A Quick Guide to Terpenes: 6 Major Terpenes You Should Know About!

Recreational cannabis in Canada has now been legal for three years, and so much has evolved! A variety of new products are now available, and new ways to define what products is best for you.

Shoppers that were once given only a handful of choices from a black-market source are now able to browse from dozens of different strains at a legitimate, licensed retailer (such as ourselves!). Other than the names, packaging, and THC levels, what exactly sets these different cannabis strains apart? One of the more interesting and informative differences comes in the way of each strain’s unique terpene profile – a unique fingerprint that can help you identify the best strains suited to your tastes and needs.

 

So, what are Terpenes anyway?

Learning about terpenes can feel like learning a new language! Our guide will help you start practicing your terpenes lingo. We have previously taken our curious customers on a journey of cannabinoids, the THC & CBD molecules that have an effect on its end-user (e.g., feeling ‘high’, feeling relaxed). Terpenes are essentially fatty aromatic compounds that serve many purposes in plants, including protection from pests and disease. Terpenes can act as a repellant, but also as an attractant, bringing in pollinators like hummingbirds and bees.

Of the 200+ terpenes that exist in the natural world, infinite combinations exist in cannabis. While terpenes are not directly psychoactive, there is more and more supporting evidence that they are heavily influencing the consumer’s experiences (i.e., invigorating, relaxing, or more introspective). When you find ‘the strain’ that is just for you, this may be largely due to the exact combination of terpenes and how they vibe with your unique physiology. Part of our mission here at Flight Cannabis is to elevate our guest’s experience by providing as much terpene information as possible.

 

5 Terpene Facts to Get You Started

Before we give an overview of all the popular terpenes you should know about, here is a quick list of some other facts on these pungent hydrocarbons!

  • Terpenes are the primary ingredient of essential oils. If you have a diffuser, you’re already acquainted with terpenes!
  • Terpenes can account for up to 25% of the total oils produced by a plant’s trichome glands. We’re going to cover the major terpenes in cannabis, but these oils exist in many other plants, too! You may recognize a few.
  • ‘Full-spectrum’ or “HTFSE” extracts will have a high degree of naturally occurring terpenes. If you want more terpenes in your cannabis, look for full-spectrum.
  • Many concentrates, edibles, and even beverages are now including natural terpene flavors!
  • When it comes to flower, terpenes are locked in when following proper drying, curing, and storage protocols. Speak to your cannabis consultant about the best possible storage accessories to keep your cannabis smelling and tasting as fresh as possible!

Now that you’ve brushed up on what terpenes are, we can get into learning about the major and minor terpenes in cannabis. The major terpenes will be the most prominently found in cannabis, while the minor terpenes are usually found in trace amounts.

 

Major Terpenes

Myrcene

Smells Like: pungent, sour, earthy, skunky

Found in: mangos, hops

Strains high in Myrcene: OG Kush, White Widow, Critical Mass

Possible effectiveness: The predominant ‘indica’ terpene. May lead to “couch-lock” sensation due to sedative effects. Increases perceived euphoria through recruitment of more cannabinoid receptors.

Mangos cut up on a cutting board with cannabis flower and leaves

 

Pinene

Smells Like: pine, earthy, herbal, spicy

Found in: rosemary, parsley, basil, orange peel

Strains high in Pinene: Blue Dream, Wappa, Jack Herer

Possible effectiveness: It may help to stimulate memory and alertness, helpful as a bronchodilator. Also anti-bacterial.

Pine needles and cannabis flower up close

 

Beta-Caryophyllene

Smells Like: pungent, peppery, earthy

Found in: cloves, hops, basil, oregano, black peppercorns

Strains high in B-Caryophyllene: Bubba Kush, Chemdawg, Sour Diesel.

Possible effectiveness: Acts on the endocannabinoid receptors (similar to the way CBD does) to moderate the inflammatory response.

cloves, star anise, black pepper corns and other spices lay on a surface, scattered. Terpenes from these spices are commonly found in cannabis.

 

Humulene

Smells Like: woody, spicy, herbal, floral

Found in: hops, sage, ginger, ginseng

Strains high in Humulene: Super Lemon Haze, Headband, Gelato

Possible effectiveness: Is said to be helpful as an appetite suppressant unlike many terpenes and cannabinoids associated with increasing the appetite.

Humulene is the terpene commonly found in hops as pictured here. The hops are green and flowing out of a glass cup

 

Limonene

Smells Like: citrus (orange), fresh spice

Found in: citrus, juniper, rosemary, pine

Strains high in Limonene: Super Silver Haze, Do-Si-Dos, Wedding Cake

Possible effectiveness: Often synonymous with an elevated mood, it may even help with indigestion/acid-reflux.

Lemon and Lime with cannabis flower

 

Linalool

Smells Like: flowers, lavender, citrus, fresh spice

Found in: lavender

Strains high in Linalool: Zkittlez, Amnesia Haze, OG Shark

Possible effectiveness: Possibly useful as an analgesic, and also has heavily relaxing properties.

Linalool is found in lavendar pictured here with cannabis flower

 

Minor Terpenes

Farnesene

Smells Like: sweet, woody, berry, fruity

Found in: turmeric, green apple peel, potatoes, ginger

Strains high in Farnesene: Cherry Punch, White Rhino, Royal Goddess

Possible effectiveness: Anti-inflammatory and also has a calming effect on the mind. Farnesene is a natural pest repellant as well.

Ginger and apples and mint all in a glass with a cannabis flower bud on the table next to it.

 

Nerolidol

Smells Like: woody, tree bark, perfume

Found in: ginger, tea tree, lemongrass

Strains high in Nerolidol: Monkey Glue, MK Ultra, Sour Kush

Possible effectiveness: Sedative and relaxing effects. Also being tested as a carrier to help some drugs cross the skin barrier.

Ginger root on a plate surrounded by other dried florals and aromatic root vegetables.

 

Guaiol

Smells Like: mint, evergreen, and pine.

Found in: cypress pine, evergreen guaiacum plant (native to the Caribbean)

Strains high in Cannatoni: Jean-Guy, Tangerine Dream

Possible effectiveness: Possible anti-microbial effects, plus you may find this in many household products as an aromatic, improving the smell.

Pine trees in a forest with a mist in the middle ground

 

Fenchol

Smells Like: pine, lemon, camphor

Found in: basic, fennel, lime, nutmeg

Strains high in Fenchol: Ice Cream Cake, OG Kush, Banana Kush

Possible effectiveness: Antibacterial, and an antioxidant, it is often also used in perfumes.

Mint Ice cream pictures amongst cannabis hemp leaves

 

Phellandrene

Smells Like: minty, woody, citrusy

Found in: mint, cinnamon, lavender, black pepper

Strains high in Phellandrene: Jack Herer, Trainwreck, Sage n Sour, Chocolate Fondue

Possible effectiveness: A unique and hard to identify terpene that has possible uplifting properties based on a small study in 2015.

Cinnamon sticks in a black mug with sugar sprinkling on from above

 

Cymene

Smells Like: woody, earthy, citrusy, musty

Found in: cumin, oregano, cilantro, eucalyptus

Strains high in Cymene: Mango Haze, Hindu Kush

Possible effectiveness: Calming and relaxing, cymene may also help in balancing mood and lowering anxiety.

Cymene is common in many spices shown in this photo has eucalyptus, spray perfumes, lotions and grinders full of cannabis flower

 

Bisabolol

Smells Like: fragrant and floral

Found in: chamomile flower and candeia tree

Strains high in Bisabol: Rockstar Tuna, D. Bubba, MAC1

Possible effectiveness: Anti-microbial properties may help to clear up some skin issues. It is commonly used in skincare products for this reason!

Chamomile tea pictures in white and blue china tea cups and cannabis hemp leaves strewn about

 

Camphene

Smells Like: musky, pine, damp earth

Found in: citronella, ginger, valerian root

Strains high in Camphene: Lemon Berry, OG Kush, Mendocino Purps

Possible effectiveness: Cooling sensation when applied topically, also highly anti-fungal.

Ginger root on a cutting board with florals surrounding it

 

Carene

Smells Like: sweet, pungent, citrus, pine

Found in: allspice, rosemary, cedar, basil, turpentine

Strains high in Carene: Jack Herer, AK-47, Super Lemon Haze

Possible effectiveness: Traditionally used in the production of perfumes and cosmetics due to its anti-inflammatory properties and may help improve bone health.

Carene is a terpene found in rosemary. Pictured is a sprig of rosemary and a cannabis bud

 

Eucalyptol

Smells Like: eucalyptus

Found in: eucalyptus, mint, sage, tea tree

Strains high in Eucalyptol: Super Silver Haze, Girl Scout Cookies, Dutch Treat

Possible effectiveness: Has a very cooling sensation and is anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial.

picture are a hemp leaf with a variety of herbs on top of it

 

Navigating the growing world of cannabis can be daunting. Before partaking in cannabis, understand that each individual has their own, unique experience.

Learning all you can about how cannabis interacts with your body will help you determine your desired outcome. But keep in mind, it is a new space that still requires more research. Terpenes are quickly becoming a new way to define your cannabis experience. Much like a wine connoisseur, you can become a cannabis connoisseur! Cannabis connoisseurs are strain aficionados, and if you’re up to the task, we will be continuing to provide our latest content on our blog!

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter for our latest release or follow us on social media for new content on our blog in the coming months. For now, just know the world of terpenes is expansive, and this naturally occurring aromatic oil can be found in most of your daily meals, and your cannabis. What terpenes or terpene combinations will you be looking for? Check out a few of our full-spectrum products!

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