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All About Terpenes

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that add the scent and flavors to any plant, like pine, citrus, and musk. These compounds are non psychoactive and in the cannabis plant, they are produced in the trichomes, along with cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Terpenes work in collaboration with cannabinoids to help treat physical and mental ailments, this is called the ‘Entourage Effect‘. Each terpene has its own unique flavor profile that allows each strain of cannabis it’s distinct scent and flavor. Let’s break down the most common terpenes found in cannabis and the benefits they bring to each strain. 


Myrcene is one of the most common monoterpenes found in plants and fruits, including cannabis. It is found in 50% of all terpene content found in individual strains. Myrcene’s effects on the blood-brain barrier and other factors related to blood flow make it a key player in the entourage effect. Myrcene is found in everyday seasonings, food, and plants like bay, parsley, lemongrass, wild thyme, cardamom, hops and mango. This terpene gives cannabis its earthy scent and is commonly used in cosmetics and fragrances. Strains with high myrcene levels are spicy, earthy and musky with sweet undertones. There are abundant effects of Myrcene, including anti-inflammatory properties, sedative effects, antioxidants, and more. Strains with high levels of Myrcene include OG Kush, Grape Ape, and Blue Dream. 


Limonene is one of the most abundant monoterpenes found in the cannabis plant. It is produced in the resin glands and gives strains a citrusy scent and flavor profile. This terpene naturally appears in mint, juniper, rosemary, and pine and can be extracted from peels of lemon and other citrus fruit. Limonene has been shown to gather in fatty tissue, which is one reason why it is used for prevention and treatment of breast cancer and other tumors that are found in fatty regions of the body. Not only does Limonene have anti-tumor properties, it also helps with mood elevation,  treatments for diabetes, and antifungal properties, along with numerous other benefits. Strains with high levels of Limonene include Wedding Cake, Do-Si-Dos, and MAC. 


Caryophyllene is the terpene with the most potential medical benefits because of the way it interacts with the CB2 receptor found in the endocannabinoid system, and is the only terpene to directly activate the CB2 receptor, which can affect short and long term brain health and mental well being. This terpene is found in black pepper, basil, oregano and cinnamon and gives a spicy, funky warmth to the nose. This terpene is a big immune booster and is commonly used by cancer patients who are more susceptible to infections because of their weakened immune system and can also help with addiction. Other benefits of Caryophyllene includes inflammation and pain relief and more. Popular strains that have high levels of Caryophyllene include Girl Scout Cookies, Bubba Kush, and Gelato.


Terpinolene, while found in plenty of cannabis strains, is usually found in small amounts and is known as the “least-common common terpene”. While this strain is usually found in small amounts, the role it plays in the therapeutic properties is key in helping patients who use cannabis products. The scent profile in this terpene is more dimensional than other terpenes and shows up in a lot of commercial soaps because of the freshness. The scents that come from Terpinolene include pine, citrus, fresh, and floral and it can be found in lilacs, tea tree, nutmeg, cumin and apples. While this terpene is found in an abundance of strains, they are found in THC dominant and primarily sativa plants. The effects of Terpinolene include sedation, antifungal properties, anticancer and antioxidant properties. Strains with high levels of Terpinolene include Jack Herer, Dutch Treat, and Golden Pineapple.


Alpha-Pinene is the most researched terpene found in cannabis, and is the most prevalent terpene found in nature. This terpene can help counteract the anxiety and paranoia that is prevalent in high THC strains and works in synergy with CBD to help aid physical and mental ailments. Pinene can be found in orange peel, pine needles, rosemary, dill, basil, and parsley and gives strains the scent of pine. Recent studies have shown Pinene to help patients with Alzheimer’s, anxiety, and potentially open airways in the body to help fight bronchitis, as well as help with inflammation and more. Jack Herer, Romulan, Blue Dream, and Strawberry Cough are a few major strains with high levels of Pinene.


Humulene is a fairly under researched terpene that has similar chemical properties as Caryphyllene but has completely different structures. Humulene’s chemical structure allows it to protect the plants it’s found in against pests and disease. This terpene is found in hops, ginseng, sage, and coriander and gives cannabis a subtle woody, earthy and spicy taste and aroma. While there is more research being done to prove the benefits of Humulene, the potential benefits include anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties. Candyland, Headband, and Death Star are a few strains with high Humulene levels.


Ocimene is known to have protective properties and keeps the plant safe from harmful elements. Ocimene is found in mint, parsley and orchids and is responsible for the sweet and herabous flavors in the cannabis plant that adds citrus and woody undertones. Strawberry Cough, Lemon Sour Diesel, and Golden Goat all have high Ocimene levels which have antifungal properties that can help fight against yeasts and mold, and anti-inflammatory properties. 


Linalool works in the body differently than other terpenes: it doesn’t stick around in your body for long and doesn’t accumulate like the cannabinoids that get stored in your fatty tissues in the body and brain. This terpene is used in a lot of household cleaning products because of the scent of lavender Linalool has. It is found in rosewood, lavender, sweet basil, mint, and clove and benefits include being anti-microbial, helping with behavioral and cognitive issues associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and has sedative properties without affecting motor skills. Strains with high levels of Linalool include Amnesia Haze, Master Kush, and LA Confidential.  

Each strain has a different combination of terpenes and cannabinoids that impact the high you feel. Picking the right combination of terpenes can positively or negatively affect your experience with strains. For more information on what strains and terpenes may be best for you, talk to your Patient Consultant on your next visit.