What are cannabis terpenes?

In addition to the well-known calming and psychoactive effects of cannabis Sativa, there is another important aspect of this plant that is characteristic of each strain: the smell. For example, the buds of two different cannabis plants can smell completely different, and it is not unknown to the seasoned cannabis smoker that there is a wide variety of aromas in the world of cannabis plants. The cause of this variation must be sought in the so-called terpenes, which have only recently received more attention in research into the effects of cannabis.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes can be defined as a broad category of aromatic chemicals. They occur naturally in many plants, and their purpose is to protect the plants. Bacteria, fungi and pests are repelled with the help of certain aromas, while beneficial insects and other organisms are attracted by certain aromas. Terpenes can be found in, for example, lavender, black pepper, lemongrass and mint. However, the hemp plant is a very special plant as it is said to contain more than 200 different terpenes, each of which has a unique chemical structure. These unique compositions provide an exclusive aroma and characteristic effects on the human body.


It is said that terpenes can influence the effect of THC and CBD, but each terpene also has its own characteristics, which in turn have its own influence on the synergistic capacity of a cannabis strain. This synergistic power, also known as the “entourage effect”, provides the exclusive aromas and unique effects where the terpenes work together with the cannabinoids in the plant, such as THC and CBD. Although no exhaustive research has yet been conducted into the effects of the different terpenes, these aromas appear to be very versatile. They may have an effect on mood, the immune system, sleep and appetite. Currently, at least 100 different terpenes have already been distinguished in cannabis. Some well-known and prominent terpenes are limonene, linalool, eucalyptol, terpineol, myrcene and beta-caryophyllene. Each of these terpenes has unique properties, so also interact in a unique way with the cannabinoids to produce the characteristic and powerful effects of the cannabis plant.


Isolated terpenes can be used to enhance the aromas of e-liquids and extracts, while also enhancing the effects. They can also be used to make edibles more powerful.

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