Terpenes are aromatic molecules produced by a variety of plants, including cannabis. Over 200 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and each strain exhibits unique, complex terpene profiles. Terpenes have their own therapeutic benefits, and they also are capable of acting synergistically with cannabinoids and other terpenes. Individual terpene and cannabinoid effect profiles may change in the presence of other compounds. For example, a high THC cannabis strain with the terpene pinene may counteract the short term memory loss associated with THC. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.
The most common terpene produced by cannabis. It lowers the resistance across the blood to brain barrier, which helps enable the effects of cannabinoids. A high myrcene level in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) results in the well-known “couch-lock” effect of classic Indica strains.
Pinene counteracts the effects of THC by increasing acetylcholine levels. The result is that the memory fails more with pure THC than with THC mixed with pinene. It is used in medicine as an expectorant, bronchodilator, anti inflammatory and local antiseptic. Most commonly found in skunk strains.
The only terpene known to interact with the endocannabinoid system. It displays anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. β-Caryophyllene is often found in anti-inflammatory topicals and salves due to its affinity to CB2 receptors.
Currently used in the treatment of various cancers. It also has a powerful calming action, anti-anxiety, and produces a sedative effect. Linalool has been shown to reduce stress.
Often the second, third or fourth terpene found in cannabis resin. Limonene is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-carcinogenic. It is found predominantly in sativa strains, and invokes an energizing high.
This terpene is unique because, like THCV, it acts as an appetite suppressant, showing promise for weight loss treatments. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and an anti-pain compound. Humulene also has anti-cancer properties.
Aroma: Herbaceous, Sweet
Displays anti-inflammatory effects in white blood cells through a variety of pathways. Ocimene is also considered anti-fungal and may be used as a decongestant.
Aroma: Citrus, Fresh, Piney, Woody
Terpinolene is not an analgesic or an anti-inflammatory, yet most cannabinoids and terpenoids are one of the two or both. It does, however, exhibit anti-oxidant and anti-cancer effects. It also has powerful sedative effects.
Commonly found in strains that have a high level of pinene. It is often used in perfumes and soaps due to its pleasant aroma. Terpineol is very relaxing and contributes to the "couch lock" effect.
This terpene's primary use is as mosquito repellent. Geraniol may also be useful as a topical drug enhancer and has shown anti-inflammatory effects. It frequently occurs in strains that also produce linalool.
Aroma: Citrus, Orange
This terpene is found in citrus fruits including Valencia oranges and grapefruits. Valencene is often used as an aromatic additive and flavoring ingredient. Recent studies show that this terpene may be anti-inflammatory.
Borneol potentiates the effects of numerous other drugs by increasing how much of the drug is absorbed by the body. It is used in Chinese medicine against fatigue, stress, or to recover from illness.
Relieves pain and improves concentration. Research suggests eucalyptol could be a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s, as it lowered the inflammation caused by amyloid beta plaque. It is also toxic to several species of bacteria.
Aroma: Fresh bark
Found to be a skin penetration enhancer for the transdermal delivery of therapeutic drugs. Nerolidol also acts as a sedative and exhibits potent anti-fungal and anti-malarial activity.
Aroma: Coconut, Fruity, Nutty
Also known as Levomenol, this terpene is associated with pain relief and neuroprotection, with possible uses in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s treatment. Bisabolol is commonly used in the cosmetics industry due to its perceived skin healing properties.
Carene can be used to dry out excess body fluids, such as tears, mucus, and sweat. It also may stimulate calcium production in bone cells, which could relieve symptoms of conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
Aroma: Minty, Peppery, Citrus
This terpene is used widely in the perfume due to its pleasant natural aroma. Current studies have shown phellandrene to be: anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, expectorant, fungicidal and insecticidal.
Aroma: Sweet pine, Spicy, Herbal, Citrus
Terpinene has perfume and flavoring properties, but is mainly used to confer pleasant odor to industrial fluids. It has very strong anti-oxidant properties.
Aroma: Camphor, Pine, Sweet
Fenchol is often employed as a flavor and fragrance agent. It gives basil its characteristic scent. This terpene is anti-oxidant and anti-microbial with limited anti-fungal properties.
Aroma: Floral, Green, Balsamic
This terpene is a breakdown product of chlorophyll. It is found in green tea and barley. Due to its relaxing effect, phytol can be used in the treatment of insomnia.
Aroma: Camphor, Pine, Woody, Herbal
Most notable is its ability to decrease the incidence of cardiovascular disease by lowering the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Camphene is widely used as a minor constitute in many essential oils.
Aroma: Woody, Citrus, Pine, Spicy
Sabinene works synergistically with cannabinoids to help relieve inflammation and pain from arthritis and other autoimmune disorders like lupus. It also has been shown to benefit liver function and digestion, and can soothe skin conditions. It is a major aromatic and flavor component of nutmeg.
Aroma: Camphoraceous, Clean, Minty
The health benefits of camphor are extensive. They include: anti-spasmodic, anti-septic, decongestant, anesthetic, sedative, anti-neuralgic, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and insecticide. Interestingly, it has also been used in embalming fluids and was an essential component in the production of smokeless gunpowder.
Aroma: Sweet, Musty, Woody
Isoborneol exhibits anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. It has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of herpes simplex type 1 virus.
Aroma: Cool, Peppermint
Also known as hexahydrothymol, menthol is used in a variety of products including pain relieving topical creams and cough drops. This terpene has local anesthetic and counterirritant qualities.
Aroma: Woody, Cedar, Sweet, Fresh
Primarily extracted from cedar oil, this terpene has been widely used in body sprays and deodorant. Resarch suggests that cedrene possess anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties.
Aroma: Woody, Rose, Tea
Guaiol is also found in cypress pine and guaiacum. It has been shown to be an effective insect repellent. This terpene's potential medical benefits include anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Aroma: Minty, Cool
This terpene is the chemical precursor to menthol and shares a similar aroma profile. Isopulegol is known for its anxiolytic, gastroprotective and anti-convulsive properties. It may also hold promise in treating sezuire disorders.
Aroma: Floral, Fruity, Rose
Geranyl acetate is a natural constituent of over 60 essential oils. In studies, this terpene has shown its anti-microbial properties when combined with other terpenes.
Aroma: Fresh, Citrus, Woody
This terpene is commonly found in cumin and thyme. Cymene has anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
Aroma: Minty, Herbaceous
Pulegone is commonly used to flavor food and dental products. This terpene can be used as a sedative, expectorant, and insecticide.
Aroma: Dry, Fresh, Spicy, Sweet, Woody
Caryophyllene oxide, β-caryophyllene, and α-humulene are the three isoprene units that make up the sesquiterpene caryophyllene. Due to caryophyllene oxide's anti-fungal properties, it is often used a preservative in food, drugs and cosmetics.