Cannabis 101: Terpenes

“Terpenes” is a word you’ve probably seen on some of your favorite cannabis products or heard cultivators talking about the terpene profiles of their strains. Read on to find out about why terpenes matter, and the actual effects that they have on cannabis consumers.


What are terpenes?

Terpenes are a chemical compound that are found in plants. They are found in the trichomes (sticky little glands) of female cannabis plants. Almost all plants have  terpenes, but they are most typically found in aromatic herbs, citrus fruits, and cannabis. Some terpenes have therapeutic qualities, like anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticonvulsive, anticancer, neuroprotective, and anti-allergic, to name a few. 


What do terpenes actually do?

Terpenes are what is responsible for the differing colors, tastes, and smells of cannabis. Technically, they protect plants from predators and harsh weather. In cannabis plants, the interaction between the terpenes and cannabinoids (THC/CBD) is what is thought to provide people with a different type of “high” depending on the variation. 

Experienced cannabis consumers often recommend that people pay more attention to the terpene profile, rather than just the CBD or THC content for this reason. For this reason, cannabis cultivators take great amounts of care when protecting their plants’ terpene profiles. Growers with quality terpene profiles will market their cannabis as “full spectrum” because of the processes used to carefully preserve the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other chemicals. Using carefully calibrated nutrients and delivery systems, protecting the moisture levels of the plants, low-stress training, and dialing in your lighting are all factors in creating a robust terpene profile.


What are some common terpenes in cannabis and their effects?

While terpenes themselves don’t get you high, they are considered a psychoactive substance because they interact with the brain. There are many different types of terpenes in cannabis, but the 5 that are most prominent are: myrcene (herbal), limonene (citrus), pinene (pine), caryophyllene (peppery), and terpinolene (fruity). It’s important to remember that terpenes are not only impact the flavor and smell, but also the effect of the cannabis strain. For example, myrcene terpenes are known for being relaxing and having pain-relieving effects, whereas limonene is identified as a terpene that enhances mood. 

Growers and consumers are starting to care more and more about terpenes, and it’s becoming an important part of craft cultivation. Contact Canna Business Services to set up a free 15-minute consultation to learn more about our educational support offerings and services.