What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes give cannabis strains their unique aromas.

HIGHLIGHTS

Terpenes are fragrant oils found in many types of plants that produce a unique taste and smell. The tastes and smells of the terpenes in cannabis products have a very diverse range of aromas. Strains can produce a terpene profile that is earthy, woodsy, herbal, spicy, diesel or cheesy, all the way to citrusy or sweet. There are over 100 identified terpenes, many of which are unique to the cannabis plant.

Although cannabis is often generally associated with a certain musky aroma, each strain of cannabis has its own scent. The individual scent of a strain will be based on the amount and type of terpenes present and which ones are dominant. Terpene scents range from earthy, woodsy, herbal, spicy, diesel or cheesy, all the way to citrusy or sweet.

Making this equation even more complex, each terpene can itself have multiple aroma profiles. Also, terpene levels can vary from crop to crop, which can lead to inconsistencies in the scents within the same strain.

Why are Terpenes Important?

We all have individual preferences for smells and tastes, so knowing the terpene profile of a cannabis product can help you choose one with a scent and flavour profile you’d most likely prefer.

Though it is still under review, the terpenes are thought to aid in the effects one feels after consuming cannabis. Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, and is responsible for a citrus taste and relaxing effect. Caryophyllene is the second most abundant terpene, and has a spicy taste with possible anti-inflammatory properties. Pinene is a much more uplifting terpene, used typically for creativity, and just like the name, has a pine taste. Limonene, like myrcene, is on the citrus side of taste and can offer relief from feelings of nervousness. Finally, linalool naturally occurs in plants like lavender and rose giving off a floral scent, and may have properties like limonene. 

 

Top 5 Most Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis 

Myrcene

Pinene

Limonene

Linalool

Beta-Caryophyllene