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Cannabis Terpenes

Deciphering the nuances of cannabis terpenes can directly influence your satisfaction with different strains. Learn more about terpenes and how these essential compounds, directly link scents and flavors to their effects. This moment of clarity allows you to expertly navigate your cannabis choices. Expect to discover, through this article, how to use the terpene chart to tailor your cannabis experience to your preferences without unnecessary complexity.

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis terpenes are aromatic compounds that contribute to the scent, flavor, and potentially therapeutic and psychoactive effects of each strain, playing a role in the ‘entourage effect’ with cannabinoids.
  • Terpenes such as Myrcene, Limonene, Linalool, Caryophyllene, and Pinene each have unique aromas and potential health benefits, which can influence the overall experience and therapeutic outcomes of cannabis use.
  • Proper storage of cannabis, maintaining temperatures between 32℉ and 68℉ (0℃ and 20℃) and humidity levels of 55-65%, is essential to preserve terpenes and maintain the quality and potency of cannabis products.

Understanding Terpenes: The Aromatic Compounds in Cannabis

Illustration of cannabis plant with labeled terpenes

Step into the vibrant world of cannabis terpenes, the aromatic compounds that give each strain its unique character. These organic compounds, found predominantly in the trichomes enveloping the cannabis plant’s flowers and leaves, are responsible for the distinctive aromas and flavors. But their role doesn’t stop at enchanting our senses. They are also theorized to play a crucial part in the therapeutic and psychoactive effects of the strain, potentially contributing to the much-debated ‘entourage effect’ along with cannabinoids.

Imagine walking through a garden filled with a myriad of cannabis strains, each with a unique scent and flavor. That’s the power of terpenes. They are the maestros conducting the symphony of scents in the cannabis plant. Beyond tantalizing our senses, compounds like humulene and linalool have links to pain relief and anti-inflammation, while others like limonene and pinene are associated with antiviral and other health benefits.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes, as hydrocarbons, consist of small isoprene units linked together in chains, which contribute to the distinctive aromas and flavors of plants. These natural volatile compounds originate from the trichomes of female cannabis plants, the sticky, translucent glands found on the surface of buds and in smaller amounts on leaves and stems.

The role of terpenes in the cannabis plant is akin to a multi-talented artist. From generating unique aromas to attract pollinators and deter herbivores and pathogens, to enhancing pigmentation, and influencing the plant’s flavor, terpenes do it all. They are one of the most important cannabis compounds that contribute to the plant’s overall characteristics.

Terpenes vs. Cannabinoids

While terpenes are the aromatic maestros, cannabinoids are the rockstars of the cannabis plant. Terpenes are accountable for the aroma and flavor, whereas cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are recognized for their psychoactive and medicinal properties.

When performed together, they produce a concert of effects known as the entourage effect. This interaction amplifies the biological effects of each and contributes to a more potent cannabis experience. For this reason, marijuana strains with specific terpene profiles are in demand. Their combined effect not only boosts the mood-stabilizing properties of components like THC and CBD, but also provides a distinct sensory experience.

Decoding the Terpene Chart: Common Cannabis Terpenes

Illustration of terpene chart with common cannabis terpenes

Embark on a journey through the world of terpenes, where every scent narrates a tale. The terpene chart serves as a roadmap to navigate through this aromatic landscape of cannabis. It helps identify the common terpenes found in cannabis strains, each with unique scents, flavors, and potential effects.

Much like a wine connoisseur savors the subtle notes of fruits, herbs, and spices in a wine glass, cannabis enthusiasts relish in identifying the terpenes in their preferred strains. The citrusy aromas of Limonene and Valencene, the herbal notes of Borneol, and the potential advantages of these terpenes make the cannabis experience all the more rich and nuanced.


Photo of myrcene-rich cannabis strain

Myrcene, the most common terpene found in cannabis, is known for its earthy and musky scent, resembling cloves. It exhibits the following properties:

  • Sedative
  • Reduces locomotion
  • Possesses anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects
  • Enhances transdermal absorption.

But there’s more. Myrcene acts like a supportive companion, bringing out the best in cannabis. It has the ability to augment the effects of THC, resulting in a more potent and prolonged high. This is achieved by aiding in the transportation of cannabinoids to the brain and improving transdermal absorption.


Envision a burst of citrusy freshness enveloping your cannabis – that’s the magic of Limonene! It’s recognized for its tangy sweet flavor and is often linked to the fragrance of lemons and oranges.

Limonene plays a significant role in enhancing the overall aromatic profile of cannabis, adding a burst of citrusy freshness. Its presence contributes to a refreshing aroma and flavor profile reminiscent of lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. Certain strains of cannabis that exhibit a notably high Limonene content are London Pound Cake, Gelato, Purple Punch, and White Fire OG, among others.


Linalool, a terpene with a floral, spicy, or woody fragrance, is prevalent in more than 200 plant species including mint, basil, and coriander. It influences the olfactory profile of cannabis by generating a floral, spicy, or woody fragrance, similar to some essential oils.

The chemical composition of Linalool is C10H18O, making it as complex as its aroma. This complexity also translates into its potential therapeutic effects, making it a sought-after terpene in various cannabis strains.


Add a spark to your cannabis experience with Caryophyllene! This terpene is known for its spicy, peppery characteristics and is found in abundance in:

  • black pepper
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • cannabis

Caryophyllene distinguishes itself from other terpenes by its ability to bind to the CB2 receptor in the endocannabinoid system. It generates the following effects:

  • Antinociceptive effects
  • Regulation of immune responses
  • Strong antioxidant properties
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Antiviral properties


Embark on a forest stroll with Pinene! This terpene, particularly Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene, are recognized for their pine-like scent. Apart from cannabis, Pinene can be found in:

  • pines
  • camphorweed
  • big sagebrush
  • eucalyptus
  • rosemary

Pinene exhibits the following effects and potential medicinal benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory effects, which may be beneficial for conditions such as asthma
  • Antioxidant effects
  • Anxiolytic effects
  • Neuroprotective effects
  • Pro-cognitive effects
  • Pain relief
  • Addressing short-term memory impairment

How Terpenes Influence the Cannabis Experience

Illustration of entourage effect in cannabis

Having learned about different terpenes and their unique profiles, it’s time to delve into how they shape the overall cannabis experience. Terpenes have the capability to impact the overall cannabis experience by collaborating with cannabinoids to produce distinct sensations and therapeutic effects. Some common effects of terpenes include:

  • Relaxation
  • Euphoria
  • Increased focus
  • Pain relief
  • Anti-inflammatory properties

Understanding the effects of terpenes can help you choose the right cannabis strains for your desired experience.

Step into the intriguing realm of the ‘entourage effect,’ a concept proposing that cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds work together to boost the overall effects and benefits of cannabis. This concept is the cornerstone of cannabis science as it underlines the synergy between cannabinoids and terpenes.

Entourage Effect

Imagine a group of musicians playing together, each adding their unique notes, resulting in a harmonious symphony. This is precisely what the entourage effect is all about. It is defined as the synergistic interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids, resulting in an amplified impact on the overall effects of cannabis.

The combined role of terpenes and cannabinoids in the therapeutic properties of cannabis is crucial for the development of effective cannabis medicines. Their combined role in the therapeutic effects of cannabis is crucial for the development of effective cannabis medicines.

Terpenes and Cannabinoids Synergy

The interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids can result in a synergistic effect known as the entourage effect, which enhances the mood-stabilizing effects associated with components such as THC and CBD. This interaction not only amplifies the biological effects of each but also contributes to a more potent cannabis experience.

Terpenes and cannabinoids collaborate with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to generate positive health effects. These effects encompass anxiety alleviation, pain relief, and enhancement of mood stabilization, particularly when utilized together. This enables users to appreciate not only the distinct flavors and aromas but also the amplified therapeutic benefits that can be tailored to their individual needs.

Selecting Cannabis Strains Based on Terpene Profiles

In the same way a sommelier savors the nuanced notes of an exquisite wine, a cannabis enthusiast revels in identifying the terpenes in their favored strains. Understanding terpene profiles can help users select cannabis strains that align with their preferences and desired effects.

The terpene profiles of cannabis strains can vary considerably. Here are some common terpenes found in different types of strains:

  • Indica strains commonly exhibit a prevalence of β-myrcene, with limonene or α-pinene as frequently occurring secondary terpenes.
  • Sativa strains tend to have a more diverse terpene profile.
  • Hybrid strains may demonstrate a combination of terpene profiles characteristic of both Indica and Sativa varieties.

Identifying Your Preferences

To choose the perfect cannabis strain, you need to know your preferences among many cannabis strains. Do you prefer an earthy aroma or a citrusy freshness? Do you seek relaxation or stimulation? Identifying personal preferences for scents, flavors, and effects can help users find their ideal cannabis strains.

Moreover, terpenes have the capability to notably alter the effects of cannabis strains by impacting other compounds such as THC. For example, myrcene enhances THC’s sedative properties, while limonene is recognized for its mood-elevating and anxiety-reducing effects.

Matching Terpene Profiles to Desired Effects

Choosing the right cannabis strain is like choosing the right key to unlock a door. Matching terpene profiles to desired effects can help users achieve specific outcomes. Whether you’re seeking pain relief, a mood lift, or increased focus, specific terpenes can help.

For instance, the terpenes pinene, limonene, and beta-caryophyllene have been identified for their capacity to enhance focus. On the other hand, terpenes associated with pain relief in the use of cannabis include beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, pinene, linalool, limonene, and humulene.

Terpene Extraction Methods and Applications

Photo of cannabis laboratory equipment

Terpene extraction forms a key aspect of the cannabis industry. By extracting these aromatic compounds, we can create a wide array of terpene-infused products ranging from edibles and beverages to skincare and aromatherapy products.

The process of extraction involves the use of solvents such as:

  • acetone
  • MeOH
  • EtOH
  • their aqueous mixtures
  • light hydrocarbon solvents for primary extraction

Additionally, steam distillation and hydrodistillation are frequently employed methods.

Extraction Methods

The extraction of terpenes is a delicate process. The main techniques for terpene extraction are steam distillation, cold pressing, and CO2 extraction. Each method involves distinct processes to separate the aromatic compounds.

From steam distillation, which is solvent-free and preserves natural terpenes, to CO2 extraction, which offers a high-quality, pure extract, each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these methods is crucial for appreciating the complex world of cannabis terpenes.

Terpene-Infused Products

Terpene-infused products are a celebration of nature’s scented gifts. Here are some examples of terpene-infused products:

  • Rolling paper
  • Chocolate
  • Vegan candy
  • Candles
  • Aromatherapy
  • Skincare & cosmetics
  • Bath products
  • Kush Candles
  • Terpene-infused soap

The world of terpene-infused products is vast and varied.

These products offer an enhanced sensory experience, captivating your senses with their unique aromas and flavors. At the same time, they also offer potential therapeutic benefits, further enhancing the overall cannabis experience.

Tips for Preserving Terpenes in Cannabis Storage

The necessity of proper storage is paramount to maintain the quality of your cannabis. The optimal temperature for preserving terpenes when storing cannabis is between 32℉ and 68℉ (0℃ and 20℃).

In addition to temperature, maintaining low humidity rates within the range of 55-65% is essential. Furthermore, using an airtight container for storing cannabis is crucial to prevent air exposure and uphold the aroma and quality of the product.

Optimal Storage Conditions

Adhering to the correct storage conditions is essential for maintaining the quality of your cannabis. The optimal temperatures for preserving terpenes in stored cannabis range between 60 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. It is worth noting that temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit can also be considered acceptable for this purpose.

Besides temperature, maintaining a relative humidity of 55-65% preserves terpenes and increases their content in cannabis, resulting in a more flavorful experience. Improper humidity levels can lead to the loss of terpenes and other essential compounds in cannabis.

Common Storage Mistakes

It’s as important to understand the correct methods of storing your cannabis as it is to know the practices to avoid. One common mistake is exposing your cannabis to heat, which can lead to the evaporation and degradation of cannabis terpenes, resulting in a reduction of their flavor and effects.

Common storage mistakes for cannabis include:

  • Exposing cannabis to moisture, which can lead to the depletion of terpenes
  • Improper packaging
  • Exposure to oxygen, heat, and light
  • Incorrect humidity levels

All of these factors can lead to degradation of the quality of marijuana plants.


To wrap up, terpenes are the unsung heroes of the cannabis world, adding depth and complexity to your cannabis experience. From their unique scents and flavors to their potential therapeutic benefits, they play a crucial role in defining the characteristics of different cannabis strains. Whether you’re a casual user or a cannabis connoisseur, understanding terpenes can elevate your cannabis experience, helping you find the perfect strain that aligns with your preferences and desired effects. So the next time you enjoy your favorite strain, take a moment to appreciate the symphony of terpenes that make it uniquely yours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are terpenes used for?

Terpenes are used for a variety of purposes, including providing fragrance and flavor in consumer products, acting as cleaning solvents, pesticides, and dyes, and serving as natural defenses for plants against insects and animals. They can also influence the aroma and flavor of products such as beer.

What do terpenes do when smoked?

When smoked, terpenes provide a relaxing effect and relieve pain, but they do not get you high. They have psychoactive properties and come from the same section of the cannabis plant as cannabinoids, affecting the endocannabinoid system in a similar way.

Are terpenes good or bad?

Terpenes are generally considered safe for consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and have been consumed for their flavor, aroma, and therapeutic benefits for hundreds of years. Therefore, they can be considered as good.

What is the entourage effect?

The entourage effect is the synergistic interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids, amplifying the overall effects of cannabis. It enhances the impact of cannabis.

How can I identify my preferences when choosing a cannabis strain?

To identify your preferences when choosing a cannabis strain, consider the scents, flavors, and effects that appeal to you, as well as the impact of terpenes on the strain’s effects. Understanding these factors can help you find the ideal cannabis strain for your needs.


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Welcome to High Life Global, your premier destination for cannabis education, information, and exploration. Founded in 2022, we embarked on this journey with a clear and profound mission: to make comprehensive, factual, and unbiased information about cannabis easily accessible to all.



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