What are terpenes and why do they matter when it comes to cannabis?

Most cannabis consumers take a whiff of the bud jar before buying flowers. But what exactly are they smelling? And why?

The answer — whether these shoppers know it or not — is terpenes.

As marijuana becomes more mainstream, awareness of terpenes is becoming so common that it’s now a category in many cannabis competitions. And as our collective knowledge of the plant grows, more people are subscribing to the idea that terpenes — much like essential oils — play a role that goes far beyond smell.

The science and insider lingo can get pretty thick here. But you don’t have to be a cannabis sommelier to get in on the terpene talk.

The Cannifornian discussed the basics of terpenes with John Bailey of DaVinci Vaporizers, a Las Vegas-based company that makes some of the most popular high-end dry herb vaporizers.

Cannifornian: What are terpenes?

Bailey: Simply put, terpenes are aroma profiles derived from naturally produced oils from resin glands of the cannabis flower. Terpenes can be found in various other fruits, plants and common legal herbs.


Cannifornian: Why do terpenes matter? Do they actually change how cannabis strains affect consumers?

Bailey: They matter because as we start to further research and expand our knowledge of cannabis, we are finding they may have a great role in understanding medicinal benefits and potency. Not only do terpenes enhance flavor, but also contribute to the effects of cannabis and have been known to increase THC absorption therefore enhancing your high, while others are what gives certain sativas that alertness.

Cannifornian: Do you think growers and manufacturers should test for terpenes and include that information on product labels?

Bailey: Yes, absolutely. The more information we can reference and guide to customers the better — and what better trusted source than straight from the originator?

Cannifornian: What should consumers look for when buying products with terpenes in mind?

Bailey: Consumers should look to leverage the knowledge of budtenders while identifying commonalities in the relief from each strain. They should try to become more familiar with pungent, piney, citrus and earthy, and then correlate this when purchasing from dispensaries.

Cannifornian: Do you have a favorite terpene that you personally always look out for?

Bailey: Given that I tend to drift towards mood uplifting and energetic strains, I’m a personal fan of strains heavy in limonene, like Tangy and Durban Poison. These strains tend to have a citrusy aroma and are subtly sweet.

Cannifornian: What’s your view on inserting terpenes from marijuana into non-cannabis products, such as beer?

Bailey: Beer brewers have been inserting terpenes into beer for a long time for flavor profiles. Just think about all of the popular beers that contain orange peel, coriander and other herbs.

I think the difference will be that the terpenes are going to be marketed as derived from cannabis instead of other plants.

Personally, I’m all for maximizing the benefits of the plant. But with anything that people are putting into their body, I caution each to do their research on the effects prior to consumption.

Read more about terpenes here.

Green Report: Getting on the terpene train

What to know about terpenes:

Smell and flavor of plants, specifically marijuana

Legal for everyone

Medical benefits

Terpene examples: Pinene, Limonene

Four small bottles of liquid terpenes/essential oils surrounded by colorful flowers
Terpenes/essential oils Photo Credit: Statix.Pexels.com

Marijuana terpenes have recently been gaining ground in the cannabis community, particularly in legalized states, but what are terpenes? And who can enjoy them?

Terpenes are the chemicals found in marijuana—and every other plant—that give the marijuana its smell and flavor. Without terpenes, Blueberry Yum Yum would not have its distinctive blueberry flavor that makes it tastier, to most, than say that of Pink Kush, which has an earthier flavor.  Other plants have terpenes too, like the pine tree, or tangerine tree, that give them their signature scent.

These terpenes are extracted in the same way other cannabinoids like THC and CBD are for various forms of hash, or hashish.  They come in a liquid like an essential oil and can be applied to anything you are about to smoke for a more flavorful experience.

Different scents and flavors come from different terpene chemicals. For instance, a piney scent comes from the terpene pinene, but a more citrusy scent would come from the terpene limonene.

Application of the terpenes can be difficult, and it is suggested to use an eyedropper, as a little goes a long way, which is a good thing when you realize terpenes cost at least $20 per milliliter. That is about as much as a gram of hash. Just a single drop can add a lot of depth to the flavor of your smoke, so much so you probably will not be able to taste your flower or hash hardly at all.

Now for the real question: who can purchase and consume terpenes? Anyone in the United States can buy it. Since terpenes are found in every plant, they cannot be made illegal; otherwise we would not be able to eat things like oranges. Terpenes are also free of cannabis’ psychoactive chemical, THC, the product is also free of other cannabinoids like CBD and others.

Terpenes are sold as concentrate and flower enhancers, and it does an excellent job at this, especially if your stuff is not the normal dank, it usually is. As great as putting terpenes on good tasting weed is, it is even better on your shake and other low-quality weed, meaning these are great for those out of state, since you should only be on that fire while in Colorado.

Although terpenes can be smoked with flower or dabbed, for the best flavor experience, the lower the temperature the better. High temperatures can easily damage the flavor profile of the terpenes, although, you will still be able to taste them, it just will not be as good.

Another great benefit of terpenes are the benefits that they provide, they are not just for recreation, they can help medically. Each terpene has its own benefit. Use the terpenes from earlier as examples. Pinene is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help improve airflow to the lungs and counteract the short-term memory loss associated with using marijuana. Limonene helps to elevate mood and relieve stress.

Terpenes are a new craze in the marijuana community, and it is not just a fade that will go away from the looks of it. Check Out Mr Terps for quality Terpenes For Sale.

Terpenes: What happens when these aromatic compounds in cannabis enter the body?

If you’ve been keeping up with our series on terpenes, you’ll be familiar with what they are, and how they interact with other compounds in cannabis to create something called the entourage effect. 

But what do these powerful organic compounds actually do in the body?

Terpenes, like cannabinoids, interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, a collection of cell receptors and corresponding molecules that help regulate sleep, appetite, mood, motor control, immune function, reproduction, pleasure, pain, memory, and even temperature. Humans produce their own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids (endo meaning ‘within’) with help from fatty acids, particularly Omega-3’s.

Not only do terpenes assist cannabinoids in penetrating the blood-brain barrier; scientists have found that they can also influence the amount of THC that passes through that barrier. Different terpenes will affect the brain in different ways: while some might boost your energy, others might ease your anxiety.

This intersection is what interests scientists most, and it’s why manufacturers who have integrated terpenes into their single-compound products have an edge among cannabis patients in search of the most effective medicine.

There are too many terpenes to list in this short series, but we’re rounding out our list of nine today with limonene, eucalyptol, and terpineol. As terpene profiles become more and more important to the consumer experience, it’s good to get in the habit of trying to identify them when you’re purchasing cannabis at a retail shop.

Limonene is the same terpene found in citrus fruits.


That unmistakable citrus smell we associate with lemons and limes comes from this distinct terpene, which is also the second-most common terpene in cannabis. It’s also found in oranges, rosemary, juniper, and peppermint.

Cannabis varieties that are high in limonene include Super Lemon Haze, Lemon Skunk, OG Kush, Jack Herer, and Durban Poison, among others.

The benefits of inhaling or ingesting this uplifting terpene can include elevated mood, stress relief, and increase mental focus. Limonene also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which is why it’s found in so many household cleaners. Beyond that, it also helps the digestive tract, mucous membranes, and skin absorb other terpenes and chemicals more effectively

Eucalyptol actually gets its name from eucalyptus leaves.


This terpene gets its name from the eucalyptus plant, which is where it’s most commonly found. Bay leaves, tea trees, and cannabis also contain eucalyptol.

While concentrations of eucalyptol in varieties of cannabis are relatively low in comparison to terpenes like myrcene and limonene, it has been found in small amounts in Super Silver Haze.

This terpene has many medicinal properties, including as an analgesic, antibacterial, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fungal and insecticide. It’s currently being studied as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s and has been shown to reduce the neuro-inflammation that causes the disease.

It can be hard to detect terpineol beacuse it often appears alongside alpha-pinene, which also has a distinct smell associated with pine.


This terpene, common in pine trees, lilacs, eucalyptus sap, and lime blossoms, and is also responsible for the smoky aroma in lapsang souchong tea. It can be difficult to detect this terpene in cannabis by the nose alone as it often occurs alongside alpha-pinene, which has a similar aroma. It’s used frequently in perfumes and cosmetics.

You’ll find terpineol in cultivars of cannabis like Jack Herer, Jack the Ripper, OG Kush, and Girl Scout Cookies.

Medicinally, terpineol can be an effective antibiotic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, anti-tumor, antimalarial, and a mild sedative. Studies have shown that terpineol is also a powerful anti-cancer agent.

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Terpenes: The powerful organic compounds in cannabis you don’t know about

The unmistakable scent of fresh cannabis can provide an intoxicating aromatic experience, but from one variety to the next, smell and flavour can vary greatly, thanks to powerful compounds known as terpenes.

 You might not be familiar with the term, but you’ve definitely been around terpenes before: This diverse class of organic compounds is found in a variety of plants, and is responsible for giving things like pine trees, citrus fruits, and lavender their distinct smells.


Think about the odour of a dank U.K. Cheese variety, and then try to imagine it next to tropical notes of Lemon Haze. That difference? It’s terpenes at work.

Understanding the important healing properties that terpenes can provide is crucial in knowing just how a variety of cannabis can affect the body, especially when used in conjunction with cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

While there has been a proliferation of THC- and CBD-only products hitting the both the legal and grey markets in Canada, research has shown that when terpenes and cannabinoids work in conjunction—that is, when all the compounds of the plant are being used—cannabis is at its most effective. (Industry pros sometimes refer to this synergy among compounds as ‘the entourage effect’).

Factors like climate, weather, age, maturity, and soil all influence the way a plant develops terpenes, so even among the same cultivars, terpenes can present themselves in very different ways. (As such, take our recommendations below with a grain of salt, and just follow your nose).

Take a look through our guide below, and next time you visit your local dispensary, ask to compare a few strains side-by-side to see if you can identify some of the terpenes we’ve mentioned.

A-pinene can be found in pine needles and rosemary, to name a few.


Pinene is the most commonly found terpene in the world, and is responsible for the smell you might associate with pine needles or rosemary. It actually has two isomers, alpha- and beta-pinene. Alpha-pinene is more common in cannabis. (Beta-pinene is more reminiscent of dill, basil, and hops.)

You’ll find a-pinene in high concentrations of varieties like Bubba Kush, Dutch Treat, Jack Herer, and Trainwreck, to name a few.

A-pinene is anti-cancerous, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and also promotes brain function and improved respiration. Pinene can also counteract the negative effects of THC that some users might experience, like anxiety or short-term memory loss.

Linalool can be found in lavender and coriander.


Commonly found in flowers and spices including lavender and coriander, linalool provides a sweet, floral scent that is often found in aromatherpy products formulated for stress relief.

Varieties of cannabis that are often high in linalool include Amnesia Haze, G-13, and Grandaddy Purple, among others.

While this terpene is anti-cancerous, anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, and analgesic, it’s biggest draw is relief from stress, anxiety, and depression. Linalool can also serve as a sedative, and supports brain function.

Myrcene can be found in mangos.


While pinene might be the most common terpene in the world, myrcene is the most commonly found terpene in cannabis, sometimes composing up to 50 percent of a cannabis plant’s terpene volume. It produces an earthy, spicy, clove-like odour that can have tropical or citrus notes. (It’s also found in huge quantities in mangos.)

Find it in cultivars like Himalayan Gold, White Widow, and AK-47.

Myrcene is often referred to as the “couch-lock” terpene, for its intense sedative effects. This anti-oxidant, anti-carcinogenic terpene is also good for brain function, pain relief, stress, and insomnia.

Here’s an urban legend you may have already heard about, but it holds some merit: Next time you plan to consume cannabis, eat a mango about 45 minutes ahead of time. Mangos are incredibly high in myrcene, which can help THC molecules reach specialized receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, enhancing the psychoactivity and euphoria of your high.

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Terpenes Will Change The Future


Before we get into specific terpenes, let us understand what the term broadly means. Terpenes are any of those aromatic oils or resins produced by plants. They are the ones that give the plants or the other parts their particular smell or taste. Though their function has not been thoroughly investigated it is understood that most plants produce these for two opposite effects. Either to attract specific insects that help in pollination or to repel animals which may be preying on these plants. Let us not get into too many specifics. Our aim here is to understand one type of terpene and how to source it.

More than 100 types of tarpenes have been identified. Each of these have their unique smell and taste. They are also found to be effective in a wide range of ailments like asthma, muscle-tension, breast cancer and stress.

Like other plants cannabis too produces terpenes. The terpenes are produced by the same glands that produce the cannabinoids that give the user the effect he needs – whether it is medicinal or for the high that it gives. But terpenes don’t have the same effect as the cannabinoids – or more commonly the chemicals that give you the high. They are known to add to the effect of the cannabinoids when combined with them. But that is not their main function.

Different strains of cannabis have different aroma and taste. Wonder what causes this? It is the kind of terpene that is found in these plants. They also differ in what effect they have on our health. Some have anti-bacterial effect while others have pain-relieving ability.

There is definitely an increase in interest on this chemical. When people buy cannabis for that high, they are not just buying them. They are also buying terpenes which will change the way their cannabis smells or tastes. This also adds to the way their brains feel that rush. Different terpenes also give different effects by combining with the cannabinoids. This is another reason why terpenes are mentioned along with cannabis. So, the next time you buy cannabis get your terpenes too.

Knowing about the terpenes could also help you in a better understanding of the medicinal effects of the weed you smoke.

Where do we buy genuine terpenes? In many cases people who purchased from many buyers have reported that the product they got were not genuine. How do you ensure that you get the real stuff and not something being sold in the name of terpenes?

When it comes to purchase of terpenes the only name to trust is Mr. Terps.

Mr. Terps has been selling terpenes for over 30 years. They have strived to maintain the quality consistently and to ensure complete satisfaction to their customers. They assure originality and genuineness of the product.

Get your cannabis Terpenes only from Mr. Terps. This way you are assured that the product you receive is of the best quality.