Terpenes 101: Meet 5 of the Most Prevalent

If there’s one thing you know about cannabis, it’s that it has a very—shall we say—“distinctive” aroma. The smell of cannabis goes by many names. Some people find it delightful and inviting, while others would prefer not to smell it at all!

But what you may not know about that smell is that it’s created by unique combinations of aromatic oils called terpenes. And in addition to giving different strains of cannabis their distinctive and unique aromas and flavors, they contribute powerful effects and medicinal qualities as well.

So let’s take a moment to get to know these fascinating all-natural compounds, and get to know 5 of the most important.

Terpenes: A Powerful Factor in the Effects of Cannabis

Terpenes aren’t unique to cannabis. They show up in plants, trees, and even some insects and animals! But they’re particularly abundant in the cannabis plant, where these fragrant oils serve several purposes, like warning predatory insects and pests away.

But it turns out there’s more to terpenes’ role; much more. Over 2000 years ago, Chinese physicians had learned that the terpene borneol delivered pain-fighting effects without sedation. Since then, terpenes like lavender-scented linalool have become staples in anti-anxiety and medicinals.

There are many terpenes in cannabis. Currently, researchers have identified at least 200! But let’s focus on a handful that delivers the most important effects. And we should begin with the most important one: Myrcene.


The most abundant terpene, myrcene is characterized by a fruity and grapey flavor. It’s known to impart gentle sedative effects, and in addition, it synergizes the actions of other terpenes and cannabinoids, making it a very important overall player in the cannabis plant.

Strains high in myrcene include: Skunk XL, White Widow, and Special Kush

Alpha-Pinene and Beta-Pinene

These related terpenes are known for their distinctive piney, resinous aroma. That’s one reason they remind people of some of their other sources, including pine trees, orange peels, and herbs such as rosemary.

Pinene exhibits a gentle anti-inflammatory effect, especially in our lungs and airways. Research demonstrates that inhaling cannabis rich in pinene using a device like a vape pen or vaporizer, which delivers a cooling mist, can help reduce inflammatory responses like asthma.

Strains high in pinene include: Jack Herer, Strawberry Cough, Blue Dream, and Dutch Treat


Caryophyllene delivers an unforgettable flavor, reminiscent of black pepper, cinnamon, oregano. What’s more, this terpene imparts powerful analgesic and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties, too.

Strains high in caryophyllene include: Super Silver Haze, OG Kush, and Rock Star


Another distinctive-smelling terpene, humulene occurs in hops, which lend many beers their spicy and bitter flavors. As well as being an anti-bacterial, this terpene has been shown to fight the growth of tumors and even suppress the appetite. Could this be the cure for the munchies?

Strains high in humulene include: White Widow, Headband, Girl Scout Cookies (GSC), and Pink Kush


As you might guess, this terpene imparts a bright and fresh citrusy aroma to many strains of cannabis, as well as fruits like oranges, tangerines, and lemons. Limonene is appreciated for its ability to impart a gentle uplift and a subtle mood-lightening. Others lean on it to reduce stress and anxiety. 

Strains high in limonene include: Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, Durban Poison, and Jack Herer

Ready to see what these terpenes can do for you? Find your nearest location to place your order now.