What Are Cannabis Terpenes

Have you ever noticed the sweet, earthy, and musky fragrance that cannabis plants give off? Hemp experts usually distinguish weeds from other plants due to their aroma. You may ask what causes all plants including cannabis to get their unique and distinct smell. Does this have to do anything with cannabinoids? Nope! This has to do with a special type of compound called terpenes that occur in all plants. 

What Are Cannabis Terpenes?

Terpenes belong to the class of aromatic compounds that naturally occur in all plants. The combination of terpenes is what makes a plant generate a pleasant smell. Cannabis contains these compounds in large amounts. Who came up with the name terpenes? A German chemist, August Kekulé, came up with this name for aromatic compounds occurring in cannabis in 1866.

Does all cannabis smell the same? No! You won’t get the same smell from every cannabis plant. Its fragrance depends on the type of hemp. Also, the scent of hemp relies on the kind of terpenes it contains. There are around 150 terpenes in cannabis, but they all exist in varying concentrations. Therefore, only those terpenes portray the characteristics in the plant that exist in higher concentrations. For example, the terpenes combo in Jack Herer strain produces a woody, earthy, and sweet scent. 

Where Do Terpenes Occur In Weed?

Female hemp plants produce terpenes in hair-like, sticky glands called trichomes. These glands occur numerously on cannabis flowers and buds. How can you identify trichomes? They’ll look like thousands of sand or sugar particles sprinkled onto cannabis buds or flowers. 

How Do Cannabis Terpenes Work?

What is the function of terpenes in plants? Terpenes play a vital role by forming a defense mechanism for plants against germs. Moreover, terpenes help plants to pull in pollinators and deter creatures that can damage them. 

What about the human body? When you consume a cannabinoid product that is infused with terpenes, the compounds begin to take effect as soon as they enter the bloodstream. The terpenes interact with different receptors in the brain, glands, immunity system, and connective tissues of our body. This causes them to induce a variety of therapeutic effects.

Terpenes may also help in alleviating stress or making you feel happier by stimulating the serotonin and dopamine receptors of your body. This kind of body interaction influences the effects of the cannabinoid that a cannabinoid product contains. Such an effect is called the entourage effect. Hence, if you consume a THC or CBD product infused with terpenes, you’ll likely experience stronger effects of THC or CBD. 

Moreover, the entourage effect of terpenes could be a possible reason for cannabis strains’ varying impacts. For example, some cannabis strains give an energizing high whereas others cause deep relaxation, making a person sleepy.

How Many Types Of Terpenes Are Present In Cannabis?

Some of the most common terpenes that you can find in cannabis plants include:

  • Limonene

One of the most common terpenes found in cannabis plants is limonene terpene. This terpene also naturally occurs in oranges, lemon rinds, and other citrusy fruits. It creates a citrusy flavor and aroma when added to different cannabinoid products. You’ll be surprised to know that limonene is also used in cleaning products as well as cosmetics.

What Are Cannabis Terpenes

This terpene has been described to carry mood elevating properties that can also relieve stress, and it also contains anti-fungal and anti-bacterial functions. According to research, it’s also been stated that limonene can increase serotonin levels that are beneficial in treating anxiety and depression. 

  • Caryophyllene

This cannabis terpene is well known for the spicy and peppery flavor and aroma that it creates. It’s also commonly found in black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, rosemary, basil, oregano, and other spices. The caryophyllene terpene carries anti-inflammatory properties by binding with the CB2 receptors, which is why this terpene is considered the only terpene that can interact with the endocannabinoid system. 

Thanks to the properties it carries, this terpene is included in various topicals and creams, and it has also been said that this terpene can be used as a way to reduce intake of alcohol, or even use it to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

  • Pinene (Alpha-pinene, Beta-pinene)

This type of cannabis terpene is commonly found in pine trees, rosemary, parsley, basil, orange peels, and of course cannabis plants. The pinene terpene has a woody flavor and aroma that is similar to that of pinene trees. It also carries anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve pain, and it can also be used as a way to improve respiratory functions. This terpene also has the ability to open airways and relieve anxiety.

  • Myrcene

The myrcene terpene is considered to be one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis plants. It carries an eathy, musky aroma, as well as a citrusy, grape-like scent, and it can be found in other plants such as hops, lemon grass, and even citrusy fruits. 

This terpene can help reduce chronic pain and inflammation, and it can also be used during the treatment of cancer as a supplement.. 

  • Terpinolene

Similar to the limonene terpene, terpinolene has a slight citrusy smell, and a floral, piney aroma. This terpene is found in lilac, cumin, and nutmeg. Due to the sedative effects that it can create, its best for treating insomnia and helping people sleep at night.

5 Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is The Cost Of Synthetic Terpenes?

Synthetic terpenes cost about $10-$20 per gram, depending on the place you purchase them from. 

  • Which Cannabis Terpenes Has The Strongest Smell?

The cannabis terpene that has the strongest smell is Linalool. It has a spicy aroma and a slight floral scent. 

  •  What Cannabis Strains Contain Myrcene?

The most common cannabis strains that you can find the myrcene terpene present in, include:

  • Blue Dream
  • Purple Haze
  • OG Kush

The Final Verdict – Do Cannabis Terpenes Make You High?

Although cannabis terpenes are extracted directly from cannabis plants, they don’t have the ability to make you feel high. There are some cannabis terpenes that are considered psychoactive because they can interact with the endocannabinoid system, and they can also enhance the effects of your high, but that’s as far as they can go. However, they play a very important role in creating the flavors and aromas of different cannabinoid products.