Hemp Terpenes: So Much More Than Just Aromatic Compounds

hemp terpenes

Posted on October 20th, 2020

Terpenes are organic compounds produced by various plants and even some insects. They are  classified as hydrocarbons, meaning they consist only of hydrogen and carbon. Most researchers generally believe that plants produce terpenes to keep away insect invaders and to lure pollinating bugs. Terpenes are present in the oils and resins of a wide variety of spices, fruits, and herbs. Today however, hemp terpenes are the variety we’re taking a closer look at.

When the hemp plant fully develops into the flowering phase, many farmers recognize their strain’s terpenes’ unique smell, which comes from the hair-like trichomes. Because there are more than 100 different types of terpenes that might be found in the hemp plant, it is practically impossible to describe a typical “terpene scent.” With that said, there are standardized measures that scientists apply to classify these particular compounds.

Researchers generally categorize terpenes into one of the following broad flavor profiles: bitter, spicy, sour, or sweet. Whichever of these four flavors the terpene most invokes will decide where it will go on a chart. The aromas of many terpenes have actually complex nuances that combine all four of these essential flavors. 

Why Do Hemp Terpenes Matter?

Based on research, changes in terpene content and varieties have been discovered to significantly alter the physiological impact that hemp has on a user. For example, although some terpenes are ideal for energizing your body, others might be used as a sedative. What’s more, terpenes seem to enhance the advantages of cannabinoids such as CBD through the endocannabinoid system. Many terpenes even have their own unique benefits apart from their involvement in the hemp plant.

It is also worth noting that terpenes require to be heated to a specific point to change into an activated form. As a result, it helps to know the specific terpenes’ boiling point and the cannabinoids present in their hemp’s variety. In general, this knowledge will help you derive the full advantages of these terpenes. 

hemp terpenesVarieties of Hemp Terpenes

The following is a list of the most prevalent terpenes found in the hemp plant. Although the list is not exhaustive, it outlines the most common compounds.


Myrcene is among the most abundant of hemp terpenes. Apart from its fruity and tropical notes, people have claimed that this terpene has a citrusy and earthy aroma. This is easy to understand since myrcene may also be found in similar-smelling herbs such as thyme and lemongrass. According to recent research, the amount of myrcene in a hemp strain has a significant impact on the user’s physiological effect. The basic formula is that more myrcene in some cannabis strains implies a relatively higher likelihood of sedative properties. It has also been studied regarding its potential association with pain relief. Typically, myrcene’s vaporizing temperature is 332°F.


You shouldn’t be surprised that “citrusy” is the first term many people use to portray limonene. After all, this is the prevalent terpene in all citrus fruits such as lemons, grapefruits, and limes. You could also get a bit of limonene’s faint whiffs when smelling fresh juniper or peppermint. 

Limonene is among the ideal terpenes out there for individuals who have fatigue difficulties. In fact, just sniffing a little limonene appears to enhance the brain’s feel-good chemical (serotonin). What’s more, limonene might also have anti-nausea properties. When it comes to activating limonene, users should heat their vaporizer to 348°F. (not higher).


In case you want a little spice in your life, beta-caryophyllene is the best terpene for you. Generally, this terpene has a spicy aroma with some woody undertones and is most commonly present in cinnamon and black pepper. Restorative qualities present in hot chili peppers might also be attributed to cannabis through beta-caryophyllene. 

Studies claim beta-caryophyllene might lower swelling in individuals with digestive diseases, and could also enhance brain function. Like other terpenes, this theory has not been proven outright. As a result, b-Caryophyllene isn’t approved by the FDA when it comes to medicinal use. This terpene has a very low boiling point set at 266°F.


Pinene is among the most prevalent natural terpenes and is associated with the pine smell in most popular strains. It’s available in many other plants, including pine trees. Besides being a bronchodilator, pinene has antioxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects.

hemp terpenesHumulene

Beer lovers won’t have any difficulties recognizing the smell of cannabis strains with very high humulene concentrations. This terpene is present in hops flowers. The hops flowers are an integral component in brewing beer. Apart from hops, humulene can also be found in fairly citrusy herbs such as coriander. In addition, studies have discovered humulene has strong antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial qualities. At 222°F, humulene has a significantly lower boiling point than other terpenes on the list.


Ocimene is applied in perfumes because of its pleasant odor. This terpene naturally serves as part of the hemp plant’s defenses and consists of antifungal qualities. Ocimene can be found in a variety of fruits and plants. It is identified by its herbaceous, fragrant, sweet, and woodsy aromas. Ocimene is naturally present in botanicals as diverse as kumquats, orchids, mangoes, basil, pepper, parsley, mint, and of course, hemp. 


This terpene contains a light, sweet floral aroma and is well known to have anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects. In addition, bisabolol appeats to be a pro-apoptotic agent when it comes to acute leukemia cells. The term “apoptosis” is a process of programmed cell death that typically occurs in multicellular organisms. In other words, bisabolol could prove helpful in slowing proliferation of cancer cells. 


Typically, terpinolene contains woody or smoky notes. Terpinolene generally acts as a sedative and additionally, has antioxidant, anti-proliferative, antifungal, and antibacterial effects. It could be present in a wide range of other pleasantly fragrant plants such as lilac, cumin, apples, conifers, tea tree, and nutmeg. 


Linalool is another terpene best known for its strong sedating effects. It comes as no surprise that this floral terpene is usually linked to the herb lavender. You may have heard of people applying lavender essential oil as their natural sleep aid. The same can be true of hemp strains with high linalool amounts.

Based on recent studies, linalool is not only used for a good night’s sleep, but it can also be a potent mood booster. The University of Tokyo performed a study that discovered linalool considerably lowered stress levels in all lab rats exposed to various stressors. Based on this study, linalool might be used as an anxiolytic agent. Linalool’s established boiling point is 388°F.


A-pinene is well known for its energizing effects on the mind and body. As you could have expected from its name, a-pinene contains a piney scent and is naturally present in pine trees. Apart from rosemary, other herbs that contain high amounts of a-pinene are basil and dill. A-pinene’s boiling point is 311°F.


This is a spicy terpene. Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system (CB2). This terpene appears to contain neuroprotective, analgesic, anxiolytic, antioxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and antibacterial effects. 


Nerolidol is regarded as one of the most valuable terpenes and has a wide variety of beneficial effects on the body. Several studies have proven that this terpene has a strong antibacterial and antifungal effect. In general, nerolidol has a gentle scent and might also be found in tea tree, lemongrass, jasmine, and ginger.


This terpene is commonly described as citrusy and is present in Valencia oranges. Some potential benefits include mosquito repelling and anti-inflammatory properties. More effects are presently being researched. 


Terpineol is known to have a lilac scent and is commonly present in eucalyptus and lilac. Some of the potential benefits are as a calming agent with sedating, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. 

Selina-3, 7 (11)-diene

Simply put, Selina-3, 7 (11)-diene is a more recently revealed terpene whose qualities are still being explored. What’s more, it has been implemented in antimicrobial research in essential oil testing and shows great potential.

Bottom Line on Hemp Terpenes

There’s no doubt that terpenes play a vital role in the effects of hemp and many other plants. In general, terpenes can offer an additional boost to all hemp-based products, and might even provide a range of specific advantages as well. One of the benefits of trying CBD products with hemp terpenes is that you receive a more comprehensive CBD experience. Tanasi’s full-spectrum CBD products do contain hemp terpenes as well as many other cannabinoids to provide the most beneficial hemp product available. 

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