Terpenes: What Are They & Why Are They Important?

Terpenes affect everyone that eats, drinks, and smells. You may have heard of terpenes before and possibly even attempted pronouncing them! It turns out, the names of each terp directly correlates with the effects. It’s the most critical factor when trying new strains! Now, how does this apply to cannabis? Most people automatically assume that when choosing a strain, the first question to ask is Sativa or Indica. But really, the effects come from the terpenes inside!


Do you like the smell of lavender? That’s the linalool you’re smelling! It’s estimated that the general population consumes over 2 grams of linalool per year. Linalool has been one of the leading sleep aids to many worldwide, dating back thousands of years! Those of us who consume extra through cannabis might also notice the benefits of its sedative and anti-epileptic properties. The main strains to look out for would be Do-Si-Dos, Zkittles, and Kosher Kush.


Who doesn’t love a zesty lemon kick to their drink, sweets, or bud? Limonene-dominant flower is known to help relieve stress and aid with heartburn or gastric reflux after smoking. Those who struggle with strokes or hypertension can benefit from limonene’s capability to potentially decrease systolic blood pressure. Through aromatherapy alone, this pungent terp has been shown to help relieve anxiety. Limonene has shown anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties, reducing viral infectivity by 100%!


Pinene is popular in dill, rosemary, basil, and parsley. The distinctive Alpha-pinene aroma is often expressed as a favorite for many cannabis lovers. A-pinene specifically has been found to be an effective bronchodilator (to open airways in the respiratory system). For instance, Pinene is a crucial terpene that can help combat negative sensations, such as paranoia, that can occur when consuming too much. Ironically, due to its role as a bronchodilator, it may also improve airflow for people with asthma or other respiratory conditions.


 The most common cannabis terpene! Myrcene is classified as a monoterpene, meaning it has one of the most straightforward chemical structures of any aroma molecule. Mango, lemongrass, and thyme are flowerless ways to get your myrcene fix in. The reason why myrcene is so popular is due to its earthy and musky, semi-sweet flavor. According to Brazilian folk medicine, lemongrass tea (which contains high levels of myrcene) was used to reduce pain and relieve anxiety for centuries!


Is Candyland one of your favorite strains? How about Gelato? Girl Scout Cookies? You must love the spicy and peppery notes of caryophyllene. The benefits of caryophyllene include antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and possible therapy for treating anxiety and depression. In the last 10 years, discoveries have shown that the β-Caryophyllene terpene can directly activate the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, gaining lots of scientists’ and tokers’ attention. Cannabis that contain high concentrations of beta-caryophyllene includes Skywalker OG, Bubba Kush, and Sour Diesel.


Humulene is commonly acknowledged for inhibiting tumor growths as well as producing appetite suppressant properties. Those who struggle with arthritis or fibromyalgia might lean towards this as well. Formerly labeled as a-caryophyllene, humulene is named after Humulus lupulus, a.k.a. the hops plant. Unlike THC that gives you the munchies, humulene can suppress activity in the appetite pathways in your body. In addition to hops, humulene is found in cannabis, clove, sage, and basil.

In simple terms, these essential oils are naturally derived from plants and used in various traditional medicine practices. Terpenes offer potential therapeutic agents, such as regulating seizures, reducing side effects of hepatitis C, and slowing the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Next time, when deciding where to get your terpenes from, look past the THC percentage and consider what terpene will work best for you and why.

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