What are terpenes in cannabis and what do they do?

The scent of cannabis has a calming effect on both the mind and body. We know there’s something going on beneath their rich and aromatic bouquets, whether it’s the sweet fruity taste of Pineapple Trainwreck or the skunky fragrance that explodes from a cracked bud of Sour Diesel.

Terpenes are what make cannabis smell good, and knowing what they are will help you appreciate it more.


What are terpenes in cannabis?

Terpenes are aromatic oils that give cannabis cultivars aromas like citrus, berry, mint, and pine. Terpenes are produced in the same glands that generate cannabinoids like THC and CBD.


Terpenes may be important in distinguishing the effects of different cannabis strains. Some terpenes may help with stress alleviation and relaxation, while others may help with focus and clarity.


The evolution of terpenes in cannabis began for adaptive objectives, similar to that of other strong-smelling plants and flowers: to repel predators and attract pollinators. Climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilisers, soil type, and even the time of day all have an impact on the formation of terpenes in plants.


In the cannabis plant, over 100 distinct terpenes have been found, and each strain has its own terpene type and composition. In other words, a strain like Cheese and its children will most likely have a cheese-like odour, but Blueberry offspring often have a berry-like odour.


Terpenes may also have a role in distinguishing the effects of different cannabis strains, casting doubt on long-held ideas regarding indica vs. sativa strains. However, further research is needed to determine how and to what extent this is true.



Understanding the distinctions between cannabis types (indica vs. sativa)

Some terpenes may help with stress alleviation and relaxation, while others may help with focus and clarity. Many soothing cannabis strains, such as Blue Dream and Granddaddy Purple, contain myrcene. Terpinolene is typically found in strains like Jack Herer and Ghost Train Haze, which are euphoric and lively.


In the presence of additional molecules, the impact profile of any given terpene might shift, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. More research is needed to fully comprehend the effects of each terpene when taken in conjunction with others.


To find strains based on terpenes, use Leafly’s Flower Finder.

Terpenes can bring a lot of richness to the horticultural art and connoisseurship of cannabis, even if their distinctions are modest. Based on their distinct medical qualities, they may also contribute therapeutic benefit to cannabis.


Many cannabis analysis laboratories now evaluate terpene concentration, so you can have a better understanding of how a strain will affect you. Terpenes will undoubtedly open up new scientific and medical terrains for cannabis research due to their limitless combinations of potential synergistic effects.

On Leafly, we’re looking at cannabis terpenes.

Leafly’s Cannabis Guide offers a graphic representation of terpenes in relation to each strain. Leafly can help you figure out the average terpene profile of several popular cannabis strains using data from lab partners—and our list is growing all the time.


Different colours signify different types of cannabis terpenes, which you may learn about in this tutorial. Some terpenes are more prevalent than others, and some have a greater average abundance. Most commercial cannabis strains, for example, are myrcene dominant, meaning myrcene is the most abundant terpene in their chemical profile. Caryophyllene, limonene, terpinolene, and—in rare cases—pinene-dominant strains can also be found.



The Cannabis Guide’s five most common terpenes, their flavours, and other fruits and herbs where they’re found; calm-energizing info is compiled from Leafly reviews.


Pay great attention to the colours of strains you like and don’t like when exploring Leafly. Look for blue-colored strains if you favour myrcene-dominant strains because they tend to help you relax. If you’ve had bad luck with caryophyllene-dominant strains like Original Glue and GSC, you’ll want to stay away from fuchsia-colored strains.…

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