The Most Common Terpenes Found In Cannabis and Their Medical Benefits

When we talk about terpenes in cannabis, we are mostly focused on their role in the plant’s smell. However, we often forget that these compounds contribute to the plant’s health benefits as well as shape the type of high we get.

Yes, terpenes are molecules that give plants their scent, while at the same time protecting them from predators. Luckily for us, terpenes are not just about the aroma, as these powerful compounds have a wide range of medical properties on the side.

Plants from the Cannabis Sativa genus are particularly rich in terpenes, and weed contains more than a 100 of these substances, majority of which are unique to it.

Terpenes are the reason why every marijuana strain is unique in some aspect. Depending on its terpene profile, a strain may smell like pine, berry or a lemon. You name it.

That being said, we can say for certain that all strains have a unique undertone scent that provides that well known trademark marijuana smell. Did you know that this is the fault of a terpene called myrcene?

As you can see here, some terpenes have sedative properties, while others are more prone to cause an uplifted mood. Linalool can help you manage symptoms of arthritis, myrcene provides relief from chronic pain and humulene reduces inflammation.

Besides marijuana, these terpenes can be found in several other plants. Caryophyllene is also present in green leafy veggies, as well as spices like rosemary and oregano.

As for limonene, the name says for itself. This terpene is the major component of citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges and it’s no wonder that it can be found in strains like Lemon Haze or Sour Diesel.

The Entourage Effect

Besides all their medical power, terpenes are responsible for improving symbiosis between cannabinoids, a phenomenon also known as the entourage effect.

Basically, what happens is that terpenes work together to assist cannabinoids to pass through to our bloodstream easier.

That way terpenes enhance their own medical properties, as well as those coming from cannabinoids.

Thanks to that same entourage effect, the psychoactive effect of cannabis is modulated, as to say diminished. For example, CBD, along with other terpenes, diminishes long term memory loss and reduces the psychoactive effect of THC. On the other hand, linalool modulates the way neurotransmitters contribute to anxiolytic and sedative effects, so strains containing this terpene will not make you anxious.

Understanding terpenes and their therapeutic role has become a sought-after skill when it comes to buying and growing cannabis. As you can see, strains are not all about the two major cannabinoids, and terpene profile plays a very important role in the medical use of marijuana.

Even the cultivators have started paying more attention to these important molecules. By cross-breeding, they are now producing new strains specifically made for treating certain ailments.

So, before choosing a perfect cannabis strain for your condition, make sure to consult the infographic again to find which terpene will benefit you the most. The more you know about terpenes, the better chances you have to find relief in cannabis.

How Do Cannabis Terpenes Affect the Body?

Terpenes For Sale

For many people the word “terpene” is a strange and unfamiliar term, but it won’t be for much longer. As science and technology carry us to better understandings of cannabis, we’re beginning to see that there’s a lot more to marijuana than its cannabinoid content. To get a hint of the other therapeutic compounds in your strain, just give it a sniff.

Terpenes are fragrant oils that give cannabis its aromatic diversity. They’re what give Blueberry its signature berry smell, Sour Diesel its funky fuel flavor, and Lavender its sweet floral aroma. These oils are secreted in the flower’s sticky resin glands, the same ones that produce THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Terpenes are by no means unique to cannabis; they can be found in many other herbs, fruits, and plants as well.

Leafly cannabis terpene wheel infographic


Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and give rise to various effects. The above infographic outlines properties of six common cannabis terpenes along with a few strains that tend to express notable levels of each.

When choosing a strain based on its terpene content, keep in mind that different harvests may demonstrate dramatically different terpenoid profiles due to variances in growing and curing techniques. Lab-tested products are the only surefire way of knowing a strain’s terpene potency – without it, you’ll have to rely on your nose to guide you.

Lastly, when choosing your method of ingestion, keep in mind that the beneficial qualities of terpenes can be seriously damaged if heated past their boiling point.