Terpenes in Cannabis
Terpenes are a diverse class of organic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. These compounds are responsible for the distinct aromas and flavours of many plants, including the characteristic scent of cannabis. In addition to their role in providing unique bouquets of cannabis strains, terpenes also have a range of potential therapeutic benefits.
The term “terpene” is derived from the word “turpentine,” which is produced from the resin of certain pine trees. Like turpentine, terpenes are hydrocarbons, meaning that they are composed of only carbon and hydrogen atoms. They are produced by many plants, including cannabis, and play a crucial role in the plant’s defence mechanism, as they can repel insects and other predators.
There are over 100 different terpenes found in cannabis plants, each with its unique scent and potential therapeutic benefits. Some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis include myrcene, limonene, and pinene.
Myrcene is a common terpene found in cannabis plants and other plants such as mangos and hops. It is known for its earthy, musky aroma and has been shown to have potential sedative effects. Limonene, also found in citrus fruits, has a citrusy scent and may have antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. Pinene, found in pine trees and certain other plants, has a woodsy, piney aroma and may have anti-inflammatory effects. These are just a few examples of the many different terpenes found in cannabis plants, each with its unique scent and potential therapeutic benefits.
In addition to their potential therapeutic benefits, terpenes also play a role in the effects of cannabis when it is consumed. The specific combination of terpenes in a particular cannabis strain can affect the strain’s overall potency and impact on the user. For example, a strain with high levels of myrcene may have more sedative effects, while a strain with high levels of limonene may have more uplifting effects.
The potential therapeutic benefits of terpenes have led to a growing interest in their use in medical cannabis. Many medical cannabis products, such as oils and tinctures, are designed to provide specific ratios of terpenes for specific therapeutic effects.
One study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry found that a combination of terpenes and cannabinoids, the active compounds in cannabis, may have potential as a treatment for depression and anxiety. The study found that a combination of the terpene limonene and the cannabinoid CBD had an antidepressant effect in mice. In contrast, a variety of the terpene linalool and the cannabinoid THC had an anxiolytic effect.
Another study published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that terpenes may have the potential as a treatment for pain. The study found that the terpene beta-caryophyllene, found in cannabis and other plants, had a potent analgesic effect in mice. The authors suggest terpenes may be valuable to current pain management strategies.
In conclusion, terpenes are a diverse class of organic compounds found in cannabis plants responsible for different strains’ unique aromas and flavours. In addition to providing the characteristic scent of cannabis, terpenes also have potential therapeutic benefits, including the treatment of depression and anxiety and pain management. The specific combination of terpenes in a cannabis strain can also affect its overall potency and effects on the user. Further research is needed to understand the potential therapeutic benefits of terpenes in cannabis fully.
- Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7),
Follow us at:
For further reading check out the blog