A Guide to Cannabis Terpenes and Their Role

A Guide to Cannabis Terpenes and Their Role

Your nose can detect around 1 trillion different kinds of odours very quickly. Your sense of smell can stay accurate no matter the occasion or time. It can also link to emotional satisfaction or distresses since you can bond with different odours. This also applies to different strains of cannabis because of compounds called terpenes. Each terpene offers a distinct scent, and the terpene content can help identify the different kinds of marijuana. However, the presence of terpenes is useful for more than just identifying or choosing what strain to try. Some users believe they play a role in the effects of the herb, as well. 

About Terpenes

This word was created from the word “turpentine,” and it is a derivative of isopentyl pyrophosphate. Terpenes are organic components that can be used in both cosmetic and medical applications because of their distinctive odours. 

Terpenes often can be extracted from the marijuana plant. The plant has resin glands that can hold the terpenes. They are oily substances that have a lot of aroma to them. You should not confuse these with terpenoids. The terpenoids are terpenes that have gone through oxidization during curing to denature them. 

There can be other sources for terpenes, as well. Terpenes can differentiate between the types of cannabis based on their effects and smell. The purpose of the terpenes is not just to differentiate between the types of marijuana, however. When it comes to medicinal marijuana, some people use specific terpenes because they believe they have different effects. These users might combine terpenes with CBD, as well. 

Terpenes can work well when it comes to helping pollination go faster. The components can repel predators, as well. Each terpene is produced under different circumstances, such as maturation, age, soil, weather, and any fertilizers. Besides their flavours and smells, they can help the different components in the cannabis plant work together to create synergy. 

The Role of Terpenes

The Role of Terpenes

It is hard to do research on terpenes since the cannabis plant is not allowed in some countries. However, based on the current evidence, it is believed that terpenes can help with modulating the psychoactive reactions in your body. Terpenes can work with the other components of the cannabis plant, causing the entourage effect. What this means is that it is not just the cannabinoids or terpenes that cause the effects, but the entire plant together. Combining these components can help give you the effects you are looking for. 

It is also believed that terpenes can interface with certain receptors in your body. That can then cause certain effects in these areas. They could link with your nervous, gastrointestinal, and immune systems. For instance, myrcene can cross your blood-brain barrier and affect the brain. It is not yet known just how it affects that area, however. 

Knowing about the Types of Terpenes

Each strain has different levels of terpenes, so it is a good idea to have an understanding of some of the most common terpenes and their potential aromas and effects. This knowledge will help you choose the best strain for you.


This terpene is found in lemongrass, hops, mangos, and thyme. Plus, it is one of the most commonly found terpenes in marijuana. This terpene can be extracted from the plant with ease. It is believed that myrcene has antibiotic and analgesic effects.

You can find myrcene in both indica and sativa strains. The concentration will determine if that strain is an indica or sativa. If the plant has 0.5 percent myrcene, it is believed to offer the same effects as an indica strain. That might include causing you to feel drowsy after using the herb. In some plants, you might find around 60 to 65 percent myrcene. 



This terpene is what is responsible for giving some strains their light, floral smells. You also can find this terpene in lavender. One of the reasons so many people like cannabis strains that have this terpene in it is because it might help them relieve their stress. One of the main features of this terpene is that it can be potent, and it might help with making people feel less depressed. Some research is being done on its potential to help with psychosis or seizures. However, there is currently no evidence that suggests it is helpful. 


Many people like cannabis that has a lemon scent, and the terpene limonene is responsible for giving it this smell. Limes, oranges, lemons, and similar kinds of citrus fruits are where you can notice the limonene terpene. The smell of this terpene is intense and can be found in cosmetic items and cleaners, as well. 

Because limonene is citrusy, it is believed that it is anti-fungal. For example, if you had a toenail infection, you might decide to use this terpene. It is also believed that this terpene has anti-bacterial properties. 

You can use limonene by inhaling it. The terpene might help your body to better absorb some other kinds of terpenes, such as in the mucosa and in your gut. One reason that so many people like to consume limonene is that it can help relieve your stress, but it can also help to enhance your mood. 


This terpene is also found in pine, which is where it gets its name. It can be a very effective terpene. There are a couple of kinds of this terpene. The most common is the alpha kind. This smells like pine needles. And the beta type has hints of basil, dill, and parsley scents. It is not nearly as common. 

This terpene can be very potent if you inhale it and it is absorbed into your body through your lungs. Its potency means it could be helpful when it comes to improving airflow to your lungs. That is why some people with asthma choose to use this terpene. For many years, the pinene terpene has also been used since it might have anti-inflammatory effects and anti-septic potential. 

This terpene can cross your blood-brain barrier, as well. Some people have used it to try to enhance their memories for quite a while. The terpene may also help when it comes to making you feel more vigilant and alert. The research is ongoing to determine how this terpene can be beneficial when it comes to reducing memory loss. 


This terpene has a peppery, woody, and spicy smell. This is why it is so closely linked to the cinnamon plant, as well as black pepper. Some people use this terpene to try to calm down. It can also be used to try to reduce anxiety and enhance your mood. The strains that have this terpene in them can vary quite a bit. One strain known for having this terpene is Rockstar.



This terpene might increase your appetite. It might also help reduce nausea. You also can find this terpene in cloves, basil, and hops.

Non-Cannabis and Cannabis Terpenes

Today, you can find isolated kinds of terpenes. That makes them a more powerful tool, particularly for medicinal users. You can get terpenes and place them in your herb for a stronger experience. Researchers have identified terpenes, separated them, and then decided about the right kind to consume depending on the effects and desired potential medicinal uses. 

Terpenes That Come from the Cannabis Plant

These terpenes come directly from the plant. They can offer a better synergy, causing the entourage effect, than ones that do not come from the cannabis plant. This is because they are more similar to strains of cannabis that have these components in them. 

Some people believe that these terpenes are fresh and offer a similar scent to that of the parent plant. But there can also be some drawbacks to using this kind of terpene. They can be harder to extract from the plant, which means it can take a while. At the end of the process, the yield is not very high considering how much effort was placed in. 

Because of how much work it can be to extract the terpenes from the cannabis plant, the cost can be fairly high. Plus, there can be some inconsistencies when it comes to sampling. The smell and taste might differ quite a bit depending on the batch you are buying from. In addition, some people believe that since these terpenes are raw, they might have some side effects. 

Terpenes That Do Not Come from the Cannabis Plant

Terpenes That Do Not Come from the Cannabis Plant

Not every terpene comes from the marijuana plant. These can be divided into two different groups. The first kind is natural terpenes, which come from fruit or plants. The second type is synthetic terpenes, which come from labs. These types of terpenes are not known to give you psychoactive effects, and in areas where cannabis is not legal, they can be a legal option for terpene users. 

The research is ongoing as to where non-cannabis terpenes can come from and how to extract them in bulk. You can likely find this type of terpene inexpensively. Since non-cannabis terpenes do not cost a lot, it has not been that hard for researchers to acquire them and find out how they can improve their effects. 

Non-cannabis terpenes offer the same effects and features as terpenes that come from the cannabis plant. They can also bind to different receptors in your body, just like cannabis terpenes can. They might be extracted through a steam-distillation process. However, some people actually like the way that cannabis smells, and if you want a true experience, this kind of terpene does not offer that. Plus, if you do not like strong odours or you have allergies to certain kinds of aromas, you should choose your which terpenes to use with care. 

Using Terpenes and Vaping

Each terpene has a different boiling point because of the difference in their structure. If you will be vaping them, you will want to do some research on the right temperature to use to get your desired effects instead of accidentally boiling off the terpenes. 

Some of the more advanced vaporizers you can find out there today can have their temperatures adjusted to very particular temperatures. You might be able to use applications to control the temperature like this. When you have the right temperature, you can use the terpenes instead of boiling them off. Then, you can get the potential effects of using them. 

The terpenes have milder effects on your body than the cannabinoids do, and by vaping at the right temperature, you can ensure that you consistently release a certain number of terpenes and cannabinoids. Plus, some people do not want to smoke or inhale the potentially harmful by-products. If this is something you are concerned about, vaping might be the best option for you. 

Using Terpenes and Vaping

Closing Thoughts 

There is a lot of research going on right not to determine if terpenes can be improved upon. Researchers also are trying to see if there are more types of terpenes that might be even better for users. Just remember if you want to use the terpenes, you will not want to smoke or vape your herb at a very hot temperature. That can cause the valuable terpenes to just burn or boil off. 

The ideal temperature is still debated, but if you really want to get the terpenes, you might want to vape your herb instead of combusting it. That is because it can be done at a lower temperature than if you were to use a pipe or a joint. Companies can also sell individual terpenes, so you can get them and add them to your vaping device. These companies should ensure that they educate their customers on this topic and on how to stay more aware of CBD and terpenes. Terpenes can really add a lot to your cannabis experience, so using them wisely will help you have the best time. 

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