Terpenes in Cannabis: What are They and Why are They Important?

Terpenes in Cannabis: What are They and Why are They Important?

Terpenes are powerful aromatic compounds that give plants their distinctive smell, attracting pollinators and deterring predators. You’ll find terpenes in flowers, fruits, herbs, green leafy vegetables, and spices. They are the key elements contained in many essential oils, and believe it or not, they’re present in cleaning products too!

The total number of known terpenes is greater than 20,000. With Cannabis Sativa plants producing no less than 100. The specific terpenes present in a marijuana strain gives that strain its trademark scent, whether lemon, funky fuel, berry or other. When present in a CBD oil, a specific terpene gives the oil its special aroma.


The Entourage Effect

In relation to their nature of interaction with cannabinoids, terpenes are famous for their entourage effect. Putting it down simply, terpenes collaborate with cannabinoids to make it easier for the latter to penetrate into our bloodstream, thereby reducing the blood-to-brain obstacle.

Depending on the particular terpene present, you may feel the effects of a strain to a lesser or greater degree. So, working together, terpenes and cannabinoids together can heighten the combined effect or mellow it down.

This property shows great promise in therapeutic application. For example, the intoxicating effects of a compound high in THC can be tempered with a terpene that has anti-anxiety properties.


Similarly, CBD oils made of hemp from the greenhouse seeds, additionally incorporate terpene benefits for the skin such as freshness, nourishment and a soothing feel.

More Benefits of Terpenes

In addition to the entourage effect, terpenes are known for

  • antidepressant activity
  • increasing relaxation by increasing GABA 
  • increasing dopamine for increased pleasure and better emotion regulation

The Right Environment for the Right Terpene

Terpene cultivators are now able to develop superior cannabis strains that deliver the desired patient experiences. They give considerable importance to standardizing environmental conditions for the particular medical strain they wish to develop.

Why standardize? The answer is because terpene cultivation is greatly influenced by abiotic aspects such as temperature, light intensity, and humidity.

The Most Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis

Here’s a brief look at 5 of the better-known terpenes found in cannabis to help you understand these compounds better.


It is the terpene most copiously found in cannabis (sometimes 50 to 65 percent of total terpene present), with strains such as Skunk XL, Special Kush, and White Widow being rich in it.

Interestingly, any Myrcene percentage above 0.5 percent results in a couch-lock feeling. Myrcene is also found in mangoes, lemongrass, hops, and basil. Therapeutically, it may be helpful as a muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory agent or sedative.


True to its name, this terpene gives off the smell of lemons or even of oranges and grapefruits. It is found in a number of cannabis strains including Sour Diesel, Jack the Ripper, and O.G. Kush and also in citrus fruits.

Its noted benefits include stress reduction, mood elevation, and antibacterial and antifungal action. It is suitable for use in ointments and tinctures because it enhances the taking in of chemicals and other terpenes by the skin.

5 Common Terpenes


Found in strains such as White Widow, Pink Kush, and Scout Cookies, Humulene has notes of woody, earthy and spicy.

No wonder it is also present in coriander, basil, and cloves. Benefits attributed to this strain include pain and inflammation reduction, appetite suppression, and fighting bacterial infection.

Delta 3 Carene

A natural ingredient of turpentine with a pungent, woody and sweet odor, Delta 3 Carene can be found in Super Lemon Haze, Arjan’s Ultra Haze #2, and Super Silver Haze.

Medically, it assists with memory retention and healing broken bones. Thus, it offers hope to people suffering from Alzheimer’s, and those afflicted with arthritis and osteoporosis.


Borneol is present in strains such as Amnesia Haze and K13 Haze and also in camphor, rosemary and mint. The terpene finds application in acupuncture and can help relieve anxiety and mental fatigue. It also has impressive insect repelling qualities and so is ideal to keep diseases such as the West Nile virus caused by ticks, mosquitoes, and fleas, away.

Using CBD oil and nano enhanced hemp oil made out of strains consisting these terpenes can turn out to be really beneficial for your health and wellness. You can get in touch with medical marijuana dispensaries near you to purchase strains containing your preferred terpenes. You can also order them from any online dispensary.

Author Bio

Kathy has been closely studying the cannabis industry trends from quite some time. Intrigued by the booming growth of this sector, she takes interest in penning down her views providing quality insight on current marijuana trends, particularly medical cannabis. She co-authored Supercharge Organic Traffic: A popular course focusing on Organic Traffic for Ecommerce.


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