What are Terpenes

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that contribute to the scent and taste of plants. The distinct smell associated with most plants is a result of their unique combination of terpenes. Terpenes are found in almost all types of plants and perform a wide variety of functions within the plant.

Where are terpenes found?

Terpenes are found in almost all types of plants, not just cannabis, and perform a wide variety of functions within the plant. Different kinds of terpenes are responsible for maintaining a plant’s immune system, repairing damaged cells, repelling pest insects, attracting beneficial insects, and more. Many of the terpenes found in cannabis are also found in other plants, which is why different strains of cannabis can offer such a broad range of distinct flavor profiles according to the combination of terpenes.

While some terpenes do not commonly occur naturally in cannabis plants, strains can be cultivated for specific terpene profiles, so you should not have any trouble finding the combination of terpenes you are looking for at a nearby dispensary.

What do terpenes do?

Many terpenes are bioactive, which means they can have effects on the body, contributing to the effects of consuming cannabis flower or full-spectrum cannabis products and extracts. Some marijuana terpenes also interact with cannabinoid receptors in the body in a similar way to cannabinoids. Because of this, many types of terpenes are used for the therapeutic benefits they may offer.

While only a few terpenes have been studied by scientific research, many different terpenes have been noted for having potential beneficial effects that have yet to be thoroughly investigated.

List of Cannabis Terpenes


  • Aroma: Hoppy, Herbal, Earthy
  • Effect: Studies on the effects of myrcene have suggested that high dosages of myrcene may protect tissues in the brain and heart from oxidative damage. It is also suggested to have antiseptic, sedative, anti-bacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Boiling Point: 333° F
  • Top 3 Strains: Northern Lights, Amnesia, Kush Group
  • Description: Myrcene is one of the terpenes that contribute to the earthy scent of cannabis flower and is also found in hops, thyme, and lemongrass.

Cannabis Terpenes - Myrcene


  • Aroma: Peppery, Spicy, Earthy
  • Effect: Research has shown that beta-caryophyllene may have anticonvulsant, anti-anxiety, and pain-relieving benefits.
  • Boiling Point: 260° F
  • Top 3 Strains: Girl Scout Cookies, White Widow, Super Silver Haze
  • Description: Beta-caryophyllene causes the spicy, peppery flavor of some herbs and vegetables, such as garlic cloves or black pepper.

Marijuana Terpenes - Beta-caryophyllene


  • Aroma: Citrus
  • Effect: Some studies have shown that limonene can provide anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antidiabetic, and anticancer properties.
  • Boiling Point: 349° F
  • Top 3 Strains: Sour Diesel, Lemon Skunk, Trainwreck
  • Description: As the name suggests, limonene has a distinctive citrus scent, and is responsible for the smell of lemon and orange rinds. It may help regulate the behavior of certain immune cells.

Marijuana Terpenes - Limonene-caryophyllene


  • Aroma: Floral
  • Effect: Studies have suggested that linalool may have a number of potentially beneficial effects, including anti-anxiety, sedative, anticonvulsant, pain relief, and anti-depressant properties.
  • Boiling Point: 388° F
  • Top 3 Strains: Lavender, Headband, Amnesia Haze
  • Description: Linalool is abundant in the lavender plant, and is responsible for its rich and heady scent. It has a calming effect on many people and is a common feature of aromatherapy.

Cannabis Terpenes - Linalool


  • Aroma: Turpentine, Pine, Dill
  • Effect: Pinene is a natural bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory, and may also help your body to fight off respiratory infections.
  • Boiling Point: 311° F
  • Top 3 Strains: AK-47, Blue Dream, Pineapple Express
  • Description: Pinene causes the sharp, bright scent of many plants such as pine trees, rosemary, and basil.

Cannabis Terpenes - Pinene


  • Aroma: Hoppy, Earthy
  • Effect: Humulene may help in preventing allergic reactions and asthma, in addition to possible anti-bacterial and pain relief benefits.
  • Boiling Point: 388° F
  • Top 3 Strains: Girl Scout Cookies, White Widow, Sour Diesel
  • Description: Humulene is one of the main terpenes that give hops their aroma. It is believed to have protective and anti-inflammatory effects.

Marijuana Terpenes - Humulene


  • Aroma: Woods, Smoke, Herbal
  • Effect: Terpinolene may act as an anti-oxidant, and some research has suggested it may inhibit the growth of new cancer cells. In combination with other cannabinoids, it may also contribute to a calming, sedative effect.
  • Boiling Point: 343-347, 361° F
  • Top 3 Strains: Jack Herer, Pineapple Jack, Afghani
  • Description: Terpinolene adds a smoky, herbal scent, and is found in cumin and nutmeg. It is also a common additive in cleaning products due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Marijuana Terpenes - Terpinolene


  • Aroma: Woody, Tangy, Citrus, Floral, Sweet
  • Effect: Alpha-bisabolol is being studied for potential medicinal use as an anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial agent.
  • Boiling Point: 307° F
  • Top 3 Strains: Harle-Tsu, Headband, ACDC
  • Description: Alpha-bisabolol creates the sweet, floral scent of chamomile, and may also provide soothing effects.

Marijuana Terpene - Alpha-Bisabolol


  • Aroma: Minty, Earthy, Cool
  • Effect: Eucalyptol is widely purported to have antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial effects on the respiratory system.
  • Boiling Point: 349° F
  • Top 3 Strains: Super Silver Haze, Headband, ACDC
  • Description: Eucalyptol is, unsurprisingly, abundant in eucalyptus trees, providing their cool and minty scent.

Cannabis Terpenes - Eucalyptol


  • Aroma: Floral
  • Effect: Geraniol has been shown by some studies to help reduce post-injury inflammation, as well as offer antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, and neuroprotectant properties.
  • Boiling Point: 447° F
  • Top 3 Strains: Lavender, Amnesia Haze, Headband
  • Description: Geraniol creates the sweet floral scent of geraniums, with light citrus notes.

Cannabis Terpenes - Geraniol