When selecting a marijuana strain, most consumers look to cannabinoid profiles to see how much THC or CBD is in a product. But as our knowledge of the cannabis plant increases through research and development, we’re finding that terpenes are the key to flavor and a host of effects and benefits. Terpenes are a large category of organic chemicals, found in a variety of plants, from oranges to pine trees. Testing regulations in Nevada require that we list the top 3 most prevalent terpenes found in every cannabis product. Below is a list of some of the most common and what you can expect from them.
Pinene terpenes are known to help with memory retention and aids in combatting short term memory loss. This terpene is commonly found in sativa strains. It has a forest-like aroma and a clean, fresh scent.
- Flavor: Piney
- Benefit: Mental Energy and Memory Retention
- Other Sources: Pine needles, Rosemary, and Basil
- Example Strains: Jack Herer and Blue Dream
Myrcene is a tropical and fruity tasting terpene. It is found in both sativas and indicas and is commonly associated with mangoes. This terpene is reported to be relaxing as it is commonly associated with the couch-lock effect.
- Flavor: Earthy and Fruity
- Benefit: Pain Relief and Anti-inflammatory
- Other Sources: Mango, Thyme, Hops and Lemongrass
- Most strains have myrcene.
Limonene terpenes have a very citrus-forward nose and are also commonly found in sativas. Some users report increased focus and energy from this specific terpene.
- Flavor: Citrus
- Benefit: Mood Boosting
- Other Sources: Citrus Fruit Rinds
- Example Strains: Durban Poison and SFV OG
The terpene caryophyllene is closely associated with the taste and scent of black pepper. It is found commonly in indicas and is known to be a pain relief aid due to its natural attraction to our CB2 receptors.
- Flavor: Peppery and Spicy
- Benefit: Anti-Inflamatory
- Other Sources: Black Pepper and Cloves
- Example Strains: OG Kush and Bubba Kush
Linalool is a terpene that is closely associated with lavender, and is commonly found in indica strains. This terpene reportedly helps in easing anxiety and depression.
- Flavor: Floral
- Benefit: Calming
- Other Sources: Lavender and Basil
- Example Strains: Lavender Diesel and LA Confidential
Humulene has a very green, herbal flavor and aroma that is similar to that of the hops plant found in beer. This terpene is commonly attributed to curbing appetite and is being researched for its possible anti-cancer benefits.
- Flavor: Hoppy and herbal
- Benefit: Anorectic and Anti-Cancer
- Other Sources: Hops and Basil
- Example Strains: Glue and Cookies
Terpinolene has a smoky flavor and scent. It is commonly used for its antioxidant and anti-insomnia properties.
- Flavor: Woody and smoky
- Benefit: Sedative
- Other Sources: Apples and nutmeg
- Example Strains: Jack Herer and J1
Guaiol is generally considered to have an earthy flavor. This terpene may be able to reduce blood pressure and reduce or suppress coughing.
- Flavor: Piney and woody
- Benefit: Diuretic and Laxative
- Other Sources: Cypress pine
- Example Strains: Blue Kush and Chocolope
Ocimene terpenes have proven to potentially have anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. They have a sweet, floral scent and are commonly found in plants like pepper, basil, mango, and orchids.
- Flavor: Herbaceous
- Benefit: Decongestant
- Other Sources: Mint and parsley
- Example Strains: Golden Goat and Strawberry Cough
Trans-nerolidol is a terpene that is known to have sedative effects and potentially antiparasitic and antifungal properties. It is found in traditionally very pungent and aromatic flowers like jasmine and tea tree.
- Flavor: Sweet and floral
- Benefit: Sedative
- Other Sources: Jasmine, tea tree, lemongrass
- Example Strains: Skywalker OG and Island Sweet Skunk
Eucalyptol terpenes, as the name suggests, are derivative of the eucalyptus plant. It potentially has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Flavor: Eucalyptus and mint
- Benefit: Antioxidant
- Other Sources: Eucalyptus
- Example Strains: Super Silver Haze and Bubba Kush
Isopulegol is a terpene that is aids in digestive and gastrointestinal functions. Evidence suggests this terpene may prolong latency in seizures as well.
- Flavor: Minty and piney
- Benefit: Gastroprotective
- Other Sources: Peppermint
- Example Strains: Kosher Tangie
Bisabolol is derived from the chamomile plant, and has a nutty, fruity scent. It is believed to assist in relieving inflammation and insomnia.
- Flavor: Coconut and Nut
- Benefit: Anti-inflammatory
- Other Sources: Chamomile
- Example Strains: ACDC and LA OG
Final Thoughts on Terpenes
Some terpenes occur naturally in two forms, known as isomers. Isomers are molecules made of the same number and kind of atoms but arranged in different structures. Pinene comes in very similar alpha and beta isomers, but myrcene, linalool and caryophyllene are only found naturally in their beta versions. Alpha caryophyllene is called humulene.