Cannabis smokers are coming out of the haze associated with maximum THC content and are beginning to find that the keys to both getting high and getting well involve terpenes.

Terpenes (and terpenoids) are aromatic organic hydrocarbons found in many plants and even some insects. Plants developed terpenes to ward off herbivores that may eat them and to attract helpful predators and pollinators. Cannabis has characteristically high levels of terpenes. The dankest flower are found to be the richest in terpenes. A high number of percentages, between 5 percent and 15 percent, can be found in the more powerful terpene-rich strains. Often the high THC count means a lower terpene percentage, but with the proper growing and drying techniques, terpenes are becoming more prevalent with every harvest. 

Terpenes are oils secreted by the same cannabis plant glands that produce THC and CBD during flowering. Over 140 cannabis terpenes have been identified so far, each with its own unique flavor, smell, and medicinal properties.

According to Leafly, the internet guru of cannabis, “Each strain presents their terpene profile like a unique fingerprint. In addition, the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids — like THC and CBD — provide a punch of perks through the entourage effect, giving way to whole-plant medicine which can provide relief in a number of physical or mental ailments.”

Here are the seven more prevalent and most popular terpenes. They are reportedly, not proven to be, effective in treating illnesses in various delivery methods. Here are the top seven to look for in testing profiles as well as a number of key terpenes found in various strains.

7 Terpene Studs (With some of their lesser-known friends)

  1. Myrcene (mer-seen) is an effective anti-inflammatory and it also serves as a sedative or muscle relaxer. When mingling with THC, it can give that mellow feeling. This antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic can ease sleeplessness, pain, inflammation and depression. Also found in mango, this is the most prevalent terpene of all and is found in most helpful varieties of cannabis, sometimes in high amounts.  Myrcene also is found in thyme, lemongrass, mango and hops. It has an earthy, clove or musky smell with a splash of citrus. Check out Modified Banana at Shango for the ultimate Myrcene effect.
  2. Limonene can be used to help promote weight loss, prevent and treat cancer, and treat bronchitis. It can also be used to make ointments and medicinal creams that penetrate the skin better. Found in strains with a pronounced energizing effect, it hails from citrus rinds, hence the vast number of citrus strains. Citrus strains have limonene with great variance. Limonene aids in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and mucous membranes, and has been used to treat anxiety and depression. It can elevate mood and provide stress relief. It’s also antifungal, anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, dissolves gallstones, and may treat gastrointestinal complications and heartburn. Found in fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper and peppermint. The A-Dub strain at Shango, along with Mango and MAC strains have plenty of limonene.
  3. Beta Caryophyllene is powerful and the only terpene proven to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (CB2). It produces anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and is anti-cancer, anti-anxiety and an anti-depressant. Known to be a gastroprotective and is good for arthritis, ulcers, autoimmune disorders and other gastrointestinal complications. Also found in black pepper, cloves and cotton.
  4. Pinene has anti-inflammatory properties. Alpha-pinene and beta-pinene are common contributors to profiles. They can help alertness, memory retention, and counteracts some THC effects. It used on asthma and as an antiseptic. Pinene accounts for cannabis’ familiar odor, often associated with pine trees and turpentine.  Pinene is the most common naturally occurring terpenoid and also acts as a bronchodilator. Found in pine needles, rosemary, basil, parsley, dill. Modified Banana at Shango is a big supplier of pinene.
  5. Linalool can aid anxiety and is a noted anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, is anti-acne. It can make people happy with a floral scent amidst spicy overtones. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory. Helps with motor skills and could help treat liver cancer. It possesses sedative properties and gives relief for anxiety and stress. It has also been used an analgesic and seizure fighter. Llinalool is found in flowers, mint and cinnamon. 
  6. Humulene contributes to the “hoppy” aroma. This terpene acts as an appetite suppressant and exhibits potent anti-inflammatory activity. Humulene also is in clove, basil and hops. It carries a subtle earthy, woody aroma with a spicy scent you might recognize in some of your favorite strains. Though cannabis is commonly associated with appetite simulation, humulene is known to suppress hunger and kill tumors.
  7. Borneol has a menthol aroma and is used as a calming sedative. It is also beneficial for combating fatigue and recovering from stress or illness. Borneol exhibits both anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive effects. It has an earthy and camphor smell. Borneol can be used as an analgesic, anti-insomnia, anti-septic and bronchodilator.

Secondary Terpenes Found in Cannabis

Terpineol is known to have relaxing effects with antioxidant properties. Finding it can be hard but rewarding.

Carene is found in a high percentage of strains and can dry fluids like tears, running noses, and menstrual flows.

Bisabolol can help fight leukemia and can help heal wounds, fight bacteria and inflammations.

Camphene is for pain relief through anti-inflammatory characteristics and positive antioxidant effects. More prevalent in relaxing strains.

Sabinene can benefit liver function and digestion, relieve arthritis, and can soothe skin conditions.

Camphor, when applied topically, produces a cooling sensation similar to that of menthol. Camphor also acts as a slight local anesthetic and an antimicrobial substance.

Isoborneol exhibits antiviral properties. It is a potent inhibitor of herpes simplex virus type 1.

Menthol exhibits analgesic properties. Used topically for inflammatory pain.

Nerolidol, found in oranges, acts as a sedative and exhibits potent antifungal and antimalarial activity.

Ocimene is used in perfumes and possess antifungal properties. 

Terpinene has strong antioxidant properties.

Geraniol may have a protective effect against neuropathy.

Valencene contributes to cannabis’ citrus aroma. 

Phellandrene possesses anti-depressive effects.

Many of these little-known terpenes can be found in smaller amounts in cannabis. The number of terpenes found in part varies from strain to strain, but can be in the dozens. Terpenes can provide the desired effect as much or more as THC. Consult your budtender.