Terpenes, in their simplest definition, are aromatic oils that provide unique taste and smell characteristics throughout the botanical world. That’s right, these are not unique to cannabis. All plants, herbs and fruits have unique terpene profiles which is what creates the differences in taste and smell. Over 200 different terpenes have been discovered and they’re considered safe to consume by the FDA. There are 12 important terpenes most commonly found in cannabis.

In the cannabis plant, the terpenes are produced in the same glands as the other major compounds like THC, CBD, etc. These glands are referred to as trichomes. The reason they are important is because when they are inhaled or ingested alongside cannabinoids, they interact with the endocannabinoid system to facilitate the onset of your high. One terpene called Myrcene is produced in high concentrations in mangoes, which is why some people may tell you eating them will boost your high. The science behind this very real pro-tip is that Myrcene increases cell permeability, which makes for faster absorption of THC, CBD, and the rest of the cannabinoids.

Another example of this phenomenon is limonene. Commonly found in lemons as well, limonene increases serotonin production in your body, which is why those fruity strains often elevate your mood like a fresh glass of lemonade.

While the main attraction for many people when it comes to terpenes is the sensory attributes, it’s important to realize that terpenes also play an important role in modulating the medicinal attributes of cannabis.

When you consume THC or CBD concentrates that were produced from whole plant extractions, you’ll typically see hundreds of additional trace compounds in the final product – that’s where the terpenes are. When you synthetically created a CBD product, those compounds do not exist. The benefit of whole plant extraction is that those additional terpenes are there to exponentially increase the effectiveness of the CBD molecules – these are known as ‘full spectrum’ extracts. The medicinal impact of all those extra terpenes and trace cannabinoids ensures a product that delivers results.

Eleven Common Terpenes in Cannabis

1. Limonene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Citrus
  • Found In – Lemon, Orange, Peppermint
  • Medicinal Uses – Mood regulation, Cancer, Bronchitis

2. Myrcene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Earthy, Musky, Fruity
  • Found In – Mango, Lemongrass, Thyme, Eucalyptus
  • Medicinal Uses –  Insomnia, Inflammation

3. Linalool

  • Flavor / Aroma  Floral, Spicy
  • Found In – Lavender, Mint, Cinnamon
  • Medicinal Uses – Insomnia, Inflammation, Cancer

4. Alpha Bisabolol

  • Flavor / Aroma – Floral
  • Found In – Chamomile
  • Medicinal Uses – Inflammation, Anti-bacterial

5. Delta 3 Carene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Piney / earthy
  • Found In – Juniper
  • Medicinal Uses – Inflammation

6. Borneol

  • Flavor / Aroma – Earthy
  • Found In – Mint, Cinnamon, Wormwood
  • Medicinal Uses – Insomnia

7. Alpha-Pinene / Beta-Pinene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Pine
  • Found In – Dill, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary
  • Medicinal Uses – Inflammation

8. Eucalyptol

  • Flavor / Aroma – Spicy
  • Found In – Bay leaves, Tea Tree, Sage
  • Medicinal Uses – Congestion

9. Terpineol

  • Flavor / Aroma – Pine
  • Found In – Cloves, Lilacs, Caraway, Gingergrass
  • Medicinal Uses – Antioxidants

10. Caryophyllene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Hoppy
  • Found In – Beer, Thai Basil, Black Pepper
  • Medicinal Uses – Chronic Pain, Anxiety, Depression

11. Nerolidol

  • Flavor / Aroma – Woody
  • Found In – Ginger, Citronella
  • Medicinal Uses – Insomnia, Anti-fungal


The next time you purchase cannabis, take a closer look at those trichomes and really appreciate the terpenes contained inside! It’s important to note that terpenes are important for both high-THC and high-CBD products.