Peridot Blog

cannabis terpenes

Terpenes in Cannabis: What Are They?

Seeing more and more flavored tinctures, vaping oils, lotions, foods, and beverages but not sure what those flavors actually are or where they come from? No problem, you’ve come to the right place to learn about the smells, flavors, and types of terpenes.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are chemical compounds found in many plants. Plants produce these organic compounds to scare off threats and attract pollinators and they are able to do thanks to a rich aroma/smell generated by the terpene compound. The glands in cannabis that produce THC and CBD, also produce these aromatic oils. 

Apart from affecting the smell, terpenes also affect the flavor of cannabis and how it “feels”. They also have numerous health benefits including helping with pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal, and bacterial infections.

Terpenes are naturally secreted by plants and since they have many health benefits, many CBD products are now spiked with different terpenes to give each product:

  • Unique flavors and aroma
  • Add distinct characteristic (energetic, sleepy, calm, etc) to the CBD product
  • Enhance the “high”
  • Make the product more health

How Many Terpenes Are There?

Though there are hundreds of different types of terpenes secreted by different plants, a handful of terpenes have been found to be best for use with cannabis. All of these popular terpenes have health benefits, unique flavors and aroma, as well as their own characteristic. 

Here are the most popular terpenes:

Linalool

Where It’s Found?

Linalool is found in plants such as lavender, mint and some citrus fruit. 

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

It promotes a floral, lavender aroma and flavor. 

What Does It Do?

Strains with this terpene are likely to help to reduce anxiety and may act as a mild sedative. There is also some evidence that it promotes pain relief and acts as an anticonvulsant.

Myrcene

Where It’s Found?

Myrcene is found in tropical fruits, as well as hops and lemongrass. 

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

It promotes a citrus, earthy flavor and aroma that’s akin to sweet melon or mango. 

What Does It Do?

Strains that carry myrcene may promote relaxation, reduce inflammation and promote cell apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death that is healthy and protective for the body.

Humulene

Where It’s Found?

Humulene is found in many aromatic plants such as hops, Vietnamese coriander, among others. 

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

It promotes an earthy and hoppy flavor in cannabis. 

What Does It Do?

Humulene promotes anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anorectic (suppresses appetite) effects. It has commonly been blended with caryophyllene and used as a major remedy for inflammation, and is well known to Chinese medicine.

Caryophyllene

Where It’s Found?

Similar to Humulene, this terpene is found in many plants such as basil and black pepper. 

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

It promotes a rich, spicy aroma and flavor. 

What Does It Do?

Research has shown that Caryophyllene has an affinity for being anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, as well as reducing inflammation and tumor growth. There is also some evidence it may act as an insect repellant.

Pinene

Where It’s Found?

It is found in coniferous trees, pine trees, and rosemary. 

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

This terpene promotes an earthy, woody and pine aroma and flavor. 

What Does It Do?

Pinene’s properties are believed to carry anti-inflammatory effects, particularly for those with asthma as it is bronchodilator. There is also some evidence to support it improves memory.

Limonene

Where It’s Found?

Limonene is found in fruits like orange, lemon, and grapefruit.

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

It promotes a citrus flavor and aroma. 

What Does It Do?

It holds some anti-tumor qualities while at the same time being an immuno-stimulant. Limonene is best known for treating gastric reflux and as an anti-fungal agent.

Nerolidol

Where It’s Found?

Nerolidol is found in flowers, gourd, wood, and some fruits. 

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

It promotes a distinctive woody, bark flavor and aroma. 

What Does It Do?

Nerolidol promotes relaxation and sleep, acting as a mild sedative. Effective at treating skin conditions, this terpene also carries anti-malarial and antioxidant properties.

Terpinolene

Where It’s Found?

Terpinolene is found in plants like oregano, cumin, lilac, and some citrus and conifers. 

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

It promotes a complex flavor and aroma that combines woody, herbal, citrus and pine notes. 

What Does It Do?

It has also been used in the treatment of insomnia for centuries. Known for being antioxidant, immune-modulating, as well as anti-tumor, antibacterial and antifungal.

Eucalyptol

Where It’s Found?

Also known as Cineol, this eucalyptol is found in plants like rosemary, sage, sweet basil and of course the eucalyptus tree. 

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

It promotes a floral, minty flavor and aroma.

What Does It Do?

It acts as an anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-tumor and antifungal properties. Its also been shown to boost memory and cognition. There is speculation it’s also effective for Alzheimer’s disease.

Valencene

Where It’s Found?

Valencene is commonly found particularly in oranges. 

What Does Taste/Smell Like?

It promotes a full range of citrus aromas which is often complemented with the smell of freshly cut wood or herbs.

What Does It Do?

So far, it’s most popular application acts as an insect repellent. It safely repels mosquitos, fleas, and ticks at the same rate or higher than DEET. However, its also anti-inflammatory and acts as a bronchodilator, as well as promotes cognitive function and helps alertness.

How to Choose The Right Terpene For You?

Each terpene has something special and unique to offer. For most people, the choice of terpene will be dictated by their noses and taste buds. The kind of flavor and aromas you like is a good place to start when choosing terpenes.

However, there is another way of choosing terpenes – through their medical benefits. As we mentioned, terpenes have a wide range of relaxation and pain relief qualities that help everyone from cancer patients going through chemotherapy to people with chronic insomnia. 

Through this guide, you should be able to find the terpene that not only pleases your senses but also suits your medical needs.