What Are Terpenes and Why Do They Matter in Cannabis?


Terpenes are fragrant organic compounds that give each cannabis strain its signature taste and smell. You can think of them as essential oils, just like you can get from other plants. Cannabis experts have recently realized that cannabis terpenes affect much more than the flavor, though. We’re starting to understand that the terpenes in cannabis can affect the way your body processes cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

What Is the Entourage Effect in Cannabis?

Different cannabis strains have different effects. Some are more soothing and make people feel relaxed and sleepy. Other strains make people feel energized and creative. Even strains with the same THC potency can have completely different effects. This used to be considered a mystery, but we’re starting to hone in on a reason for the various effects of different strains: the entourage effect.

Simply put, THC will behave differently depending on which entourage of terpenes it has with it. Some terpenes can affect the way the body processes cannabinoids, even making it easier for THC to get through the blood-brain barrier, which increases its effects. Just as some people will use essential oils to get certain effects, people who want to feel specific things from their cannabis may seek out a strain with given terpenes.

Common Cannabis Terpenes

Well over 100 different terpenes have been identified in cannabis strains, so the possibilities for different combinations are almost endless. That’s especially apparent when you consider that strains all have their terpenes in different amounts. Two strains could contain the exact same terpenes and still be very different because of their specific ratios of those terpenes.

To get a better understanding of what terpenes are and how they function, consider some of the most common types:

  • Limonene: Also found in citrus, juniper, and peppermint, this lemony terpene is associated with calming characteristics. It’s common in a lot of the strains that people say make them feel the most euphoric.

  • Humulene: This terpene is also found naturally in things like hops and coriander– you may recognize it when you get a whiff of woody earthiness. People normally say this is a terpene for pain, and it’s also been associated with reduced appetite.

  • Terpinolene: Extremely common in cannabis, terpinolene has a flowery herbal scent that may remind you of pine trees. Also found in tea tree, nutmeg, and lilacs, it’s associated with calm feelings.

  • Myrcene: A complex musk of cloves, herbs, and citrus is myrcene’s calling card, and it’s also found in thyme, lemongrass, and bay leaves. This terpene may enhance the psychoactivity of THC.

  • Linalool: Think of lavender, rosewood trees, and citrus, and you might be imagining the spicy citrus flower notes of linalool. It’s believed to help calm both the body and mind.

  • Ocimene: Also found in pepper, parsley, and orchids, this terpene has a woody herbal scent with a hint of sweetness. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects are the key benefits.

  • Pinene: You guessed it– pinene has a sharp pine smell and is found in conifers. The sweet-smelling terpene has also been linked to feelings of alertness.

  • Caryophyllene: Cloves, hops, and basil contain this peppery terpene, which is associated with deep relaxation

Terpene-Rich Cannabis Available in Colorado

Here at Chronic Therapy, we offer a wide variety of premium cannabis, and each strain has its own terpene profile. We take great care to preserve those terpenes during the harvesting and curing process because some terpenes can be vaporized by heat. Shop our selection of terpene-rich cannabis strains, and our knowledgeable budtenders will help you find the best terpenoid profile for you.


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