Cannabis and Terpenes – An Overview

Cannabis and Terpenes – An Overview

You probably have heard of the legal extracts that come from marijuana and hemp. Cannabinoids, mainly CBD and THC, have been the main buzzword among cannabis enthusiasts and those dabbling into natural remedies. In the recent past, however, there has emerged a new buzzword, terpenes. Some people have heard of the terpenes chart or other associated terms but not much else about the terpenes themselves. The following article is your terpenes 101.

What Are Terpenes

Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons found in many plants and some insects. Simply put, terpenes are the reasons plants smell and taste the way they do. The smell and taste of an orange, lemon, mango, and even hemp or marijuana are due to the presence of specific terpenes that inform their particular flavors and aromas. 

The evolutional purpose of these hydrocarbons was to dispel the presence of insects and other herbivores that would feed on plants. Smells produced by terpenes discourage destructive animals in one of two ways.

The first way is being repulsive to the destructive animals, and the second one is attracting predators who hunt the animals and insects that destroy the plant or parasites that prey on them. Besides protecting the plant terpenes also attract helpful organisms such as bees to help with the pollination. 

Besides their essential functions, it is the terpenes in plants that induce the body to release hormones that may change the physical, mental, or emotional state of those who smell or taste them. The peace you feel when you walk through a pine plantation, or when you smell lavender is due to terpenes. The terpenes-CBD combination causes the high a person gets when they smoke or otherwise take in marijuana.  

On a broad scale, terpenes have either a calming effect on one end or an energizing effect on the other. At the calming end of the spectrum, terpenes can go as far as sedating the recipient, and on the energizing end of the spectrum, they can go as far as inducing some form of mania.

The Terpenes Chart

Currently, there are over 20,000 known terpenes, and marijuana’s terpenes are over 100, and these are just the ones we know. Each strain of cannabis tends to be dominated by a specific type of terpene. 

The specific terpene that dominates a strain of cannabis makes it effective for the management of a particular issue and not another. This information is critical for both producers of hemp and weed as well as users and researchers. So what is in the market today, and what are terpenes used for?

1. Myrcene

This terpene one of the most abundant terpenes in marijuana. Its taste and aroma can be categorized as herbal. Myrcene also occurs in plants such as mangoes, lemongrass, thyme, etc. This terpene is believed to be an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, a sedative, a pain reliever, and a muscle relaxant.

If a plant has below 0.5% of myrcene, it is categorized under Sativa, and if it has above 0.5% of it, it is classified under indica. Typically, Sativa has more THC than Indica does.

2. Caryophyllene

Besides being terpenes in weed, caryophyllene is also found in black-pepper cinnamon and cloves. This terpene’s flavors include pepper, wood, and spice. Strains that have an abundance of this terpene are suitable for the management of depression, inflammation, pain, and anxiety. Some of the strains in which caryophyllene may be found in significant quantities include the tangerine dream, sage N sour, Gorilla Glue, and pineapple express.

3. Pinene

This terpene boosts the user’s energy, focus, and memory; it is also a bronchodilator; it, therefore, helps with lung problems. As the name suggests, besides cannabis, pinene is also found in pine. Its aromas include pine, fresh mountain air, and it also has a slightly woody fragrance. These hemp terpenes are found in the following strains. Vanilla Kush, Lavender, Cookie Cross, and 9lb Hammer.

4. Limonene

This is found in strains like GSC, Pre-98 Bubba Kush, and green crack strains for marijuana. When taken, it is a mood booster and an anxiety reducer. It also reduces depression, and it acts as an antiemetic. The aromas that denote its presence of limonene include citrus, lemon, and orange. Besides cannabis, limonene is also found in peppermint, fruit rinds juniper, lemons, oranges, and rosemary.

Custom Terpene Profiles

Cannabis and Terpenes - An Overview

As observed above, specific terpenes have a particular effect on the body. It follows, therefore, that understanding which terpenes are in marijuana products would help you choose the product that helps with the issue you want to handle. Unfortunately, many of the products in the market do not have this information on their packages.  

With the discovery of information on terpenes, companies are now preparing tables and charts as visual aids for customers. The visual aids are intended to help customers understand which terpenes are contained in the product and for what those terpenes make the product suitable. The chart should also assure you that you are probably getting your product from the best terpene company.

Terpenes and Cannabis Vaporizing

Different terpenes and cannabinoids vaporize at different temperatures.  Also, they are only useful within a specific range of temperatures, and they lose potency if they are subjected to temperatures above the range’s upper limit.

Since many of cannabis products are best taken through vaping, the vaporizer’s temperature is an essential factor. If you are consistently using one product, get a vaporizer whose temperature is enough to vaporize the terpenes and the cannabinoids in the product. If you are using different products, go for a vaporizer with adjustable temperatures. The terpene profiles should typically contain information on temperature.


Cannabis is a highly complex plant. There is still a lot to be discovered about it, but more and more information is making it possible to exploit marijuana for the benefit of users. Some companies are now producing specific terpene extracts. High hemp terpene content has now become the Holy Grail for farmers. Such plants will ensure that there is a supply of natural terpenes.

Dwight K. Blake Written by: Dwight K. Blake

Dwight was a Mental Health counselor at Long Island Psychotherapy & Counseling in Westbury, New York for more than 15 years. He believes that CBD is the prime solution to this mental illness and more-- with proper research, medical acknowledgment, and application.
Through his work at AmericanMarijuana, together with the rest of the team, he wishes to provide everyone with genuine results and high-quality product reviews for everyone to enjoy for free.

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