So what's this terpene thing you keep hearing about? 
The very quick and short answer: terpenes are what you smell when you smell cannabis and they hold numerous medical benefits.
Terpenes (and terpenoids) are aromatic organic compounds found in many plants and even some insects. Plants developed terpenes to ward off herbivores that might eat them and to attract helpful predators and pollinators. Cannabis has naturally high levels of terpenes. "Dank" flower gets its stank from being rich in terpenes.
So...why do terpenes matter and why should you care?
  1. They directly affect your high and contribute to The Entourage Effect of cannabis
  2. They have medical benefits
  3. They give cannabis, concentrates, and vape oil its natural flavor
groundbreaking 2011 paper by neurologist and researcher Ethan Russo described the way cannabinoids and terpenes work together to boost and modulate the effects of one another in the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). For a long time THC was considered the only chemical of psychoactive importance in cannabis. Russo and team helped reveal how other cannabinoids (like CBD) and terpenes can either increase or decrease the effects of THC and other chemicals in the body that interact with the ECS.
In the same paper by Dr. Russo, it was revealed that terpenes “could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.”



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 anxiolytic properties, some studies have found that caryophyllene has a very promising role in alcohol rehabilitation. A group of scientists performed research on mice and found that this terpene reduces the voluntary intake of alcohol. They even recommended caryophyllene for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Caryophyllene has the following potential medical benefits: Anti-inflammatory and analgesic Alcohol craving reduction Anti-cancer Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant Strains like Super Silver Haze, Skywalker, and Bubba Kush are all rich in caryophyllene.


Humulene naturally occurs in clove, basil, hops, and cannabis sativa. It carries a subtle earthy, woody aroma with spicy herbal notes you might recognize in some of your favorite strains. Though cannabis is commonly associated with appetite stimulation, humulene is actually known to suppress hunger. This makes it an excellent weight loss tool! Humulene’s other potential effects include: Anti-bacterial Anti-inflammatory Anti-tumor Pharmacokinetic Some strains that are known to test high in humulene include White Widow, GSC (f.k.a Girl Scout Cookies), and Headband. Among Tilray’s crop, high-humulene varieties include Pink Kush, Sour Diesel, and Skywalker OG.


Myrcene (or β-myrcene) is a terpene that occurs often in highly fragrant plants and herbs such as mangoes, hops, bay laurel leaves, thyme, lemongrass, and basil. Myrcene is produced by numerous cannabis strains, and some rodent-model studies have suggested that it might lend sedative effects. Myrcene’s Effects and Benefits Anti-inflammatory Analgesic (pain relief) Antibiotic Sedative Antimutagenic Strains that are rich in myrcene are Skunk XL, White Widow, and Special Kush. Bonus tip: If you want to experience a stronger buzz from marijuana, eat a mango about 45 minutes before smoking. Mango contains a significant amount of myrcene, which is naturally synergistic with THC and allows cannabinoids to more easily bridge the blood-brain barrier.


Linalool is a naturally occurring terpene found in many flowers and spices including lavender and coriander. It gives off a complex yet delicate floral aroma, and while its effects are myriad, it is in particular one of the substances used most widely to reduce stress. Humans have inhaled the scent of certain plants, including many containing linalool, since ancient times to help lower stress levels, fight inflammation, and combat depression. Linalool has been the subject of many studies, including a recent one in which scientists allowed lab rats to inhale linalool while exposing them to stressful conditions. It was reported that linalool returned elevated stress levels in the immune system to near-normal conditions. Patients suffering from arthritis, depression, seizures, insomnia and even cancer, have all found relief with this amazing terpene. Linalool’s Effects and Benefits Anti-anxiety Antidepressant Sedative Anti-inflammatory Anti-epileptic Analgesic Strains that frequently display high levels of linalool include Amnesia Haze, Lavender, and LA Confidential.


Lemon, oranges and other citrus fruits' zest contain large amounts of this volatile monoterpene, which is also found in many other plants like mint, juniper, rosemary and pine needles. The rapid evaporation of monoterpenes makes limonene quickly hit the sensory receptors of insects, parasites, or curious animals, who immediately perceive its smell as a toxin. You can guess why some of the smartest plants are packed with lemony resins. After myrcene, limonene is the most abundant terpenes in most of the cannabis strains, but this doesn’t mean all varieties must smell like lemon. One of its chemical forms makes limonene smell mostly like tangerine, while another form smells like lemon, and the other tastes like grapefruit. Studies on the entourage effect in cannabis have found that limonene activates synergies with several cannabinoids and other terpenes. This terpene interacts positively with cannabinoids THC-A, CBD-A, CBC-A, CBC, CBC, CBG, and with other terpenes such as caryophyllene and linalool. Furthermore, the increased cell permeability caused by limonene facilitates the assimilation of other substances by the human body. When it comes to its therapeutic purposes, limonene is a mood-booster and a stress-crusher. Researchers also found it to have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, with one study even announcing that limonene may play a role in reducing tumor size. Limonene’s Effects and Benefits Limonene has a history in medicine, so it should come as no surprise that the limonene found in cannabis offers therapeutic benefits as well. Some of these studied effects include: Elevated mood Stress relief Antifungal properties Antibacterial properties May help relieve heartburn and gastric reflux Improves absorption of other terpenes and chemicals by way of the skin, mucous membranes, and digestive tract Some good examples of these are O.G. Kush, Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, Durban Poison, Jack Herer, and Jack the Ripper.


Alpha-pinene and Beta-pineneThese two 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 other, 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.


Alpha-bisabolol (also known as levomenol and bisabolol) has a pleasant floral
aroma and can also be found in chamomile flower and candeia tree.
This terpene found its use primarily in the cosmetics industry, but lately it has
caught the attention of researchers since it showed medical benefits, especially in
Alpha-bisabolol has proven to be effective in treating bacterial infections and wounds
and is a great antioxidant with anti-irritation and analgesic properties.
It can be found in strains like Harle-Tsu, Pink Kush, Headband, OG Shark, and


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.


Borneol, with its herbal minty scent, can be found in herbs like rosemary, mint and
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.


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.


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

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