Terpenes are the compounds responsible for a plant's scent and flavor. Unlike other botanical species, each strain of cannabis has a unique terpene profile. Terpenes and cannabinoids work together to develop a strain's particular flavor and resulting high, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.
Plants consist of a wide variety of chemicals and compounds. Roughly 20,000 of these compounds reside in a category of essential oils referred to as terpenes. These organic agents are what give fruits, herbs, and flowers their own specific scent and flavor. Terpenes also create a synergistic alliance with compounds found in the human body as well as other chemicals within the plant, this union is know as the “entourage effect”, which magnifies the benefits of the plant’s components.
Terpenes can be used in foods, cocktails and other drinks, sauces, teas, extracts, etc. to enhance the flavor or scent of the product as well as the overall experience for the user. They are also used in the pharmaceutical industries – as they appear in medicines. Thanks to their aromatic properties, terpenes are irreplaceable in cosmetics industry – used extensively in the production of perfumes, they are an essential part of the fragrances we use every day.
Anything Food Grade or Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) terpenes are safe to use as flavor ingredients as long as they have been diluted prior to use. Our terpenes are highly concentrated, for this reason we recommend starting a 3% or 1-2 drops per gram.
Terpenes work together with other compounds to provide not just a scent or a flavor, but anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. In some cases, the terpenes help to magnify the effects of other compounds involved.
Terpenes work together with other compounds to provide not just a scent flavor, but anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. In some cases the terpenes help to magnify the effects of other compounds involved.
Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, which is where it’s mostly found in nature. In fact, one study showed that myrcene makes up as much as 65% of total terpene profile in some strains. Myrcene smell often reminds of earthy, musky notes, resembling cloves. Also, it has a fruity, red grape-like aroma.
Strains that contain 0.5% of this terpene are usually indicas with sedative effects. It has also been reported that myrcene is useful in reducing inflammation and chronic pain, which is why it’s usually recommended as a supplement during cancer treatments.
Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in all cannabis strains, but not all strains necessarily have it.
As its name says, limonene gives strains a citrusy smell that resembles lemons, which is no surprise as all citrus fruits contain large amounts of this compound. Limonene is used in cosmetics and also in cleaning products.
For therapeutic purposes, limonene is known to improve mood and reduce stress. Researchers also found it to have antifungal and antibacterial properties and one research even found it to have a role in reducing tumor size.
This terpene is the most responsible for the recognizable marijuana smell with its spicy and floral notes. Linalool is also found in lavender, mint, cinnamon and coriander. What’s interesting is that just like those aromatic herbs, it has very strong sedative and relaxing properties.
Patients suffering from arthritis, depression, seizures, insomnia and even cancer, have all found aid in this amazing terpene.
Best known for its spicy and peppery note, caryophyllene is also found in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and spices like oregano, basil and rosemary. Beta-caryophyllene binds to CB2 receptors, which makes it an ingredient in anti-inflammatory topicals and creams. Caryophyllene is the only terpene that binds to cannabinoid receptors.
Besides its analgesic and anti-anxiety properties, some studies have found that caryophyllene has some very promising properties when it comes to alcoholism rehabilitation.
Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene
These two cannabis terpenes smell like pine trees and that’s also where they can be found in large amounts. Other plants rich in pinene include rosemary, orange peels, basil, parsley and cannabis of course.
Like many other, pinene terpenes have an anti-inflammatory effect on humans. But more importantly, they help improve airflow and respiratory functions, while also helping to reduce memory loss related to THC. I know that this can sound weird because we’re talking about cannabis, but if the strain is rich in alpha and beta pinene, it can actually help with asthma.
Pinene also helps patients with arthritis, Crohn’s disease and cancer.
Alpha-bisabolol (also known as levomenol and bisabolol) has a pleasant floral aroma and can also be found in chamomile flower and candeia tree. This terpene found its use primarily in the cosmetics industry, but lately it has caught the attention of researchers since it showed medical benefits, especially in cannabis.
Alpha-bisabolol proved to be effective in treating bacterial infections and wounds and is a great antioxidant with anti-irritation and analgesic properties.
Also known as cineole, eucalyptol is the primary terpene of the eucalyptus tree. It has recognizable minty and cool tones in its smell but most cannabis strains do not contain large amounts of it. It usually makes up around 0.06% of a strains complete terpene profile.
This terpene has been used in cosmetics as well as medicine. When it comes to its medical value, eucalyptol relieves pain but also slows the growth of bacteria and fungus.
Although it is still in the early stages in research, this terpene has shown some promising effects on Alzheimer’s as well.
This one is a secondary terpene found mostly in flowers like jasmine, lemongrass, and tea tree oil. The smell of trans-nerolidol reminds of a mixture of rose, citrus and apples and can be described in general as woody, citrus and floral.
Trans-nerolidol is best known for its anti parasitic, antioxidant, anti-fungal, anticancer and antimicrobial properties.
Humulene was the first terpene found in hops. Its aroma contains earthy, woody and spicy notes.
Besides cannabis, it can be also found in clove, sage, and black pepper. It has a variety of medical properties. Early research has shown humulene to be anti-proliferative, meaning it prevents cancer cells from growing. Also, it proved to be effective in suppressing appetite, making it a potential weight loss tool. Furthermore, like many other cannabis terpenes mentioned above, it also reduces inflammation, relieves pain and fights bacterial infections.
Delta 3 Carene
This terpene is found in a number of plants like rosemary, basil, bell peppers, cedar and pine. Its aroma is sweet and resembles the smell of cypress tree. When it comes to the medical side of carene, it seems to be mostly beneficial in healing broken bones. That gives hope to patients suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis and even fibromyalgia.
What is also interesting about this terpene is that it stimulates our memory and helps memory retention. This is a major point in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
The best way to describe the smell of camphene is fir needles, musky earth and damp woodlands. Camphene aroma is often mistaken with myrcene, which is that trademark marijuana smell as most of us know it. From the medical point of view, camphene has great potential. When mixed with vitamin C, it becomes a powerful antioxidant.
It is widely used in conventional medicine as a topical for skin issues like eczema and psoriasis.
Its greatest potential lies in its ability to lower the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, further lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Borneol, with its herbal minty scent, can be found in herbs like rosemary, mint and camphor.
This terpene is a good natural insect repellent which makes it great in preventing diseases like the West Nile virus, being passed by ticks, fleas, mosquitoes etc. One study found that borneol kills breast cancer cells. It’s also widely used in Chinese traditional medicine, in acupuncture to be precise.
The aroma of terpineol can be best described as floral-like, reminiscent of lilacs, apple blossom, and a little bit citrusy. Terpineol tastes like anise and mint. Terpineol has a pleasant scent, similar to lilac, and is a common ingredient in perfumes, cosmetics, and flavors.
It relaxes heavily and it’s usually the one responsible for the notorious couch lock effect. Medical benefits of terpineol also include antibiotic and antioxidant properties.
This terpene got its name from sweet Valencia oranges — where it’s been found in large amounts. With its sweet citrusy aromas and flavors, it’s used as an insect repellent, too.
Besides cannabis, geraniol can be found in lemons and tobacco. Its smell reminds of rose grass, peaches and plums. It’s usually used in aromatic bath products and body lotions. Geraniol has shown a lot of potential as a neuroprotectant and antioxidant.