Terpenes

Terpenes broken down

Aromatic molecules that are responsible for the unique aroma and taste of any individual strain

  • Assist other cannabis molecules to produce a desired effect
  • Important to the overall cannabis experience due to their influence on the body and mind
  • “The nose knows” – shopping by smell can help consumers find strains that can best suit their needs. 

Examples of terpenes

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 the 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. Strains that have “lemon” or “sour” in their name are usually rich in limonene.

Linalool

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. Some well known linalool strains are Amnesia Haze, Special Kush, Lavender, LA Confidential, and OG Shark.

Caryophyllene

is 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. A group of scientists performed research on mice and found that this terpene reduces voluntary intake of alcohol. They even recommended caryophyllene for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms. You can benefit from caryophyllene by using strains like Super Silver Haze, Skywalker and Rock Star

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 others, 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. You can find pinene in strains like Jack Herer, Strawberry Cough, Blue Dream, Island Sweet Skunk, Dutch Treat and Romulan.

Eucalyptol

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. Eucalyptol can be found in Super Silver Haze and Headband.

Trans-nerolidol

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 antiparasitic, antioxidant, antifungal, anticancer and antimicrobial properties. Strains like Island Jack Herer, Sweet Skunk, and Skywalker OG are rich in nerolidol.

Eucalyptol

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. Eucalyptol can be found in Super Silver Haze and Headband.

Trans-nerolidol

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 antiparasitic, antioxidant, antifungal, anticancer and antimicrobial properties. Strains like Island Jack Herer, Sweet Skunk, and Skywalker OG are rich in nerolidol.

Humulene

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. You can find humulene in strains like White Widow, Headband, Girl Scout Cookies, Sour Diesel, Pink Kush and Skywalker OG.

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.

Borneol

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. Strains high in borneol are Amnesia Haze, Golden Haze, K13 Haze

Terpineol

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. It can be found Girl Scout Cookies, Jack Herer, and OG Kush strains.

Camphene

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. Camphene is present in Ghost OG, Strawberry Banana, Mendocino Purps.

Valencene

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 repellant, too. Valencene can be found in strains like Tangie and Agent Orange.

Geraniol

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. It is present in strains like Amnesia Haze, Great White Shark, Afghani, Headband, Island Sweet Skunk, OG Shark and Master Kush.

Source: https://cannacon.org/15-terpenes-cannabis-explained/