The terpenes in cannabis are primarily responsible for the signature, sometimes hypnotic, aroma of our favourite plant. There are over 200 terpenes within cannabis and many of these terpenes are also found in common fruits and vegetables, as well as other flowering plants.
Terpenes are naturally developed by plants such as cannabis in order to repel predators and attract pollinators. These terpenes are affected by many factors including temperature, sunlight, soil types, and general climate, to name a few.
Experienced cannabis consumers, such as our very own Cannabis Sommelier, are able to tell if a strain has come from an Afghan, Haze, or Kush lineage by identifying the front-facing smell (of terpenes) from a cannabis bud. It seems hard to believe, but, this is truly a useful skill that can be developed by anyone.
Learn more about the 10 most common terpenes and their benefits below.
The 10 Most Common Terpenes in Cannabis
Pinene smells of pine, as the name suggests, and can be found in other naturally occurring herbs such as sage and rosemary. Many kush strains will have a heavy smell of pinene.
Linalool is recognizable as a flowery scent, naturally found in laurels, lavender, and rosewood.
Myrcene can be identified as having an earthy-like scent with notes of orange peels or citrus fruits such as lemons. Myrcene may also exhibit red fruits or spice scents. Naturally found in mangoes, thyme, and hops, myrcene is a highly sought after terpene.
Terpineol has a woody scent and is often found alongside pinene. This terpene occurs naturally in pine trees, lilacs, and over 150 other plants.
Humulene is an earthier and woodier smelling terpene, often found in strains with an Afghani lineage. Humulene also contains notes of basil, ginseng, coriander, and sage.
The limonene terpene is one of the most recognizable from its unique smell. Limonene exhibits a much stronger citrus smell than myrcene does and this terpene is also found in oranges and lemons. Many strains with a Haze lineage will exhibit the smell of Limonene as its major scent.
Caryophyllene is spicy and woody, exhibiting notes of cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, oregano, or rosemary.
Bisabolol is a terpene that smells like a bed of flowers and tastes of chamomile. In addition, bisabolol also occurs naturally within the candeia tree, native to Brazil.
Eucalyptol is slightly minty, and cool smelling, similar to the Eucalyptus tree that is native to Australia.
This terpene has citrus, floral, and woody smelling qualities. Nerolidol tastes of jasmine, ginger, citronella, and tea tree.
The Benefits of Terpenes
There is a multitude of benefits that come with consuming terpenes, whether it is from cannabis or other plants, fruits or vegetables. The medical studies used as sources are all listed at the end of this article.
Terpenes such as Pinene, Limonene, Terpineol, Caryophyllene, Humulene, Bisabolol, and Linalool have all shown positive evidence as effective anti-inflammatories.
Pain, such as the pain experienced from the side effects of treatments, sports injuries, and more, can be helped with the use of terpenes such as Linalool, Myrcene, Humulene, Eucalyptol, and Bisabolol.
Antibacterial and Antifungal
Terpenes such as Nerolidol, Eucalyptol, Bisabolol, and Humulene have all shown benefits within antibacterial and antifungal applications.
As well as these benefits, terpenes can also be helpful for those with Chron’s Disease, sleeping issues, asthma, and terpenes may also help to stop the spread of malignant cells within the body.
Does Cooking with Cannabis Destroy the Terpenes Present?
A passive decarboxylation is perhaps the most efficient and flavourful when it comes to retaining the terpene content of your cannabis flower. Different terpenes will burn off at different points of temperature and anyways, cannabis edibles’ main strength comes from THC, not from terpenes.
Arguably, the mason jar decarboxylation method is one of the most efficient in keeping some of the terpenes intact without completing a passive decarboxylation. Our Cannabis Chef Neil Menzie from T.H.Sea Creations recommends the mason jar method as a way to decarboxylate for cannabis edibles, even for beginners.
How are Terpenes Used in Other Products Besides Cannabis?
As mentioned, terpenes are naturally found in hundreds of plants, fruits, and vegetables. Not to mention, everyday household items such as:
Perfumes and Cosmetics
Candles & Air Fresheners
As you can see, terpenes are highly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways that benefit the human body, as well as smelling great.
Thank you for reading “The 10 Most Common Terpenes in Cannabis”, sharing this on social media helps us grow and provide the latest cannabis information available. All of our sources for this article are listed below.
- Skin Repair properties of d-Limonene and Perillyl Alcohol In Murine Models. D’Alessio, Michahi, & Bisson. (2014)
- Human Breast Tissue And Bioactivity of Limonene In Women With Early-Stage Breast Cancer. Miller, Lang, & Ley. (2013).
- Anti-inflammatory Activity of Linalool And Linalyl Acetate Constituents of Essential Oils. Peana, D’Aquila, & Panin. (2002).
- Anticonvulsant Activity of The Linalool Enantiomers and Racemate: Investigation of Chiral Influence. De Sousa, Nobrega, & Santos (2010)
- Effects of Myrcene on Nociception In Mice. Rao, Menezes, & Viana (1990)
- Central Effects of Citral, Myrcene, And Limonene, Constituents of Essential Oil Chemotypes. Do Vale, Furtado, & Santos (2002)
- Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy And PhytoCannabinoid-Terpenoid Entourage Effects. Russo (2011).
- Upper Airway And Pulmonary Effects of Oxidization Products Of (+)-Alpha-Pinene, DLimonene, And Isoprene In BALB/c Mice. Rohr, Wilkens, & Clausen (2002)
- A-Terpinol, A Monoterpene Alcohol, Complexed With B-Cyclodextrin Exerts Antihyperalgesic Effect In Animal Model For Fibromyalgia. Oliveira, Brito, & Santos (2016)
- Alpha-Terpineol: A Potential Anticancer agent Which Acts Through Suppressing NF-KB Signalling. Hassan, Gail-Muhtasib, & Goransson (2010)