Terpenes 101

Terpenes: a big buzz-word in the cannabis industry right now, and for good reason!

Terpenes are the aromatic compound that gives plants their smell and flavor. They’re also responsible for the effects that we’ve now categorized as Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid strains. Many think cannabinoids are mainly responsible for our high – and, while they do indeed play a big role, it’s terpenes – working synergistically with cannabinoids – that help differentiate the experience we have from each strain. This is known as the “Entourage Effect”.

Terpenes exist for a number of reasons: they help to protect plants from environmental stresses, keep certain insects at bay, and can encourage the growth of beneficial compounds (ie, cannabinoids!), while inhibiting others. They’re secreted in the same place that cannabinoids exist – the trichomes (or those crystals that coat your flower!)

There are quite a few terpenes that have been researched: Linalool, aPinene, Myrcene, Limonene, bCaryophyllene (prominently found in our Sunset Sherbert cartridge!), Humulene, and much more. Today we’ll cover 3 of the most well-known terpenes found in cannabis.


Myrcene is most commonly found in mango, thyme, lemongrass, basil, and cannabis, and is considered one of the main terpenes found in Indica-dominant strains. It has a number of therapeutic affects, from easing muscle tension and depression, to aiding in pain relief and relaxation. Because of its narcotic effects, this terpene is great for those suffering from insomnia – and for some, acting as a healthier alternative to pharmaceutical sleep aids. The aroma of myrcene is earthy and musky, and strains that have higher levels of Myrcene include Pure Kush and White Widow.


Pinene is responsible for giving cannabis that distinctive pine and fir smell, and can be found in rosemary, parsley, and pine (who knew!) It comes in two isomers: alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, and can promote alertness, improve airflow to lungs, soothe inflammation, and even counteract the short-term memory loss that accompanies THC. A few strains known for high-Pinene production include Blue Dream, Jack Herer, and OG Kush.


Limonene has a sweet and tangy nose to it, and can be found in eucalyptus, citrus peels, peppermint, and rosemary. Because it’s associated with citrus, this terpene is uplifting and great for those suffering from depression and anxiety, and also acts as an immune booster and digestive aid. While terpene levels vary from each grower, typically strains that boast high amounts of Limonene typically fall under the Sativa category, from Tangie, to Super Lemon Haze and Durban Poison.

When choosing a product, see if you can pick up on the subtle (and not-so-subtle) aromas of each terpene. Ultimately, they’ll determine your experience with that particular strain.

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