What are Terpenes?

What are Terpenes?

When starting your cannabis research to find out what will work best for you, you’ll probably come across the word terpene. Terpenes are a compound found in the cannabis sativa plant among many other plants. There are actually more than 200 different terpenes that have been discovered! But what exactly are they? In simple terms a terpene is the aromatic component of cannabis. For a broader definition we look to the Merriam-Webster dictionary which states that terpenes are, “any of various isomeric hydrocarbons C10H16 found present in essential oils (as from conifers) and used especially as solvents and in organic synthesis.” To make things less complicated we’ll break it down a little further.

Terpenes are the reason why some cannabis may smell fruity and why other strains could have a strong skunky smell, it’s not a question of whether that strain is good or bad but instead what terpenes are present in the strain. While terpenes are still being researched for their effects, they are believed to hold certain properties. Terpenes also are found in a variety of plants outside of cannabis. We put together a list of the most common terpenes, their believed associations, and the other plants you can find them in!

Most Common Terpenes & Where to Find Them

  • Myrcene
    • Believed to have calming properties
    • Found in thyme, mango, bay leaves and lemongrass
  • Caryophyllene
    • Believed to have anti-inflammatory properties
    • Found in cloves, black pepper and cinnamon
  • Limonene
    • Believed to have anxiety and stress relieving properties
    • Found in citrus fruits such as orange, lemon and grapefruit
  • Pinene
    • Believed to have pain and inflammation relieving properties
    • Found in pine needles, rosemary and basil
  • Terpinolene
    • Believed to have uplifting effects
    • Found in lilacs, cumin and nutmeg
  • Linalool
    • Believed to have relaxing and calming properties
    • Found in lavender
  • Humulene
    • Believed to have anti-inflammatory properties
    • Found in hops
  • Ocimene
    • Commonly used in perfumes
    • Found in mint, parsley, and orchids

That’s only a few of the most common terpenes, there are plenty more that can be found in a variety of plants. Terpenes can be given credit for producing the odors we associate with these plants but the research on their effect on the human body still needs to be done. Keep this in mind when doing your cannabis research as it’s always important to know when and when not to trust a brand’s claims.

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