What Are Cannabis Terpenes And What Are Their Benefits?

Terpeni presenti nelle infiorescenze della marijuana

There is something about the aroma of hemp that calms the mind and body. Whether it’s the sweet fruity taste of a Lemon haze cbd or that skunk smell that breaks through a cracked Sour Diesel bud, we know something is happening but more often than not we classify it as a simple smell and move forward in the mixture. In this article I want to explain what the terpenes of cannabis are and the properties of the 8 most dominant types in hemp.

What are cannabis terpenes?

Secreted in the same cannabinoid-producing glands such as THC and CBD, cannabis terpenes are aromatic oils that color hemp varieties with distinctive aromas such as citrus, berry, mint and pine.

Not unlike other plants and flowers, the development of terpenes in cannabis began for adaptive purposes: to repel predators and attract pollinators. There are many factors that influence a plant’s terpenes development, including climate, weather, age and ripeness, fertilizers, soil type, and even the time of day.

Cannabis terpenes strain list

Over 100 …

And each strain tends towards a unique type and composition of cannabis terpenes. In other words, a strain like Gravity Cheese and its descendants will likely have a cheese-like smell and the strawberry’s offspring will often inherit the berry smell.

Over the past few decades, most cannabis strains have been bred to contain high levels of THC, and as a result, other cannabinoids such as CBD have dropped to track amounts only. This has led many to believe that cannabis terpenes play a key role in differentiating the effects of various hemp strains.

Every single cannabis terpene is associated with unique effects. Some promote relaxation and act as a stress reliever, while others promote focus and sharpness. Linalool, for example, is believed to be relaxing while limonene improves mood.

The effect profile of a given terpene can change in the presence of other compounds in a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to understand the effect of each terpene when used in harmony with others.

Trichomes and terpenes, what you need to know


In hemp, terpenes are made in the trichomes of the plant. Trichomes are the shiny, sticky, mushroom-shaped crystals that cover the leaves and buds. The trichomes on cannabis act as a defense mechanism in nature, protecting the plant from insects and animals through the production of fragrant cannabis terpenes that repel these dangers. As humans, we smell these terpenes and can make inferences about the strain and the possible physiological effects the strain may have.

Benefits of terpenes

Hemp is an incredibly diverse plant in terms of its biological composition and potential benefits, and terpenes are no exception. There are over 100 different identified terpenes in the cannabis plant, and while the differences may be subtle, much progress has been made in making it easy to classify terpenes and their effects for patients and consumers. In general, terpenes can be divided into sweet, sour, spicy or bitter, with each category further broken down into more specific smells. These specific odors are determined by certain strains, which in turn are related to the effects of that plant. Actually, to help with this. Many companies have produced terpene wheels to help people better understand this. More on this in a bit.

Aroma: pine

Vaporizes at: 311º F (155ºC)

Potential Effects: Vigilance, memory retention, neutralizes some effects of THC

Potential medical value: treatment of asthma, pain, inflammation, ulcers, anxiety, cancer

Also found in: Pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley.

Alpha-Pinene

Aroma: cardamom, clove, musky, earthy, herbal

Vaporizes at: 332º F (167ºC)

Potential Effects: “couchlock” sedative effect, relaxing

Potential medical value: antioxidant, treatment of insomnia, pain and inflammation

Also found in: mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops

Myrcene

Aroma: citrus fruits

Vaporizes at: 348ºF (176ºC)

Potential Effects: Elevated mood, stress relief

Potential Medical Value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, inflammation, pain and cancer

Also found in: fruit peel, rosemary, juniper, peppermint

Limonene

Aroma: pepper, spicy, woody, cloves

Vaporizes at: 266º F (130ºC)

Potential Effects: Stress Relief

Potential medical value: pain relief, anxiety/depression, ulcers

Also found in: black pepper, cloves, cinnamon

Beta-Caryophyllene

Aroma: floral

Vaporize at : 388ºF (198ºC)

Potential effects: mood enhancement, sedation

Potential medical value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases

Also found in: lavender

Linalool

Aroma: hops, woody, earthy

Vaporize at: 222º F (106ºC)

Potential medical value: anti-inflammatory

Also found in: hops, coriander, cloves, basil

Humulene

Aroma: sweet, herbal and woody

Vaporize at: 122ºF (50ºC)

Potential medical value: antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, decongestant, antibacterial

Also found in: mint, parsley, pepper, basil, mango, orchid, and kumquat

Ocimene

Aroma: Piney, floral and herbal

Vaporize at : 366ºF (186ºC)

Potential Effects: Relaxing

Potential medical value: antioxidant, sedative, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer

Also found in: nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin and lilac

Terpinolene

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Grace Genetics team

Our team of cannabis experts publishes new and updated informational articles on current news from the world of cannabis on a weekly basis, as well as aids and guides on growing marijuana plants.

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