What is a Terpene?

The earthy scent of pot is unmistakable to most people. Some varieties are sour, while others are sweet and tangy. The variations in scent and taste all come from the essential oil contained in the plant itself, otherwise known as a terpene. When terpenes are preserved they can work synergistically with cannabinoids to have positive effects for medical users.

There are hundreds of terpenes, but there are a few that are more common within cannabis plants. The five most common are

1. Myrcene

Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis. Has an earthy, musky, clove scent and is relaxing. It is good for treating insomnia, pain, and inflammation.


2. Limonene

Limonene has a citrus smell, like lemons. It is known to elevate mood, and provides stress relief. It is good for the treatment of anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, and cancer.


3. Pinene

Pinene has a scent similar to pine (hence the name) and it helps to elevate mood and enhance creativity. It may also potentially help with memory retention. Ideally used for the treatment of asthma, pain, inflammation, ulcers, anxiety, cancer.


4. Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene has a woody, spicy scent. It is mainly used in the treatment of pain, anxiety/depression, and ulcers as it primarily provides stress relief.


5. Linalool

Linalool has a floral aroma, similar to lavender. It helps to enhance mood and can be sedative. Best used in the treatment of anxiety and depression. Will also help those with insomnia and pain.

Although the effects of terpenes are not thoroughly researched, users do report a difference in effects based on the terpene profile. This effect is not only the taste and smell, but the synergistic nature of the terpene working with the cannabinoids. Many Licenced Producers in Canada provide a terpene profile for each of their marijuana strains to help users choose based on their medical needs.




Hanna, Ab. “What Are Terpenes?” High Times, High Times, 10 Apr. 2018, hightimes.com/guides/what-are-terpenes/.

Rahn, Bailey. “What Are Cannabis Terpenes and What Do They Do?” Leafly, 7 Sept. 2018, www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/terpenes-the-flavors-of-cannabis-aromatherapy.

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