What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are the chemical compounds in plants, including the cannabis plant (the marijuana plant), responsible for fragrance and flavor. In cannabis, terpenes also work with cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) to provide medical benefits and impact how users are affected when they smoke or consume it, a process called the entourage effect. 

Cannabis plants have more than 100 terpene varieties, which differ based on the particular strain. Some of the most well-known terpenes in cannabis are also found in other plants, which is why some varieties have familiar scents, like citrus, mint, and cocoa. Some of the most prevalent terpenes in different varieties of marijuana include:

  • Caryophyllene, also found in clove and rosemary
  • Humulene, also found in ginseng and sage
  • Limonene, also found in dill, lemon, and spearmint
  • Linalool, also found in basil and lavender
  • Myrcene, also found in bay leaves, mangoes, and thyme
  • Pinene, also found in pine and spruce trees