The Role of Terpenes in Cannabis

Have you ever heard of terpenes or terpenoids? These aromatic compounds are part of what makes cannabis unique. They give the plant a distinctive scent while boosting its effects and enhancing the overall experience. Understanding terpenes is necessary for navigating the marijuana world. 

Today, we will delve deeper into the role of terpenes in cannabis and introduce you to the different types and their potential effects.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are organic compounds found naturally in plants like cannabis, sage, thyme, and many more. In cannabis, the plant’s trichomes that cover its leaves and flowers are responsible for producing terpenes. These organic chemicals also exist in some animals. Some industries even add terpenes to products, such as cleaning agents, dyes, insecticides, shampoos, aromatherapy oils, and candies.

What Role Do Terpenes Play in Cannabis?

Have you ever visited a cannabis store and faced hundreds of strains with different flavors? Those flavors come from the various terpenes that are present in each strain. Terpenes give different marijuana cultivars their unique scents and tastes. They can also help plants survive harsh environmental conditions like bad weather and predatory animals.

Apart from these roles, studies are showing that terpenes also play a role in the medicinal properties of cannabis. Research suggests terpenes work alongside cannabinoids like THC and CBD to produce and enhance various effects. This synergy of compounds in cannabis is known as the entourage effect. This can contribute to the plant’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, painkilling, sleep-inducing, and mood-enhancing effects.

Do Terpenes Play a Role in the Psychoactive Effects of Cannabis?

Terpenes don’t play a direct role in the psychoactive effects of cannabis as they’re not intoxicating on their own. However, some studies show they might affect the way THC causes a high. This means marijuana strains with a particular terpene profile can enhance the high you feel due to THC. 

The Most Common Types of Terpenes

Scientists have identified hundreds of cannabis terpenes already. However, only a few of them exist in high amounts in marijuana cultivars. Here are the most common types of terpenes found in cannabis.


Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in marijuana. Some strains have as much as 60% of this terpene in their chemical makeup. It gives them a warm and citrusy aroma.

You can also find myrcene in other plants like lemongrass, hops, mangoes, thyme, cloves, and eucalyptus. 

Studies show that myrcene has strong sedating effects and can help those suffering from sleep disorders. Paired with THC and CBD, this calming effect of myrcene becomes even stronger. Myrcene may also have potential anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, and antimicrobial properties.

If you want to feel the couch-lock effects of myrcene, try these strains:



The second most abundant terpene in cannabis is limonene. This energizing terpene gives cannabis a refreshing lemon aroma that will awaken your senses.

If you want to find limonene in nature, turn to juniper berries, rosemary, and different citrus fruits such as limes, lemons, oranges, and mandarins.

According to research, limonene may have anti-anxiety effects to help reduce stress and lift your mood. When used in higher doses alongside terpenes like pinene and psychoactive cannabinoids like THC, limonene can produce energizing effects.

To order limonene-rich marijuana from a cannabis delivery service, look for strains with words sour or lemon in their names. Some of these strains include:



Another abundant terpene in cannabis is beta-caryophyllene, the only terpene that can directly bind to CB2 receptors in your body.

This terpene has a spicy, herbal aroma resembling cloves. Beta-caryophyllene can be found in other natural sources such as rosemary, hops, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, and oregano.

Studies show that this terpene may be beneficial for pain management and stress reduction. Other benefits of this terpene include its antioxidant, neuroprotective, antidepressant, and antifungal potential.

To experience the effects of beta-caryophyllene, go for the following strains:

  • Gelato
  • Death Star
  • Candyland
  • Chemdawg
  • Bubba Kush
  • White Widow
  • Girl Scout Cookies



Do you enjoy lavender’s sweet scent and calming effect? Then you will love linalool! This compound is the terpene of choice for aromatherapy as it helps alleviate stress like no other terpene.

Apart from cannabis and lavender, linalool exists in natural sources such as jasmine, coriander, cinnamon, and birch, giving each of them a spicy floral aroma.

The sedating linalool is known for its relaxing effects. Many people opt for linalool-rich strains to help combat sleep disorders and find relief from anxiety. Studies also point to linalool’s other medicinal properties, including its anticonvulsant, antidepressant, and anti-acne potential.

Here are the strains you can try for a linalool-rich experience:

  • Lavender
  • OG Shark
  • Do Si Dos
  • Kosher Kush
  • Special Kush
  • Amnesia Haze
  • LA Confidential



The last cannabis terpene on our list is pinene. This terpene is responsible for the piney aroma of some of your favorite marijuana strains. Pinene is also abundant in nature. You can find it in pine trees, coniferous forests, dill, parsley, sage, basil, and rosemary.

Studies show pinene has powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, making it a helpful compound for fighting infections. Pinene can also be useful for people with asthma as it has bronchodilator properties.

Other medicinal properties of pinene include its anti-cancer, antidepressant, and gastroprotectant abilities.

For a pinene-dominant experience, you can try the following strains:

  • Romulan
  • Chemdawg
  • Blue Dream
  • Bubba Kush
  • Cherry Gelato
  • Cotton Candy Kush
  • Island Sweet Skunk
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Enhance Your Cannabis Experience With Terpenes

Terpenes play a crucial role in providing users with the best cannabis experience. Their aromatic nature and synergistic effect with cannabinoids can make marijuana more effective and enjoyable.

While research into terpenes is still in its infancy, growers are already starting to increase terpene production in their cannabis and focus on certain compounds to deliver specific effects.

Play around with different strains to see which terpene profiles give you the best experience and allow you to get the most out of cannabis.

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