If you have ever wondered what is the difference between your strains of dry flower, the answer is terpenes! Terpenes are the essential oils found in cannabis and are naturally occurring aromatic compounds commonly produced by plants and fruits. Terpene profiles determine the fragrances of the flower and contribute to mental effects of different strains. Terpenes can produce stimulation or sedation and are the main reason why sativas and indicas have their effects. The full role of terpenes is still being discovered. Recent studies have shown us that terpenes interact with the endocannabinoid and even mediate the flow of cannabinoids into the bloodstream, through the entourage effect.


Alpha-bisabolol (also known as levomenol and bisabolol) is a floral terpene that is used often in the cosmetic industry. Besides being found in cannabis, bisabolol can also be found in chamomile and candeia. Bisabolol has powerful medicinal effects, especially in bacterial and wound treatment. It is an effective antibacterial, analgesic, and anti-irritant. This terpene can be found in strains like ACDC and Harle-Tsu.



Caryophyllene and beta-caryophyllene are best known for their black pepper and spicy taste. This terpene can also be found in in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and spices like oregano, basil, and rosemary. There are many benefits to this terpene, including anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. Unlike any other terpene, B-caryophyllene can bind to CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. For this reason, caryophyllene, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, will be found in many topicals and creams. Some studies have used caryophyllene in alcohol rehabilitation studies, with some promise. Mice-based research showed that when administered caryophyllene, there was a reduction in voluntary alcohol intake. Future research will be done to test caryophyllene’s role in treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms.



Humulene has a earthy, woody, and spice aroma, and along with myrcene and pinene, is one of the most herbaceous and powerful terpenes in contributing to aroma. Besides being found in cannabis, this essential oil can be found in clove, basil, sage, and black pepper. One of the more surprising benefits of humlune is its appetite suppression potential. This can help combat the munchies associated with THC-rich products. In addition, there is potential for using humulene for weight loss, especially when combined with the cannabinoid THCv, which is also known for appetite suppression. In 2016, a study found that humulene, along with caryophyllene and other phytochemicals, have antitumor properties. Humulene is also a pain reliever, inflammation reducer, and antibacterial. Strains high in humulene include White Walker, Headband, and Sour Diesel.



Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in cannabis and has a citrus and lemon smell. It is no surprise that this terpene is also found in many citrus fruits, like lemons, limes, and oranges. It is also commonly used in cosmetics and cleaning products. Limonene will often be found in high quantities in strains named “lemon” or “sour”. Therapeutically, limonene is a mood-booster and a stress-crusher and has been found to increase serotonin levels in the brain. Additionally, limonene has antifungal, antitumor, and antibacterial properties. Limonene has been studied for its tumor-reducing properties.



Linalool is a relaxing terpene that can be described as both spicy and floral, due to the aroma created when mixed with myrcene. This pungent terpene can also be found in lavender, mint, cinnamon, and coriander. The sedating effects of linalool make it extremely beneficial for patients suffering from insomnia or seeking relation. Patients have also found linalool helpful for arthritis, depression, seizures, and cancer. Lavender, Master Kush, and Amnesia Haze are some strains with high linalool profiles.



Of all the terpenes naturally found in cannabis, myrcene is the most abundant. Its aroma can be described as earthy, musky, and fruity, similar to cloves and red grapes. In nature, myrcene is found in mangoes, hops, bay leaves, lemongrass, thyme, and basil. Myrcene is very sedating, in fact, strains that contain 0.5% of this terpene are typically indicas. In addition, myrcene is also anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antimutagenic, and an analgesic. Although it is therapeutic for many conditions, cancer patients may find a lot of powerful pain relief from this sedating terpene. Strains high in myrcene include 707 Headband and Bio Jesus. There is some evidence to suggest that eating a mango about 45 minutes before consuming cannabis products will lead to a stronger buzz. This is due to the fact that mangoes contain high concentrations of myrcene, which allows more cannabinoids to cross the blood-brain barrier.



Pinene’s distinct woody, pine scented aroma comes from the twin terpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. Rosemary, orange peels, basil, and parsley also contain high concentrations of pinene. Pinene has an anti-inflammatory effect and has been seen to improve airflow, indicating it may be beneficial for those with asthma. Those suffering from other inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and certain cancers, may also find relief from pinene. This terpene can be found in strains like Jack Herer, Island Sweet Skunk, and Blue Dream.



Terpinolene is a terpene known for its pine tree, woody, floral, and occasionally sweet or citrusy aroma. Due to its pleasant smell, it can often be found in soaps and perfumes. It can be found in nature in plants such as nutmeg, conifers, apples, cumin, and lilacs. Medically, terpinolene is an antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal. Terpinolene is also used for its digestive aid and anti-tumor properties. This terpene is most commonly found in sativa-dominant strains, such as Jack Herer and West Side Surprise.


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