Everything You Need to Know About the Benefits of Terpenes

Macro photo of hemp flower trichomes.

In this article, you will learn everything about terpenes – From the smells they produce, to the products they are used in. And, of course, let’s not forget about the many benefits of terpenes. Keep reading to become a terpene expert. 

What Are Terpenes?

Have you ever smelled a certain cannabis strain and instantly fell in love with the aroma? Every strain has a unique terpene profile that is responsible for that delicious smell and taste.

  • Terpenes are aromatic oils that are secreted by the same glands that produce cannabinoids like CBD and THC.

What Are Terpenes Used for?

While terpenes can be found in most plant species, they’re more concentrated in cannabis than almost any other plant.

With over 200 known terpenes found in the cannabis species, they can produce sweet fruity flavors all the way to the famous diesel scent that most OG’s are known for.

While we enjoy the fragrance and flavors that these compounds create, their primary purpose is to repel predators and encourage pollination!

In addition, terpenes also have beneficial properties when consumed. Similar to cannabinoids, they bind to receptors in the brain and body producing various effects.

These therapeutic properties have been used for centuries in natural medicines and are finally being understood by modern science.

What are the benefits of Terpenes?

Terpenes are beneficial for a number of reasons: They’re responsible for making cannabis palatable, protecting plants from natural pests and predators, and offering a host of therapeutic properties.

Growers who produce marijuana/hemp have become more focused on terpene profiles in recent years because it allows them to influence the smell and taste of their product.

When manipulated properly, terpenes can enhance the effects of each strain, as well as provide the “top shelf” smell and taste that consumers are looking for.

This is rapidly changing the industry and creating a more enjoyable experience for cannabis and hemp users.

Terpenes offer many beneficial properties. As scientific knowledge of terpenes advances, we will learn to target specific symptoms of people suffering from a variety of health conditions. 

One of the most interesting benefits of terpenes is that they work synergistically with and enhance cannabinoids like THC and CBD, creating what’s known in the scientific community as “The Entourage Effect”.

The Entourage Effect

The Entourage Effect is a phenomenon that occurs when multiple cannabis compounds work together to enhance the effects of one another.

When cannabinoids like THC and CBD are taken in conjunction with terpenes, they compliment each other and create a powerful compounding effect.

Because of this, cannabis compounds will deliver stronger and more effective results when taken together than alone.

For example, myrcene (the most common terpene found in cannabis/hemp) helps cannabinoids cross the blood-brain barrier more easily and causes THC to have more of a sedative effect than when taken alone.

CBD (with the help of specific terpenes) also lessens the loss of long-term memory associated with THC, and diminishes the overall psycho-activity of THC.

The Health Benefits of Terpenes In Hemp Flower

With over 200 known terpenes found in the cannabis species, these natural compounds play a huge role in the overall smell, taste, and effectiveness of each strain.

Below, we look at 9 of the most commonly found terpenes in hemp/cannabis.

Wood table filled with herbs and spices.

Myrcene 

  • This is the most abundant terpene found in cannabis with some strains containing up to 60% of this natural compound. The aroma has been described as being earthy, herbal, or fruity. This is also found in hops, citrus fruits, eucalyptus, and many other plants.
  • Myrcene lowers the resistance across the blood-brain barrier. This means that it will allow a faster onset of cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
  • Myrcene is also a potent analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antimutagenic. This incredible terp plays a massive role in cannabis as we know it today.
A bunch of pinecones growing on a tree with green pine needle branches surrounding them.

Pinene 

  • Pinene is the most widely encountered terpene in nature, found mostly in conifer trees, pine woods, and some citrus fruits. As the name suggests, it has a piney scent that can be recognized in most cannabis strains.
  • Pinene is used in certain medicines as an anti-inflammatory, expectorant, bronchodilator, and local antiseptic.
A lemon cut in half with 2 green leaves inbetween and a whole uncut lemon next to them.

Limonene 

  • Varieties high in limonene have a strong citrusy smell like oranges or lemons. It is found naturally in most citrus fruit rinds and promotes a general uplift in mood and attitude.
  • Limonene is highly absorbed when inhaled and quickly appears in the bloodstream. It suppresses the growth of many forms of fungi and bacteria, making it an ideal antifungal agent.
  • Plants use limonene as a natural insecticide to ward off predators and protect themselves from pests.
White ceramic dish full of black pepper corns being crushed with spilled black pepper corns on the table.

Caryophyllene 

  • Found in many herbs and spices, this flavorful terpene gives off a slightly peppery, almost spicy aroma. 
  • Caryophyllene is used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, analgesic, and recent studies show promising results in treating certain forms of cancer.
Wild field of beautiful purple lavender growing.

Linalool  

  • Linalool emits a beautiful floral aroma, lending lavender its unique fragrance. Known for promoting calming, relaxing effects, this terpene has been used for centuries as a sleep aid.
  • Linalool also lessens anxiety caused by THC, and has proven to be helpful in the treatment of psychosis and other psychiatric conditions. Recent studies suggest that it boosts immune function, can significantly reduce lung inflammation, and can restore cognitive and emotional function.
Women's hand holding burning sage with desk in the background with plants and a light on it.

Terpinolene 

  • A common component of sage and rosemary, Terpinolene is known to have a piney aroma with slight herbal and floral nuances.
  • It is a powerful natural insect repellent and has been found to be a central nervous system depressant. Perfect for inducing drowsiness or sleep and reduces psychological excitement or anxiety.
Four plastic cups of an amber IPA beer with the perfect amount of foam.

Humulene 

  • This is the terpene responsible for creating that famous hoppy smell and taste to beer. Used for generations in Chinese medicine for its anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, and appetite suppressing properties.
Bush of beautiful red roses.

Garaniol 

  • Produces a sweet, floral scent similar to roses, which makes it a popular choice in many bath and body products. Medically, Garaniol shows promise in treating neuropathy.
Screen filled with red green and orange bell peppers.

Delta 3 Carene 

  • Naturally present in pine extract, bell pepper, basil oil, and citrus fruits. It is known for its sweet, pungent fragrance and its effects that dry out excess body fluids such as tears, mucus, and sweat.
  • When inhaled it may cause irritation leading to coughing, itchy throat, and eye afflictions.

These are just a few of the many terpenes found in hemp/cannabis. There are many more and each one has a specific scent and flavor profile. Due to the sheer amount of variety in this field, you can see that the benefits of terpenes are limitless. 

Takeaway- Everything You Need To Know About The Benefits of Terpenes

Terpenes are non-psychoactive and legal. There are also numerous health benefits of terpenes, and they are being used by people with a wide range of health conditions including insomnia, anxiety, epilepsy, and cancer.

While each terpene adds its own therapeutic properties, terpenes are most beneficial when combined with cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

When combined, each compound complements the other, enhancing the overall effectiveness.

As the attitude towards cannabis changes and scientists learn more about the potential benefits of these unique compounds, it is likely that we’ll see them used more widely in medication and health products.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Are terpenes cannabinoids?

No, not technically. Cannabinoids refer to compounds found specifically in cannabis and hemp that interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body. Terpenes are found in hemp and marijuana in different quantities and of different types. But terpenes are also found in all sorts of other plants such as pine and citrus, and there are many different kinds. 

Terpenes are very aromatic, and you may notice their recognizable smells in both hemp and other plants. They are also used in many essential oils. 

Are terpenes psychoactive?

No, terpenes are an aromatic compound found in marijuana and hemp, but also in lemon, pine, and lavender. You may be conflating terpenes and some other compounds found in marijuana, such as THC. However, terpenes are a different compound that contributes mostly to smell, and, similar to CBD, has no psychoactive effect whatsoever. 

Are terpenes harmful?

No. Terpenes are natural and the FDA has recognized terpenes as generally safe. Terpenes can have positive, healthy effects on the body, but they are not psychoactive. 

What terpene makes you sleepy?

Among terpenes, Myrcene is the most common sedative. 

Do terpenes get you high?

No. In cannabis and hemp, the most commonly known psychoactive element comes from THC. This is what creates the “high” feeling. Other elements of the plant, such as CBD and terpenes, have no psychoactive effect and will not create a “high” or “stoned” feeling. There are many benefits of terpenes, but they are not psychoactive. 

Josh Murdoch

Josh Murdoch

I was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and although it is incurable, CBD and THC have been allowing me to live my life as a healthy adult now for years. For that reason, I’ve dedicated my career to spreading the good news about cannabinoids. Currently, I work for a vertically integrated cannabis company called Unrivaled Brands that operates in California, Oregon, and Nevada. Previously, I worked on two cannabis farms in northern California, one of which was located in the famous Humboldt County. I’ve also managed a medical cannabis delivery service in Marin County, California. I created CBD Facilitator to share what I’ve learned, and to recommend the best products that I have found in this chaotic market.

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