Have you ever been curious about what exactly gives cannabis its distinct scent? If you have, look no further, as we shall delve into terpenes (the chemical compounds responsible for the characteristic smell), their relation to CBD, their benefits, how to choose the best terpenes, and the various types of terpenes available.


Terpenes are aromatic, naturally occurring chemical compounds present in plants and some animals. The various distinct aromas and flavors in plants, including pine, sage, lavender, and even cannabis, can be attributed to terpenes’ presence. According to Singh et al. (2015), terpenes protect the plant from foraging animals and unfavorable weather conditions. Moreover, since the presence of terpenes determines the characteristic scent in plants, terpenes also aid in attracting insects for pollination. Terpenes play a key role in manufacturing chemical solvents, dyes, body products, and pesticides.

According to  Cho et al. (2017), terpenes are crucial in treating anxiety and mood disorders. The number of terpenes produced by cannabis varies depending on certain factors, as terpenes are highly volatile. These factors include nutrient levels, specific growing conditions, and exposure to light. According to Jiang et al. (2016), hexane and silica can be used to extract terpenes. However, hexane is more inclined to extract non-volatile terpenes, while using live resin is essential in extracting volatile terpenes, such as those in cannabis. 


Terpenes are highly present in certain cannabis plant strains, such as hemp and marijuana. It may be one reason people assume it’s an intoxicating chemical compound. There is a coherent distinction between CBD, THC, and terpenes, although terpenes are present in CBD and THC. To put this into perspective, cannabinoid (CBD) is a non-psychoactive chemical compound in hemp, while THC is a psychoactive chemical compound. Therefore, THC is responsible for the “high” feeling experienced by marijuana consumers.

However, according to Barrie et al. (2019), CBD treats Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and can also relieve muscle spasms and reduce pain. Terpenes can also be harnessed to process essential oils such as lavender and sage. Such oils are used in aromatherapy, which is recommendable for relaxing your mind and improving your sleep quality.



Myrcene is a powerful antioxidant that prevents body cells from oxidative damage. It also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Myrcene is commonly found in hops and lemongrass.


Pinene is commonly found in conifers, citrus fruits, pine needles, and hemp strains. Pinene terpenes have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which are key in improving our health. Pinene also acts as a bronchodilator, allowing sufficient air into the lungs.


Humulene is used in treating allergic inflammation in the airways and asthma and in preventing allergic reactions. It is contained in hop, cloves, and ginger. Humulene is contained in plants such as ginger, hop, and clove.


Limonene is found in citrus fruits and lemons. It is known for its anti-fungal properties and can be used to treat mood disorders and anxiety and reduce inflammation. Furthermore, limonene plays an essential role in the manufacture of CBD oil. Limonene is regarded to be safe for consumption as a supplement. Furthermore, limonene contains several therapeutic properties, such as antioxidant, antidiabetic, antiviral, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.


Caryophyllene acts similarly to CBD since it reacts with receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Caryophyllene is present in hemp, black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon. It has anti-inflammatory effects, as well as analgesic effects. Furthermore, it is used in the treatment of nerve pain.


While linalool is instrumental in treating mood and anxiety orders, linalool is also important in manufacturing body products due to its amazing scent. This scent is common to plants such as sage and lavender. Linalool has several properties, including anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anticancer, anti-depressant, and anti-microbial properties.


Common terpenes are adaptable for treating viruses, inflammation, nerve pain, and mood and anxiety disorders. On the other hand, some terpenes are rare in existence and of lesser abundance in non-cannabis and cannabis plants.


Ocimene helps in the treatment of diabetes due to its anti-diabetes properties. It is a terpene with a woody scent and is particularly found in orchids and parsley.


Geraniol smells fruity, and it is discovered in the geranium plant. It is present in the Bruce Banner profile and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties.,


Borneol is essential in the haze strain terpene profile due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant, and antioxidant properties.


In the terpene profile Girl Scout Cookies and Super Silver Haze, eucalyptol is a rare terpene that contains anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties.


There has been a surge in demand for terpenes in recent years due to their anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, neuroprotective, and anti-depressant properties. It is therefore incumbent on you to always ensure that you purchase high-quality terpene products due to the risks posed by low-quality terpene products sold by shady people in business who are looking to make a quick profit from hazardous goods. Consider the following aspects;


Since most terpenes are volatile, they easily go stale after a while. Therefore, always ascertain the expiry date of the terpene product you wish to purchase.


CBD oil contains a significant number of terpenes. An individual can consume CBD oil through oils and tinctures, CBD gummies, and CBD vape oil pens.


Young adults and teenagers commonly use them due to their small size, discreet nature, and low weight. They are also common among people who wish to stop their nicotine addiction.


It seems aggregable and cost-effective, but it poses several health risks since most are usually substandard. Always prioritize quality by buying products from a reputable brand ready to share their intensive independent laboratory tests that ascertain their CBD oil products’ purity and potency levels. Furthermore, look out for the ingredients used in processing your CBD oil products, and ensure it does not contain harmful chemicals such as vitamin C acetate.


Terpenes can treat cancer, diabetes, and mood and anxiety disorders due to their anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-depressant properties. It is important to ascertain the products’ quality to minimize possible health risks caused by toxic chemicals in low-quality terpene products.


Barrie, Allison M et al. “Dramatic response to Laetrile and cannabidiol (CBD) oil in a patient with metastatic low grade serous ovarian carcinoma.” Gynecologic oncology reports vol. 29 10-12. 17 May. 2019, doi:10.1016/j.gore.2019.05.004

Cho, K. S., Lim, Y. R., Lee, K., Lee, J., Lee, J. H., & Lee, I. S. (2017). Terpenes from forests and human health. Toxicological Research33(2), 97-106.

Gibbs, J. E. (2019). Essential oils, asthma, thunderstorms, and plant gases: a prospective study of the respiratory response to ambient biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs). Journal of Asthma and Allergy12, 169.

Jiang, Zuodong, et al. “Extraction and Analysis of Terpenes/Terpenoids.” Current protocols in plant biology vol. 1 (2016): 345-358. doi:10.1002/cppb.20024

Singh, B., Sharma, R.A. Plant terpenes: defense responses, phylogenetic analysis, regulation, and clinical applications. 3 Biotech 5, 129–151 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13205-014-0220-2.

Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS

I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.

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