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Terpenes 101: All About Terps!

Terpenes, one of the most popular terms in modern cannabis culture. 

If you are new to marijuana or have just started digging deeper, you will inevitably hear this word. 

Why is this word so common and important? Let’s look into it.

One thing we all understand about cannabis is that it smells! Most of us can smell it way before we see it. 

Whether it is fruity or outright skunky, weed has a large variety of aromas. But what causes these unique smells and why? 

The answer is Terpenes and the why is what we will get into next! 

mac 1 terpenes

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are essential oils found on a variety of plants.

Terps provide the smells and flavours plants are known for, including cannabis. 

Marijuana contains over 150 different types of terpenes.  

 These terpenes blend together to produce a variety of aromas ranging from sweet to skunky. 

Effects of cannabis are also heavily influenced by the presence of terpenes. 

Certain terps provide different effects including relaxation and anti inflammation. 

We will discuss this further on in the article.

trichome head terpenes

Where Do Terps Come From?

Terps naturally occur in many plants. 

They are found in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. 

Trichomes contain many of the weed plant’s beneficial properties. These include terps, cannabinoids and others.  

However, terpenes aren’t just for smell and taste!

Terpenes provide the marijuana plant with many benefits that aid in its growth and survival. 


What is The Purpose Of Terpenes

Terpene’s original purpose is to provide plants a layer of defense. 

Due to the variety of aromas, terpenes act as a great deterrent to many pests. These include a variety of bugs and animals. 

Smells from terpenes also have the ability to attract beneficial insects which may spread pollen.

Certain terpenes also offer anti fungal properties and can fight off plant diseases.

Terpenes provide a wide variety of benefits to plants as they do humans.

Terps also allow farmers to better understand the health of their crops. 

How Do Terps Work In Marijuana 

Terpenes work in marijuana by providing the plant with its distinct aromas and flavours.

If it wasn’t for terpenes , weed would have no smell or taste.

Imagine cannabis with no smell? Not so appealing.

Terpenes also influence the effects of marijuana.

 Terps such as limonene can be uplifting and energizing. Other terpenes such as Myrcene are more relaxing and sedative.

Many cannabis users and researchers will argue that terpene content is more indicative of effects then the old Sativa VS Indica comparison. 

What terpenes are in Marijuana

Limonene – Yummy Citrus!. This terp is found in lemons and limes.  cultivars such as Sour Diesel , Lemon Haze, Sour OG are high in limonene.  Limonene appears to alter the way certain immune cells in the body behave, which may protect the body from a range of disorders. In one study, limonene helped to increase the production of antibody-producing cells in the spleen and bone marrow, which are used by the immune system to identify and neutralize pathogenic bacteria and viruses. 

Researchers have also recently floated the idea that the unique therapeutic profile of limonene could be useful in treatments for Covid-19.


Caryophyllene – Spicey! This terpene is found in pepper and oregano. It provides a spicey – peppery type aroma. Cultivars such as Bubba Kush, Gorilla Glue, and Girl Scout Cookies content caryophyllene. Caryophyllene helps to induce feelings of relaxation and wash away anxiety. Recent research also indicates that caryophyllene is distinct from other terpenes found in cannabis in several ways. 

Caryophyllene is the only known terpene found in cannabis that can bind to the CB2 receptor in the endocannabinoid system, which is found in the body’s immune system.


Myrcene – Sweet! This terpene is also found in hops and lemon grass. Found in cultivars such as OG Kush, Blue Dream, Grape Ape.  myrcene can also deliver anti-inflammatory effects. A 2015 study in cultured cells indicates that myrcene may effectively reduce inflammation associated with osteoarthritis. 

The terpene also appeared to help prevent the breakdown of cartilage cells, slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, and decrease the production of certain inflammatory cells produced by the body.

terpenes chart


Benefits of Terpenes?


Certain terps show strong abilities to help kill viruses, including pinene & caryophyllene



Some terpenes have expressed anticancer properties, helping to inhibit growth of cancer cells. 

The terpene Limonene is notable as a  anticancer and antitumor agent.

A unique benefit of terps is that they are unlikely to affect healthy cells or any cause side effects.



25% of antidepressant medications  are made using terpenes.



Many terpenes display antimicrobial activity, or the ability to inhibit a harmful microorganism. 


Pain relief

In A 2021 study that combined terpd with cannabinoids, pain-relieving effects were amplified without any negative side effects.

Terps with pain-relieving properties include linalool, geraniol, humulene, and pinene. 

The 2021 study above also found that these terpenes activate the body’s CB1 receptors, which form part of the endocannabinoid system and influence pain perception. 

diamonds and terp sauce

Do Terpenes Have Side Effects?

As mentioned above, Terpenes do not produce any negative side effects. 


Is It Bad To Smoke Terpenes? 

It is not bad to smoke the terpenes in your cannabis. Smoking 100% pure terpenes would be harmful. And expensive. 



As you can see, Terpenes are important!  

When discussing cannabis, terps are just as important as THC and CBD.

These delicious smelling compounds not only provide the plant with a lot of benefits but us humans too!

Feel like we missed something? Let us know in the comments!