The pungent and musky aroma of cannabis is recognizable even if it is invisible.  Specific chemical compounds known as terpenes are responsible for producing the characteristic scent of different strains of cannabis. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are also present in other plants as well giving them their distinct flavour and scent.

Different strains of cannabis contain more than 150 different terpenes in varying combinations. Even though some of these are present in trace amounts but they are still enough to produce the distinct smell and flavour associated with each strain. Interestingly, terpenes have more functions other than producing the aroma. They are also known to protect the plants against infections and predators.

Terpenes are present in the trichomes of the female cannabis plant. Trichomes are glands that are sticky and translucent in appearance.

Terpenes play a crucial role in the survival and growth of cannabis plant.  They enhance the attractiveness of cannabis plant by enriching it with different flavours.  Different factors contribute to the amount of terpenes produced by a cannabis plant including exposure to light, temperature, growing medium, level of nutrition, indoor or outdoor growth and harvesting time.  Terpenes are also volatile and can be easily lost during the extraction process which is why we need to try more sensitive extraction methods.

Cannabis products such as edibles, pre-rolls, disposables and concentrates containing full or broad spectrum CBD has a significant quantity of terpenes which can help the body in several ways. Here is everything you to know about it.

Medicinal benefits of terpenes

Numerous researches have shown that terpenes offer a wide range of therapeutic benefits.

With so many new viruses emerging, the researchers are always looking for antiviral compound.  Terpenes such as alpha and beta pinene, caryophyllene, camphor and carvone also have the ability to kill viruses.

Some terpenes express the ability to inhibit the growth and activity of cancer cells.  Beta-myrcene, terpinene, pinene and camphor offer notable antitumor and anticancer properties.

Terpenes also possess mood altering properties which can be used as antidepressants.  It is estimated that about 25% of antidepressants are made from herbal extracts that contain terpenes.  Linalool and beta pinene are the most common terpenes used in antidepressant medications.

Preliminary research has shown that terpenes also possess analgesic properties and can help in relieving pain caused by various health issues. Humulene, geraniol and beta pinene interact with the endocannabinoid system to alter pain perception.


Most cannabis strains contain myrcene and caryoohyllene in significant quantity. Myrcene is commonly found in lemongrass and hops producing earthy, spicy and musky scent. Cannabis strains containing more myrcene produce sedating effects. It also possesses implausible anti-inflammatory properties that help with diseases like multiple sclerosis and arthritis etc.


Beta caryophyllene tends to produces a spicy and peppery scent. Along with most cannabis strains, beta caryophyllene is also found in black pepper, rosemarry, oregano and cloves. It is an anxiety reliever and produces relaxation feelings. It is known to interact with the endocannabinoid system by binding to the cb2 receptors just like CBD.  It can help with boosting the immune system of the body and reducing the symptoms of various health issues including anxiety depression pain and discomfort.


Limonene is an uplifting terpene that produces a clean, fresh and citrusy aroma.  It is found in the rinds of orange, lemon and ginger. You can easily detect limonene in cannabis strains like black cherry soda and papaya punch.  Limonene is known to reduce stress and elevates mood which can help the patients of depression.  Anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties of limonene make it very useful for the immune system cells and help them to perform better.


Pinene is the most abundant terpene ground in nature. It produces earthy, woody and fresh aroma. Most cannabis strains contain both alpha and beta pinene and their percentage may be around 20%. Different plants high in pinene content have been used for a variety of health conditions like gastrointestinal issues, pain, inflammation, hypertension and seizures. Its anti-fungal properties can also help in fighting against fungal infections.


Linalool is a fragrant terpene usually found in lavender, purple basil, eucalyptus and bergamot. It is known for its fresh and woody scent. This monoterpene is known to have exceptional anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties.  Preliminary research has shown that linalool can also affect our cognition in patients suffering from stroke, Alzheimer’s and ischemia. Lavender oil is rich in linalool and we have been using it in aroma therapy procedures for a long time. Linalool rich cannabis strains can also help in reducing anxiety and depression.


Humulene is also found in hops, sage and ginseng. This incredible compound is also called alpha Caryophyllene that has no significant interaction with the endocannabinoid system. However, it is a strong anti-inflammatory compound that also possesses analgesic properties. Cannabis strains containing humulene can boost appetite especially in people who are suffering from nausea and drowsiness.

The above mentioned terpenes are the most abundant ones found in many plant species including cannabis.   Some other noteworthy terpenes found in cannabis are:

  • Geraniol
  • Terpinolene
  • Ocimene
  • Nerolidol
  • Phytol

These usually occur in trace amounts so it is difficult to figure out their exact effect.  However, we can predict that may have a role in the entourage effect.

The Entourage effect and terpenes

The term entourage effect refers to the combined effect of major and minor cannabinoids and phytonutrients that work synergistically to produce changes in the human body usually through the endocannabinoid system.  Even though some terpenes do not interact with the endocannabinoid system but they do have a specific effect on the body.  We need more solid researches to know the exact effect of terpenes and their role in the entourage effect. Cannabinoids and terpenes along with other healthy components of the cannabis plant help in carrying out in various physiological functions.  If you also seek benefits from different terpenes  of cannabis, make sure to go for full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil. Full spectrum CBD contains all essential cannabinoids and complete terpene profile of the strain. However, if you are not comfortable with using THC, go for broad spectrum CBD oil offering almost same entourage effect but without THC.