Terpenes are aromatic organic hydrocarbons, or essential oils found in all plants as well as some insects. In cannabis plants, the terpenes are found in the trichomes and are responsible for giving each cannabis strain its unique aroma and taste. Terpenes also act in conjunction with cannabinoids and may enhance the effects of THC and CBD. Let’s take a look at the three most common terpenes: myrcene, pinene, and limonene.
Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes and generally determines the sedative properties of different strains. Indica strains tend to have higher concentrations of myrcene than their sativa counterparts. Myrcene is commonly found in mangoes, hops, and basil and has sedative, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects.
Pinene is the most common terpene found in the natural world and produces a strong pine tree smell. Pinene is found in conifer trees, rosemary and basil and may be useful for pain, inflammation and anxiety. Pinene has also demonstrated bronchodilator effects and may benefit individuals with asthma or restricted airways.
Limonene is one of the most widely known terpenes and is responsible for giving certain cannabis strains a bright, citrusy smell. Limonene is present in the natural world in most citrus fruits and used as an antibacterial agent in many household cleaners. Limonene is naturally anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and may reduce stress and elevate mood.
There are hundreds of terpenes present in cannabis and it is difficult to remember exactly what each of them do. Get familiar with the terpene profiles of your favourite strains and go from there. Chances are you will find that your top five strains have a similar terpene profile, as it is our sense of smell that initially draws us to choose certain cannabis strains.