Terpenes are a common feature of most plant life. There are more than 20,000 different terpenes, and those are just the ones we know about, in addition to terpenes produced by insects. The terpene and its ability to change the scent and flavor of biological organisms is used as a defense system by insects like termites and serves the same purpose in many plants, helping them survive to maturity.
But, let’s get down to what this means for your weed! In cannabis, there are about 120 terpenes secreted from the plant’s resin glands, giving various cultivars their distinct scents. In this terpene guide, we’re not going to cover them all, but you’ll read about the most common terpenes in cannabis and find out how they impact your high.
Terpenes are what give cannabis varying scents and flavors. Lavender, for instance, has a pleasing scent due to the terpenes it secretes. But terpenes in cannabis do much more than change the flavor and scent profile of your favorite smoke.Terpenes also contribute to the effect of the cannabis you’re ingesting, just as cannabinoids do. In fact, researchers say that the “entourage effect” is enhanced by the presence of terpenes, elevating the experience.
Terpenes and the Entourage Effect
Before we move on to a list of terpenes and effects, we should understand what’s intended by the term “entourage effect” and what it has to do with terpenes in cannabis. The entourage effect describes what happens when the various components of cannabis are combined (THC, CBD, terpenes) and how the effects experienced are optimized by that combination.
So, terpenes do a lot more than make cannabis taste and smell appealing. Terpenes add to the desired effect of cannabis. Whether hemp or cannabis proper, terpenes help define the properties of the specific type of plant, with both producing distinct terpenes.
Terpenes do for cannabis what phenolics do for wine, creating specific flavor and aroma profiles, while adding something extra that makes all the difference. In short, terpenes are a component of cannabis that distinguish it in various cultivars and strains, depending upon the overall profile of the cannabis in question. So, let’s read through our list of terpenes and effects.
Most Common Terpenes in Cannabis
The orange, hair-like fuzz on a weed bud is where terpenes and cannabinoids are born. These hairs, called trichomes, are where terpenes bind to cannabinoids, altering the effect of the bud they’re part of, when consumed. Terpene production accounts for between 5 to 10% of what trichomes render in oil. Tiny but fierce with a mighty impact, terpenes are more important than you may think.
Following is our “Top 10” list of terpenes and effects.
The first terpene in our brief terpene guide is Limonene, which imparts a citrusy scent of lemon and orange. Known as an antibacterial and anti-carcinogen, limonene helps to relieve stress, while elevating your mood.
Myrcene is characterized by a musky scent, analogous to that of hops or parsley. It acts as both an anti-oxidant and an anti-inflammatory, treating pain.
Calming and relaxing, Borneol’s aroma is reminiscent of mint. Used in Chinese traditional medicine, it’s an excellent insect repellent.
As the name suggests, Pinene smells of pine. This familiar cannabis aroma derives from one of the terpenes in cannabis known for imparting alertness but Pinene can also be employed to relieve chest congestion and as an antiseptic.
If cannabis results in red eyes and a dry mouth, it may contain the terpene, Delta-3-carene. Smelling of sweet cedar, this terpene dries excess fluid in the body (like mucus from a cold).
Light floral and citrus describe the scent of linalool. The sedative effect of linalool is only one of its properties. This terpene is also an anti-anxiety support and antidepressant, as well as an effective treatment for acne.
With anti-inflammatory properties, this terpene is a reliable pain reliever. With a woody, spicy scent, Beta-caryophyllene’s pleasant aroma can be used for all types of pain relief.
Stimulating and uplifting, Eucalyptol has a minty scent that recalls eucalyptus. This is one of the terpenes in cannabis that improves blood circulation and soothes pain.
If you’re looking for relaxation, terpineol is your “go to” terpene. Its sedative effects are legendary. Found in many essential oils derived from plants, terpineol’s scent is an amalgam of citrus and floral. You’ll frequently find its aroma blended into branded commercial fragrances.
The last on our list of terpenes and effects, humulene’s scent is similar to that of hops. In fact, you’ll recognize the scent of humulene in high hop-content beers. Even its name comes from the Latin for hops! But that’s no surprise because cannabis and hops are from the same category of plants – Cannabaceae. Known as an inflammation fighter, humulene is currently being studied as a weight loss aid, especially in combination with beta-caryophyllene (see above).
These 10 terpenes in cannabis are those you’ll encounter most frequently on your journey of weed discovery but as I said, there are over 100 of them in cannabis alone. Small but mighty, terpenes are an incredibly crucial component of the herb we all love.
CanEx, Where Quality Always Comes First
At CanEx, quality always comes first, so we think it’s important that our customers be given the resources they need to make the best cannabis buying decisions possible. This list of terpenes and effects is just part of our commitment to giving customers our very best.
Terpenes in cannabis represent a huge field of study and at CanEx, we hope you’ll find out more by browsing our Southern California Weed Blog and exploring our site, where you’ll find the very best products from California’s master cultivators. Order from CanEx and discover a revolution in weed delivery that’s smooth, sophisticated, and stress-free.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief terpene guide and that we’ll see you here again soon for more insights into the world of cannabis.