Terpenes 101

Posted on January 4th, 2023 to Education

Enjoy that sweet hint of watermelon in Watermelon Trop? Maybe you’re all about that pungency in Garlic Breath that makes your mouth involuntarily water. Likewise, you may absolutely adore the smell of any good cannabis flower, cured to perfection and ready to roll. In every one of these situations, there are certain molecules in the cannabis plant that make these experiences memorable: terpenes.

Terpenes may have a lot to do with flavor and aromatics, but their desirable characteristics go even further than that. What are terpenes exactly, and why do they matter when it comes to picking weed? We’ve got all the details below.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are basically chemical compounds that are present in plants. You will find terpenes in everything from the grass growing in your lawn to the foods you pick up in the produce section at your local grocery store. Cannabis just happens to be one of the best sources of terpenes with heavy concentrations of different ones in every strain.

How many terpenes are found in cannabis? Some estimates claim there may be as many as 400 terpenes in cannabis. Therefore, we definitely still have a lot to learn about each one and its effects.

While us humans can appreciate terpenes because they offer certain aromatics, flavors, and colors to the plants we use and consume, terpenes also play different roles for plants. For example, some terpenes attract pollinators, some deter pests, and some act as natural antioxidants.

Do terpenes offer therapeutic value?

They absolutely do. While cannabinoids like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or CBD (cannabidiol) may be the proverbial stars of the cannabis show, terpenes bring their own effects to the table. Not only does each individual terpene offer specific therapeutic value or effects, but these compounds may also work with or support the actions of cannabinoids. Because each strain can have a unique cannabinoid and terpene makeup, each strain’s effects can also be uniquely different. This is one reason why you can have two strains with exactly the same THC content that offer profoundly different effects.

The Most Noteworthy Terpenes in Cannabis

While we don’t have room to cover every terpene found in cannabis, we can talk about some of the most common and most studied out of the group. Check out some of the top terpenes you will experience in cannabis, the qualities they possess, and the supposed benefits.


  • Aromatics/Flavors: Dank tropical fruit
  • Strains: Pink Tangerine, Blue Dream, Granddaddy Purple
  • Top effect: Sedating

Myrcene is not a difficult terpene to find—it is actually the most prevalent in cannabis and makes up about a fifth of the terpene profile in the bulk of strains. Due to its ready availability, myrcene has been clinically studied quite a bit for therapeutic properties. The top established effect is relaxation and sedation. However, myrcene may also be good for pain, anxiety, and even aging.


  • Aromatics/Flavors: Pine and earth
  • Strains: White Walker, Critical Mass, and Snoop’s Dream
  • Top effect: Calming

Commonly found in, you guessed it, pine needles, pinene is actually one of the most prevalent terpenes on the planet. This earthy terpene is thought to offer a lot of therapeutic value, even though the research is in its earliest stages with most claims. Pinene may be good for everything from anxiety and pain to opening up the airways.


  • Aromatics/Flavors: Citrus
  • Strains: Tahoe Gelato, Wedding Cake, and White Fire OG
  • Top effect: Mood-boosting

Used as a common commercial additive for its citrus scent, limonene is highly available in cannabis. This particular cannabinoid is known for its mood-boosting properties with some research pointing out positive effects on problems with anxiety, depression, and stress. While limonene is often assumed to smell like lemons, that’s not always the case, but you can usually catch a hint of citrus in a hit.


  • Aromatics/Flavors: Spicy, earthy, and floral
  • Strains: Durban, Wedding Mints, and Candy OG
  • Top effect: Relaxing for the mind and body

Linalool is highly aromatic and highly regarded for its therapeutic potential. As the primary terpene in lavender, linalool is easily recognized by the nose with its herby-floral notes. However, you can also recognize this terpene by its effects: stress reduction, bodily relaxation, and sleep induction.


  • Aromatics/Flavors: Peppery and spicy
  • Strains: Bubba Kush, Sour Diesel, and GSC
  • Top effect: Soothing pain relief

This peppery terpene is found in everything from cinnamon to black pepper, so many people experience it even without cannabis. However, caryophyllene is the only known terpene that interacts with the endocannabinoid system directly. Therefore, the actions of this particular terpene can be a little more profound. Caryophyllene may be beneficial for inflammation, pain, and even seizures.

Other Noteworthy Terpenes in Cannabis

  • Terpinolene (woody herbs)
  • Humulene (herbal)
  • Eucalyptol (minty)
  • Phytol (floral)
  • Sabinene (woodsy)

Common FAQs About Terpenes

Do terpenes get you high?

Terpenes do not get you high. However, certain terpenes may enhance the euphoric experience. For example, a high-myrcene strain may enhance the THC by generating more profound couch-lock than usual or even better pain relief.

Do you get terpenes in other cannabis products beyond flower?

Not all cannabis products contain terpenes, especially extracts and concentrates. Terpenes are more delicate than cannabinoids, which means they break down and evaporate easier during certain extraction processes. Nevertheless, some concentrates are made in specific processes to retain or protect terpenes. For example, live resin and bubble hash can be high in terpenes.

Are terpenes safe?

Terpenes are experienced in a multitude of foods you probably already ingest. Therefore, they are not likely to cause any harm unless you were to consume them in unnatural amounts. Simply using terpenes in your cannabis is not known to cause ill effects.

Experience the Finest terpene-Rich Strains at VT Bud Barn

Ready to try premium strains and try to recognize which terpenes you experience based on what you’ve learned? Be sure to stop in and see us at VT Bud Barn. If you want to save a bit of time, you can also check out our online menu to get a look at what flower we have available.

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