A Beginners Guide To Terpenes.

Liz Filmer
28 Aug 2021

Terpenes are the aromatic molecules that give flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs their signature smell and taste.

In nature, the terpene's entice pollinators to the riper sweeter smelling fruit whilst using an unpleasant odour to deter pests. For humans, terpenes act as a simple biological warning system. Certain aromas would naturally draw us to plants that were safe to eat and use for medicines, whilst others would direct us away from any harmful plants.

When it comes to cannabis, terpenes are what make each strain smell or taste different from others and where most strains get their name, "Lemon Haze", "Gelato", "Sour Diesel", for example. 

Terpenes don't make you feel high, but many cannabis enthusiasts believe that terpenes may significantly impact the effects of THC.

Many believe that we put far too much emphasis on THC content when choosing a strain. Instead, we should be focusing more on terpene profiles to get the effects we desire.

Cannabinoids and terpenes all appear to work together in what is called the entourage effect. This is the idea that a "full-spectrum" of cannabis compounds work together to produce the sensations and effects of each particular strain that you try.

Simply put, it is believed that a little bit of everything might have more benefit than a lot of one thing.

Similarly to cannabinoids, terpenes can attach to receptors in the brain, inducing varying effects on the mind and body, hence why they are used in aromatherapy and traditional medicine practices. Lavender, for example, can help you relax and overcome insomnia. Alternatively, a zesty bold citrus scent can make you feel energised and active. There are over 20,000 terpenes, all different and providing unique aromas and physiological effects.

Here is a guide to some of the most recognisable terpenes that you may get a whiff of when inspecting your latest batch of Bud.

PINENE- helps physically with Inflammation and Asthma and mentally with memory retention and alertness. Its aroma is a sharp, sweet pine smell. It can be found in Conifers, Pine and Sage.

LINALOOL- helps combat Insomnia, Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Pain and convulsions. Its effects are sedating and calming. It has a Floral, Citrus, Spicy aroma and is found in Lavender, Citrus fruits, Laurel, Birch and Rosewood. 

CARYOPHYLLENE- works as an antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory, helping with muscle spasms, pain and insomnia. It has a pepper, wood, spice aroma and is found in Pepper, Cloves, Hops, Basil and Oregano.

MYRCENE- works as an antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Its effects are sedating and relaxing. Its aroma has notes of Musk, Clove, Herbal and Citrus. It is found in Mango, Thyme, Citrus, Lemongrass and Bay Leaf.

LIMONENE is used for gastric reflux, works as an anti-fungal, an anti-depressant and for anxiety. Its effects are elevated mood and stress relief. The aroma is heavily citrus. It is found in citrus rind and also in Juniper and Peppermint.

HUMULENE- works as pain relief, as an anti-inflammatory and as an anti-bacterial. Its effect is as an appetite suppressant. It has a woody, earthy aroma and is found in Hops and Coriander. 


Liz Filmer