What Are Cannabis Terpenes?

What Are Cannabis Terpenes?

28th Jun 2019

Terpenes are aromatic oils with distinctive flavors like citrus, berry, mint, and pine. Terpenes play a key role in differentiating the effects of cannabis oils. Some terpenes promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others promote focus and acuity. Arguably the most fascinating characteristic of terpenes is their ability to interact synergistically with cannabinoids. 

Each individual terpene is associated with unique effects. Some promote relaxation and stress-relief, while others promote focus and acuity. Linalool, for example, is believed to be relaxing whereas limonene elevates mood.

The effect profile of any given terpene may change in the presence of other compounds in a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to understand each terpenes effect when used in harmony with others.

Their differences can be subtle, but most importantly, terpenes may offer additional medical value as they mediate our body’s interaction with therapeutic cannabinoids.

Many cannabis analysis labs now test terpene content, so you may have a better idea of what effects a particular brand of oil might produce. With their unlimited combinations of synergistic effects, terpenes will certainly open up new scientific and medical terrains for cannabis research.

Most Common Cannabis Terpenes


weed terpene pinene

Aroma: Pine

Vaporizes At: 311ºF (155ºC)

Potential Effects: Alertness, memory retention, counteracts some THC effects

Potential Medical Value: Treatment of asthma, pain, inflammation, ulcers, anxiety, cancer

Also Found in: Pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill


weed terpene myrcene

Aroma: Cardamom, cloves, musky, earthy, herbal

Vaporizes At: 332ºF (167ºC)

Potential Effects: Sedating “couchlock” effect, relaxing

Potential Medical Value: Antioxidant; treatment of insomnia, pain, and inflammation

Also Found in: Mango, lemongrass, thyme, hops


terpene weed limonene

Aroma: Citrus

Vaporizes At: 348ºF (176ºC)

Potential Effects: Elevated mood, stress relief

Potential Medical Value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, inflammation, pain, and cancer

Also Found in: Fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint


weed terpene caryophyllene

Aroma: Pepper, spicy, woody, cloves

Vaporizes At: 266ºF (130ºC)

Potential Effects: Stress relief

Potential Medical Value: Treatment of pain, anxiety/depression, ulcers

Also Found in: Black pepper, cloves, cinnamon


weed terpene linalool

Aroma: Floral

Vaporizes At: 388ºF (198ºC)

Potential Effects: Mood enhancement, sedation

Potential Medical Value: Treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia, pain, inflammation, and neurodegenerative disease

Also Found in: Lavender


weed terpene humulene

Aroma: Hops, woody, earthy

Vaporizes At: 222ºF (106ºC)

Potential Medical Value: Anti-inflammatory

Also Found in: Hops, coriander, cloves, basil


weed terpene ocimene

Aroma: Sweet, herbal, and woody

Vaporizes At: 122ºF (50­ºC)

Potential Medical Value: Antiviral, anti-fungal, antiseptic, decongestant, antibacterial

Also Found in: Mint, parsley, pepper, basil, mangoes, orchids, and kumquats


weed terpene terpinolene

Aroma: Piney, floral, and herbal

Vaporizes At: 366ºF (186ºC)

Potential Effects: Relaxing

Potential Medical Value: Antioxidant, sedative, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-cancer

Also Found in: Nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, apples, cumin, and lilacs

(This article has been edited to accommodate Irish legislation on health products)

This article was first published by Leafy