What are Terpenes and Their Effects in Cannabis

Terpenes can change the type of high and are what characterize a strain’s aroma and flavor.
07 May 2020
4 min read
What are Terpenes and Their Effects in Cannabis

  • 1. What are terpenes?
  • 2. Terpenes and cannabinoids
  • 3. Most common terpenes and best vaporizing temperature
  • 3. a. Myrcene
  • 3. b. Caryophyllene
  • 3. c. Terpinolene
  • 3. d. Pinene
  • 3. e. Humulene
  • 3. f. Ocimene
  • 3. g. Linalool
  • 4. In conclusion

Even if you don’t know exactly what terpenes are, you unconsciously already know. Terpenes are what give cannabis all the aromas we love. They are also found in nature in other plants. Terpenes are what give an orange or a lemon its citrusy smell or what gives pine trees it’s unique aroma.

1. What Are Terpenes? 

Terpenes are aromatic oils produced in the same glands (trichomes) that produce cannabinoids (like THC and CBD). They give a cannabis variety it’s unique aroma and flavor and can be found in almost all other plants and flowers.


What are Terpenes and Their Effects in Cannabis: Tricomes of a cannabis plant

Trichomes are the sticky part of the plant, they are mushroom-looking glands that produce and store all the compounds that get us high.

Cannabis began developing terpenes for adaptive purposes, mainly used to repel predators and attract pollinators. And just like the physical characteristics of a strain, terpenes are influenced by growing conditions (like climate, weather, age, maturation, and soil type among others).

There are over 100 different types of terpenes, each strain has a unique mix of these terpenes which play a role in their unique aroma and effect. 

2. Terpenes and Cannabinoids 

For a couple of years now it’s being speculated that the terpene profile has much to do with the type of high produced by a strain, far beyond the common Sativa or Indica indicators. Getting to know the unique combination of terpenes and cannabinoids produced by your favorite cultivars will help you recognize the specific cannabis flowers and concentrates that will be most beneficial to your needs. 

In addition to their aromas, when consuming terpenes and cannabinoids at the same time they have direct interaction with the human body. For example, when alpha- and beta-pinene are consumed together with THC and CBD, they display anti-tumor properties.

When Humulene is consumed with Caryophyllene together, it can have anti-inflammatory properties. This leads us to believe that consuming the whole spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes is superior to consuming isolated compounds extracted out of the plant.


While terpenes clearly play an important role in producing and enhancing many of the beneficial effects you get from consuming cannabis, they will not get you high on their own, meaning if you were to isolate terpenes from a cannabis plant you would still be able to experience the smells and flavors but they would not give you any noticeable psychoactive effects.

3. Most Common Terpenes And Best Vaporizing Temperature 

High temperatures destroy many of the terpenes, just like it destroys many of the cannabinoids. Because of this, using a portable vaporizer with temperature control is probably the best way to get the most out of the terpenes found in cannabis.

Like cannabinoids, terpenes have their own individual optimal temperature, and these temps can vary widely. Researching the various temperatures at which the terpenes you desire to be released is key in achieving the desired effect.


Myrcene, which can also be found in mangoes, thyme, and lemongrass is the primary terpene found in cannabis plants. In fact, some plants can have up to 65 percent of their terpene profile made up by myrcene alone. It has sedating and relaxing effects and vaporizes at 167ºC (332ºF). Strains that are high in myrcene are Blue Dream, Original. Auto OG Kush and Cherry Pie.


The second most abundant terpene found in cannabis. Limonene can also be found in various citrus fruits such as lemon and oranges and is responsible for the citrusy smell. Limonene has powerful anti-fungal and antibacterial properties and helps reduce stress and elevate your mood. It vaporizes at 176ºC (348ºF). Strains high in Limonene include Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, and Wedding Cake.


What are Terpenes and Their Effects in Cannabis: Most common terpenes and their effects

Most common terpenes and their effects: Myrcene, Limonene, Caryophyllene, Terpinolene.


This terpene can be found in black pepper and cinnamon and has a spicy, woody, peppery scent. Caryophyllene is capable of treating anxiety, depression, and inflammation. It vaporizes at 130C (266F) and is found in such strains as Purple Punch and Gorilla Glue Auto.


Terpinolene is believed to be found in about one in ten strains, it has a piney, floral, and herbal aroma. This terpene is said to have an uplifting effect and has antioxidant and antibacterial properties. It vaporizes at 186C (366F) and can be found in strains such as Ghost Train Haze, Chernobyl, and Orange Sherbet Auto.


This terpene can be found in pine needles and rosemary and is the most common in the natural world, it smells like straight pine. Pinene is used to treat anxiety, asthma, pain, and inflammations,. It vaporizes at 155C (311F) and can be found in strains such as Original Auto Critical and Original Auto Jack Herer.

What are Terpenes and Their Effects in Cannabis: Most common terpenes and their effects

Most common terpenes and their effects: Pinene, Humulene, Ocimene, Linalool.


Humulene has a woody, herbal smell and is believed to have anti-inflammatory effects, it can also be found in cloves and basil. This terpene vaporizes at 106C (222F) and can be found in strains such as Ghost Train Haze, Chernobyl, and Girl Scout Cookies.


This terpene has a sweet, herbal, and woody smell and is believed to have antiviral, antibacterial, decongestant, and anti-fungal properties. Ocimene can also be found in mint and orchids. It vaporizes at 50C (122F) and can be found in strains such as Original Auto Amnesia Haze and Strawberry Cough.


Linalool has a floral smell and is believed to sedate and have mood-enhancing effects used to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, and pain among others. This terpene has antiviral, antibacterial, decongestant, and anti-fungal properties and it's also found in lavender. It vaporizes at 198C (388F) and can be found in strains such as Do-Si-Dos, Kosher Kush, Lavender Kush, and Zkittlez Auto.

4. In Conclusion

Even though smoking a random strain won’t hurt us it can leave you couch-locked, leave your head racing, or even paranoid.

The best way to enjoy cannabis is to find the right mix of cannabinoids and terpenes for you. This will have a completely different effect from what you’re used to, not only enhancing your mood but can ultimately treat symptoms, making your life a little bit easier.

Try to consume different strains with different terpene profiles and try to identify each flavor and smell individually, with time you’ll learn which terpenes are best for you, making smoking an overall better experience.

07 May 2020