When you have some loud weed on hand, everybody knows it. From the lingering piney scent of Grape Ape to the sweet taste and aroma of Pineapple Express, there is something about cannabis that just perks up the senses.
While you may not know it, what you’re actually tasting and smelling in your favorite strain of weed are terpenes. Cannabis-derived terpenes are not only what give Mary Jane her signature taste and smell, but they are also the driving force behind a wide range of its potential therapeutic benefits.
Understanding what terpenes are and what they do will help you get the most out of your daily dose of cannabis — and this JARS guide is here to help.
What Are Cannabis Derived Terpenes?
Found in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis its rainbow of tastes and scents like, pine, citrus, earth, and berry.
With over 100 different kinds of terpenes identified in the cannabis plant, cannabis originally developed these tiny molecules as a way to ward off pests and lure in pollinators to spread their seed. Little did they know, that they would end up drawing in humans as well.
While the types of terpenes found in cannabis can vary due to a range of factors, every strain tends to lean toward a unique terpene type and composition. In other words, a strain like Pineapple Express and its descendants will likely have a tropical aroma, and Sour Diesel offspring often inherit the skunky scent from its parent. Therefore, understanding what strains you like can also help inform which terpenes you already know and love.
Terpenes may also play an important role in creating and enhancing different effects in each cannabis strain, which challenges the standard beliefs held about the black and white differences between indica and sativa strains. For example, some terpenes may promote relaxation and stress-relief while others may boost focus and creativity. Myrcene, for instance, is found in many calming cannabis strains like Blue Dream and Granddaddy Purple. Terpinolene, a piney and herbal terpene, is commonly found in mood-boosting, active strains like Jack Herer and Ghost Train Haze.
The unique combination of terpenes and cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, that each strain has and the effects they create together is known as The Entourage Effect. This theory basically says that the cannabis plant works together better as a whole than it does in separate parts. Think of it like a live performance of your favorite band: While you may still enjoy the performance with a missing background singer, it’s just not quite the same.
According to The Entourage Effect, cannabis may work similarly which goes to show the importance of these tiny terpenes. More research needs to done to turn this theory into fact, but it’s an important factor to consider when looking for a cannabis product to fit all your needs. The differences can be subtle, but grasping the idea of terpenes may take your cannabis connoisseurship to the next level and add to the wellness wizardry of your experience.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis and their potential benefits.
Most Common Terpenes
Also found in mangoes, lemongrass, and thyme, Myrcene is known for its peppery, spicy notes with undertones of sweet flowers. This abundantly found terpene may be effective in treating insomnia, pain, and inflammation — and it’s effective in providing some seriously dank buds.
Myrcene-Rich Strains: Blue Dream, OG Kush, Cherry Pie
Just as the name suggests, Pinene smells like a forest of pine trees: woodsy, crisp, and slightly minty. Due to its minty freshness, this terpene is known to enhance your focus and may even relieve asthma, pain, and inflammation. You can also find this forest-inspired terpene in pine needles, rosemary, and basil.
Pinene-Rich Strains: Snoop’s Dream, Critical Mass, Big Smooth
The only terpene known to also act as a cannabinoid, Caryophyllene is marked by its peppery taste and aroma. This versatile terpene, also found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon, may be able to treat conditions like pain, anxiety and depression, and even ulcers — now that’s spicy.
Caryophyllene-Rich Strains: Purple Punch, Girl Scout Cookies, and Original Glue
Ever peeled a fresh orange and been hit in the face with a citrusy aroma? Limonene was likely behind that punch of bright citrus aroma. Users that enjoy this zesty terpene praise it for its mood-boosting and stress-relieving effects. It may also be a potential treatment for anxiety, depression, inflammation, and minor pain.
Limonene-Rich Strains: Wedding Cake, Do-Si-Dos, White Fire OG
Terpinolene may not be the most prominent player on the terpene team, but it is nearly always on the bench, doing its part to support the squad. This third-string player is marked by an herbal yet floral scent that is also found in nutmeg, tea tree, conifers, and cumin. Its potential wellness benefits range from an uplifted mood to possible anti-oxidant properties.
Terpinolene-Rich Strains: Jack Herer, Ghost Train Haze, Chernobyl
A hoppy beer and cannabis have one thing in common, and it’s not their chill vibes: it’s humulene. This terpene is found in hops and weed, to give them both subtle tones of earth, wood, and spice. Early research suggests that humulene may have anti-inflammatory properties to ease respiratory conditions.
Humulene-Rich Strains: Gelato, Sherbert, Girl Scout Cookies
Frequently used in perfumes, Ocimene delivers a sweetly herbal and woodsy fragrance to the table. This richly scented terpene can also be found in mint, parsley, orchids, and kumquats. Humulene may also have therapeutic value as an antibacterial and decongestant but more studies need to be done for conclusive evidence.
Ocimene-Rich Strains: Clementine, Dutch Treat, Amnesia
Last but not least, we come to the herbaceous yet floral terpene, linalool. Commonly found in lavender, linalool has been used for its relaxing properties in aromatherapy for centuries. Take a whiff of this cannabis-derived terpene and you’ll feel chill AF in no time.
Linalool-Rich Strains: Zkittles, Do-Si-Dos, Kosher Kush
There’s no doubt that cannabis has an array of unforgettable scents that can range anywhere from funky and herbaceous to fruity and floral — and terpenes make all of this magic happen. With the help of an ensemble cast of cannabinoids like THC And CBD, terpenes not only give cannabis its memorable aroma but may also help guide you to the therapeutic relief you crave.
Comment your questions below or come into JARS today to find the right combinations of terpenes for you — we’re always here to help.