What Are Terpenes Used For?

live resin buds with terpenes

Posted on December 15th, 2020

When you think you have discovered everything about cannabis, they come up with another surprise for you. Something new seemingly pops up every day. Researchers know this, and they are not resting on their laurels. Cannabis has been growing on earth for the longest time ever; its history with mankind is indeed a long one. Technology has made it available in every little commodity you would want to consume, like lattes, facial scrubs, tablets, etc. Well, there is something particularly specific about it, terpenes. Sounds strange, right? Cannabis is an exceptionally curious plant; as such, it has exceptionally curious features. But what are terpenes? And what are terpenes used for?

The different strains of cannabis each have a very soothing smell. A pleasant aroma that you can’t seemingly find in any other plant. Did you know where that smell comes from? Terpenes are the answer.

What Are Cannabis Terpenes?What Are Terpenes Used For? - close up of a hemp plant

Terpenes are compounds that influence the kind of smell varying species of plants actually display. Imagine the scent of cinnamon or a strawberry. You can afford to smell that thanks to the courtesy of terpenes.

They are a natural fragrance. In some plants, you will feel the smell better than in others. Technology has made it easier to isolate the aroma and channel it for other purposes. Terpenes are, quite understandably, an essential part of making perfumes and, therefore, the engine of the perfume industry. Food flavoring like vanilla and caramel actually all come from terpenes as well. In cannabis, they play an even more prominent role.

If you have seen various cannabis strains, you will notice a considerable difference in smell, color, and the effect users get. The substance secretes from a similar plant gland that gives out cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Unlike other plants that discharge terpenes for aesthetic and aromatic purposes, cannabis generates them due to an adaptive mechanism.

The aim of terpenes is enticing pollinators and keeping away predators; this is what are terpenes used for. The kind of terpene produced is dependent on the location where a strain is growing. Factors like the type of soil, weather, the period of the day, age of the plant, and kind of fertilizers play a massive role in influencing the result.

Currently, there are more than 120 types of terpenes harnessed in the distinct strains of cannabis. Each version proves to have different characteristics; hence, the particular composition of each plant. But what are terpenes used for besides that?

What Are Terpenes Used For? – Effects.

Terpenes are generally bioactive. Meaning they may trigger the body in different ways. First, you must understand there isn’t a standard effect. The body’s reaction may vary depending on the particular biochemical profile of the person in question.

Additionally, the amounts will influence the ultimate effect and its aftermath. The availability of these substances determines the quality of output you get when using cannabis. Depending on the types available, it can either improve or reduce the effects of THC and CBD. Understanding this gives an insight into how and which to use.

Types of Cannabis Terpenes.

There are a lot of different types of cannabis terpenes. Researchers have only managed to evaluate a few samples. Below are the commonly found terpenes and what are terpenes used for in each case.


Myrcene is the most commonly known of all the other varieties. You would find it in mangoes, lemongrass, and thyme. It is available in strains of cannabis such as Granddaddy Purple, OG Kush, and Cherry Pie.

Myrcene will present itself in different versions depending on the kind of plants that you get. Expect to feel a herbal, musky, or something close to cardamom smell. It also appears to be a powerful antioxidant.

Experiments reveal just how powerfully it seems to work in shielding the brain from the oxidative effects of a stroke or heart attack. The features make it a potentially beneficial supplement for patients who underwent an ischemic stroke. Additionally, it has some anti-inflammatory characteristics. Over the long-term, its effects may help with the prevention of osteoarthritis.


Its name may sound strange, but it’s very popular. Cannabis enthusiasts can quickly tell it apart from all the other types. It has a unique and appealing scent that you would only find in fruits like lemons and oranges.

You know how lemons have quite a number of benefits? Well, so does Limonene. A study shows that it may help protect against diabetes, cancer, viruses, oxidants, and inflammation.

The substance works by modulating the way immune cells operate, shielding the body from the different disorders. The strains of cannabis that have this terpene include White Fire OG, Do Si Dos, and Wedding Cake.


Ocimene is an appealing sweet and earthly aroma mostly found in mint, parsley, and orchids. It serves in the manufacturing of perfumes and air fresheners. The cannabis plants that carry it are Dutch Treat and Amnesia. The terpene appears to work powerfully against bacteria, fungal infections, and congestion. Also, some people use it as an antiseptic in the event of cuts and bruises.


Humulene is prevalent in ginger and cloves. It may contain anti-allergenic effects. Also, people who have asthma may benefit from it. Research suggests that it reduces inflammation in the airways. Upon taking this compound, it may help clear mucus blockages of the airways faster.


Linalool is commonly present in lavender plants. Its effect is calming; hence it’s mostly used in aromatherapy. The long-term results may help users with inflammation, depression, cancer, and anxiety.


This terpene is unique and only found in vegetables and herbs. An example includes black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves.

You would find it in strains of cannabis like Original Glue and Purple Punch. Consuming this terpene may reduce inflammation in different parts of the body. Also, it may counter nerve pain. The analgesic effects may make it suitable for some people with chronic pain.

Terpenoids, The Other TerpenesWhat Are Terpenes Used For? - hemp plant with flowers

The list of terpenes found in cannabis is seemingly endless. However, the above mentioned are the most available. Also, they prove to be valuable in tackling different conditions you might face. Nevertheless, there are some other terpenes as well.

These are available in limited amounts but may prove to be useful as well. Additional versions include terpenoids. Terpenes and terpenoids are more or less similar.

The distinction rests in that terpenes mostly come in wet forms while terpenoids underwent oxidation, hence, only found in dry forms. You will get them when you dry and treat the cannabis plants. Here are some of the terpenoids identified so far:

  • Guaiol: Mostly found in shrubs and trees growing in the tropical forest. You would find it in a cypress plant. Guaiol shows some potential in anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. However, its most notable use found so far is with coughing fits.
  • Nerolidol: Nerolidol is available in ginger and jasmine. Its ability to penetrate through the skin makes it valuable for the transdermal delivery of drugs.
  • Phytol: It is a diterpenoid. Many insects use it to keep away predators. Manufacturers infuse it when making household products like soaps and air fresheners.
  • Eucalyptol: Sounds familiar? You can find it in eucalyptus, basil, tea tree, and sage. The terpene may be useful as an antibacterial, antiseptic, and also anti-inflammatory.

Understanding the Concentration of Terpenes in Different Cannabis Strains.

The quantity of terpenes varies from one plant to another. As seen above, there are common conditions that each of the terpenes can manage. However, the results so far differ in each sample.

While you would use limited amounts in some, in others, you must take more substantial quantities. Also, it is vital to be able to tell apart the type of compound in each plant. This way, you’ll have an easier time finding the plant that suits you.

The kind of high you get varies. There are two categories in which all the terpenes fall, Indica and Sativa. Thus, what are terpenes used for varies.


The terpenes that fall under this group are unique but, apparently, are not entirely reliable regarding results. Their characterizations are not predictable, making it hard to associate them with any defined functions.

The dominant terpene is Myrcene. The other limited versions include pinene and terpinolene. The dominance may change depending on the kind of plant at hand. The effect is an uplifting high, which draws most people to it.


Myrcene is the dominating terpene in Indica strains. The other types found in smaller concentrations are either Pinene and Limonene. The result you get upon intake is relaxing.

What Are Terpenes Used For? – The Takeaway

Indica strains have a higher concentration of Myrcene compared to Sativa. There are other compounds also available in these strains, and dominance may vary.

Terpenes are the reason behind the smell that you get from different types of plants and fruits, including cannabis. Each structure is unique and exhibits a different concentration of characteristics.

They play a key role in supporting the growth of these plants to maturity. Through different ingestion methods, you can benefit from the relaxation, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects.

However, these are not all the potential benefits of these valuable products. The many different types mean considerable potential untapped potential. Scientists are still working round the clock to reveal every possible advantage you could get from terpenes.

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