rather than impact the body through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) as cannabinoids do, terpenes act on the body’s olfactory system. In other words, our sense of smell, which studies have revealed can have profound effects on the physiological and psychological state of the mind.
When combined with the impact of multiple cannabinoids interacting with the endocannabinoid system, terpenes can actually enhance the effects of cannabinoids to deliver a phenomenon known as the “Entourage Effect.”
With hundreds of different terpenes, each with their own unique, aromatic fragrances, terpenes play a powerful role in how cannabis impacts the body and mind.
While it would take a 300+ page book to properly discuss all of the terpenes in cannabis, here are 7 of the most common or dominant cannabis terpenes and how they can potentially affect the mind and body by acting on its olfactory system.
Dominant Cannabis Terpenes and Their Potential Effects
- Fragrance/Aroma: pungent pine
- Heat of Combustion: 311°F
- Potential Therapeutic Effects: alertness and memory retention
Easily identified by its strong, natural pine odor, alpha-Pinene is one of the most dominant of the cannabis terpenes. Its lively flavor has shown to help stimulate alertness, increased mood, and a stronger recollective memory compared to other terpenes.
- Fragrance/Aroma: Woody, peppery, spicy cloves
- Heat of Combustion: 266°F
- Potential Therapeutic Effects: May relieve stress
Caryophyllene secrets a unique aroma that is filled with rich, spicy earth tones with hints of sweet floral notes. Unlike the other terpenes, Caryophyllene is the only terpene that is known to interact directly with the ECS and has shown to help moderate stress and may reduce inflammation.
- Fragrance/Aroma: Woody, earthy hops
- Heat of Combustion: 222°F
- Potential Therapeutic Effects: Can suppress hunger
Commonly related to the fragrance of hops, Humelene secretes an earthy aroma that is herbaceous and woody. It is a powerful terpene that has shown to exhibit natural anti-bacterial properties and is commonly recognized for its appetite-suppressing effects.
- Fragrance/Aroma: Citrus
- Heat of Combustion: 348°F
- Potential Therapeutic Effects: May relieve stress and elevate mood
The fact that limonene sounds like lemon or lime is no coincidence. Limonene is a terpene that is found in almost all fruits in the citrus family, like lemons, limes and grapefruits, and boasts a trademark zesty, citrus aroma. Limone is commonly produced in Sativa strains and has shown to help stimulate alertness, alleviate stress and anxiety, and increase the mood of the user.
- Fragrance/Aroma: Rich floral with light notes of sweet herbaceous
- Heat of Combustion: 388°F
- Potential Therapeutic Effects: May sedate the consumer, and may enhance mood
One of the primary terpenes produced in lavender, Linalool is the source of the plant’s signature smell. Similar to the effects of lavender essential oil, linalool acts as a natural sedative and has shown to help alleviate stress and anxiety.
- Fragrance/Aroma: Floral herbal scent with a light pine musk
- Heat of Combustion: 366°F
- Potential Therapeutic Effects: Relaxing sedative
Known for its strong presence in the cannabis strain Jack Herer, terpinolene delivers a sweet, welcoming, floral fragrance that almost smells like a sweet berry. Terpinolene has shown to exhibit powerful antioxidant properties and is commonly reported to help boost the mood of the user and deliver light sedative effects.
How Terpenes Impact Your Experience with CBD and Cannabis
With such a wide variety of terpenes, each with its own unique aroma impact on the olfactory system, terpenes can significantly impact how cannabis impacts the mind and body.
While exploring the hundreds of different cannabis terpenes and understanding how each terpene, as well as the combination of numerous terpenes with different combinations of cannabinoids, could take a lifetime to fully grasp, even rudimentary knowledge of terpenes can be used to help increase how you understand and use cannabis.
If you truly one to unlock the true potential of the cannabis plant, you must understand its inner constituents. Once you do, you can craft the perfect formula of terpenes and cannabinoids to deliver the desired effects for your situation as well as help others achieve the same.