Terpenes | Cannabis Scents & Sensibilities

December 8, 2019


Cannabis Scents & Sensibilities

Over 100 distinct terpenes have been identified in cannabis.

Everyone has experience with terpenes, even if they don’t completely understand the science. Terpenes are the aromatic oils responsible for the unique scents and flavours of all plants. What do you smell when peeling an orange? Terpenes. Fresh cut wood? Terpenes. The smell after a rain shower? A plethora of terpenes.

Close to 20,000 types of terpenes have been discovered in plants. Over 100 distinct terpenes have been identified in cannabis, and each strain has a unique aromatic and flavour profile.

Why are Terpenes Important?

Personal Preference

Every person has an individual taste and aroma preference. Knowing the terpene profile of cannabis strains may help a user choose something they’ll like best.

Effects of Cannabis

Terpenes are associated with many of the same plants used by Naturopathic remedies. For example, linalool is a common terpene abundant in lavender. From tea to essential oils, many people associate lavender with relaxation. Some people theorize that terpenes play an integral role in the effects of cannabis.

The Entourage Effect

The “Entourage Effect” is a term coined by Dr. Ethan Russo, M.D., a California-based neurologist and pioneer in the field of cannabinoid and terpene research. The theory suggests that terpenes and cannabinoids working together. Although chemical compounds such as CBD and THC can be isolated and studied independently, it's the synergistic effect of the combined constituents that produce the overall effect.

While many people believe these theories, more scientific research is required to confirm or deny these claims. Legalization of cannabis is paving the way for researchers to study all this and more. Knowledge is power, which is why understanding terpenes, may help cannabis users make better-informed decisions about which strains they choose to use.

How to Target Specific Terpenes

Cannabis users who vaporize can set temperatures on their devices to target specific terpenes.

Mature female cannabis plants produce microscopic trichome glands. Terpenes constitute approximately 10-20 percent of total pre-smoked resin found in trichomes, and it's estimated that 10-30 percent of the smoke resulting from the combustion of cannabis flowers is from terpenes.

There’s more!  Cannabis users who vaporize can set temperatures on their devices to target specific terpenes. Each terpene has a unique boiling point, which is one of the reasons why many cannabis users prefer to vaporize vs smoke cannabis. This consumption method will heat cannabis without burning it, so the user avoids inhaling combustible material, and the flavour profile is more pronounced.


Pinene is the most abundant terpene in nature.


The most abundant terpene in nature.

Aroma: Pine

Common Effects: Grounding, alertness, may counteract some THC effects.

Also Found In: Pine needles, basil, dill, parsley, rosemary

Cannabis Strains with elevated Pinene Potential: Jack Herer, White Widow, Blue Dream

Vaporizes At: 311ºF (155ºC)

Cannabis terpene Linalool is found in Purple Kush and Sour Diesel.


Conveys a floral aroma, often compared to lavender.

Aroma: Floral

Common Effects: Relaxation

Also Found In: Lavender, citrus, birch

Cannabis Strains with elevated Linalool Potential: Purple Kush, Amnesia Haze,

Vaporizes At: 388ºF (198ºC)

Myrcene is generally found in Indica dominant strains of cannabis.


Generally found in Indica dominant strains of cannabis.

Aroma: Musky, Earthy

Common Effects: Mellow, often associated with the “couch-lock” effect.

Also Found In: Mangos, Lemongrass, Thyme

Cannabis Strains with elevated Myrcene Potential: White Widow, Purple Kush, Blue Dream

Vaporizes At: 332ºF (167ºC)

Limonene is found in citrus fruits and used in everything from flavouring to cleaning products.


Used in everything from food flavouring to cleaning products.

Aroma: Citrus

Common Effects: Uplifting

Also Found In: Fruit rinds, peppermint, rosemary

Cannabis Strains with elevated Limonene Potential: Durban Poison, Lemon Haze, Sour Diesel

Vaporizes At: 348ºF (176ºC)

Beta-Caryophyllene is found in black pepper and targets only CB2 receptors.


Targets CB2 receptors only. This terpene does not produce any psychoactive effects, unlike the THC.

Aroma: Pepper, Spicy

Common Effects: No known effects

Also Found In: Black Pepper, cloves

Cannabis Strains with elevated Caryophyllene Potential: OG Kush, Sour Diesel, Girl Scout Cookies

Vaporizes At: 266ºF (130ºC)

Humulene is a terpene also abundant in hops.


An isomer of caryophyllene, meaning that they share the same chemical formula, but differ in structure.

Aroma: Hops, Earthy

Common Effects: Relaxing

Also Found In: Hops, Cloves, Coriander

Cannabis Strains with elevated Humulene Potential: OG Kush, Sour Diesel, White Widow

Vaporizes At: 222ºF (106ºC)