11 Marijuana Terpenes You Should Know About

terpene aroma taste cannabis

Terpenes are exciting the marijuana industry. Labs are testing terpene profiles in controlled environments. This is all new and exciting in the world of cannabis, but people have been talking about terps for a while. Most plants (and even some insects) contain terpenes. People have been testing and mapping coffee, wine, oranges – you name it.

So, what is a terpene exactly, and why should you care?

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are classified as organic compounds. Different strains of cannabis have a wide variety of smells and tastes. Many terpenes affect the aroma and flavor profile of your bud. By mapping out the terpene profiles, we can predict and manipulate them. Changing the smell and flavor is pretty cool, but it’s not even the most exciting part about terpene research.

Some terpenes have been found to have medicinal benefits. That means, there are non-psychoactive compounds that can be used to safely treat an array of medical conditions. There are a ton of different terpenes in cannabis, but here are 11 profiles you should know about.

Limonene terpenes lemon flavor

1. Limonene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Citrus.
  • Medicinal Uses – Limonene can be used to help promote weight loss, prevent and treat cancer, and treat bronchitis. It can also be used to make ointments and medicinal creams that penetrate the skin better.
  • Strain – Perhaps you know Super Lemon Haze gets it’s name partially from the aroma, but did you know the smell is present because it contain’s Limonene?

Myrcene terpenes marijuana


2. Myrcene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Earthy and musky with a hint of fruity flavors.
  • Medicinal Uses –  Myrcene has been shown to be an effective anti inflammatory. It also works as a sedative and muscle relaxer. This could possible contribute to the tired/stoney feeling often attributed to indicas.
  • Strain – A Swiss study found that most of the strains they tested contains high levels of myrcene. One strain they tested, Lovrin 110, contained over 65% myrcene.

Linalool terpene ganja


3. Linalool

  • Flavor / Aroma  Floral with a hint of spice. In addition to cannabis, linalool can be found in an array of flowers,mint, cinnamon, and even some fungi.
  • Medicinal Uses – Can be used as an anti inflammatory. It also helps to modulate motor movements. Another study found that Linalool could be used to help treat liver cancer.
  • Strain – A lab tested sample of Amnesia Haze showed slightly over 1% linalool.

chamomile alpha bisabolol terpene


4. Alpha Bisabolol

  • Flavor / Aroma – Floral. Alpha bisabolol is also found in chamomile.
  • Medicinal Uses Can be used to heal wounds, fights bacteria, and can be used a deodorizer. Research suggests alpha bisabolol has been effective in treating a variety of inflammations.
  • Strain – The Werc Shop analyzed a strain called ‘Oracle’ and found high levels of alpha bisabolol.

Delta 3 Carene marijuana terpene pine woods


5. Delta 3 Carene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Piney / earthy.
  • Medicinal Uses Studies have found Delta 3 Carene to be an effective anti inflammatory. It is also known to dry fluids like tears, running noses, and menstrual flows.
  • Strain – A research study examined 162 marijuana plants, which represented over 80 strains. They detected carene in many of the samples.

Borneol terpene earthy weed


6. Borneol

  • Flavor / Aroma – Earthy and camphor.
  • Medicinal Uses – Borneol can be used as an analgesic, anti-insomnia, anti-septic, and bronchodilator.
  • Strain – Dr. Mariano García de Palau claims that haze strains such as K13 contain high amounts of borneol.

Alpha Pinene Beta Pinene terpene cannabis


7. Alpha-Pinene / Beta-Pinene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Pine. This is, of course, partially where pine trees get their scent from.
  • Medicinal Uses – Pinene has been shown to have anti inflammatory properties.
  • StrainOne study examined 16 marijuana plants and found all the strains contained notable amounts of alpha-pinene and beta-pinene.

Eucalyptol terpene marijuana


8. Eucalyptol

  • Flavor / Aroma – Spicy. Eucalyptol is used as a cooking spice and fragrance.
  • Medicinal Uses – Eucalyptol is used in a variety of products including cough suppressants, mouthwash, and body powder.
  • Strain – Some cannabis strains contain eucalyptol, however, it is typically in very small amounts. An analysis of super silver haze showed .06% eucalyptol.

Terpineol terpene clove cannabis


9. Terpineol

  • Flavor / Aroma – Pine, clove.
  • Medicinal Uses Studies suggest cannabis-extracted terpineol contains antioxidant properties.
  • Strain – A marijuana testing lab claims terpineol is a unique terpene found in Jack Herer and Jack crossbreeds.

Caryophyllene terpene marijuana


10. Caryophyllene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Hoppy. Cannabis and hops are basically cousins.
  • Medicinal UsesStudies suggest that caryophyllene may help treat anxiety and depression.
  • StrainGreen House Seeds tested a hydroponic and a soil-grown specimen of Train Wreck. They found the soil grown cannabis contained .33% caryophyllene. The hydronic only contained .07% caryophyllene.

Cineole terpene marijuana


11. Camphene

  • Flavor / Aroma – Herbal.
  • Medicinal Uses – Camphene has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and antibiotic characteristics. 
  • Strain – One study suggests camphene is significantly higher in concentration among ‘mostly indica’ strains. 

 How to Increase Terpenes in Marijuana

There is no shortage of ideas on how to manipulate terpene profiles. Some methods include using horticultural molasses, slightly stressing your plant regularly, or using any one of the commercial products available. Most of these come with mixed reviews.

In my opinion, what we need most right now is research. Once we have marijuana strains mapped out we can begin to breed plants in a way that produces more of a certain terpene.

The Future of Terpenes

There is still so much to learn about terpenes. Researchers will continue to map out different strains. Once terpenes have been identified researches can extract them and test clinically. Just thinking about the possible medical benefits is incredibly exciting. Get ready, because you are going to hear at lot of buzz about terpenes – if you haven’t already.


  • Jane Stanley says:

    It is pretty neat how you can manipulate the taste and smells of cannabis. What is even more amazing is this is another component that has medicinal properties to this amazing herb. It is too bad that the government decided if we were allowed to smoke or ingest this plant, all because some big company paid them to keep it illegal for so long. Thank you for this wonderful article to show this plant needs to be legalized nationwide, and not just for medicinal purposes. In 1973 Senator Shafer gathered evidence from doctors, cops, lawyers, people who used cannabis and went to other countries and found that marijuana was not a dangerous substance, it did not lead to harder drugs, it has many medicinal uses, and should not be a schedule 1 drug. Your article is just more proof.

    • Mary Jane says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I learned a lot about terpenes while researching the article so a lot of the benefits were new to me.

      I agree – it’s terrible that the government has been keeping this from the public, but there’s good news. More and more states are approving medical marijuana so there is certainly progress.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  • Jack says:

    The Food & Drug Administration states that for a drug to be aevorppd for human use 1) The drug’s chemistry must be known and reproducible, 2) There must be adequate safety studies, 3) there must be adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy, 4) Acceptance by qualified experts is required, and 5) the scientific evidence must be widely available. There is simply no way to measure the dose or purity of smoked marijuana. Unless, of course, some of its more than 465 compounds are found to have medical benefit and can be extracted or replicated synthetically. Two of these, already available by prescription, are dronabinol and nabilone. Marijuana, like many plant and animal matter, contains compounds that, when isolated and purified, can have therapeutic effects. Today we find that even the deadly poison causing botulism has been isolated for therapeutic use. However, no one would suggest recommending the bacteria causing botulism for self-medication. And several drugs have been developed from snake venom but that doesn’t mean a bite from the snake is safe. There are myriad examples but the one thing they don’t have in common is the psychoactive and addictive effects of marijuana. And it is marijuana’s psychoactive properties that are its real attraction.

    • ladyjane says:

      You sir, clearly have never used it for anything BUT it’s psychoactive properties. You are also making a very large assumption, which is very unscientific of you. You are assuming that for most people who pursue marijuana, all they want is the psychoactive component. As a medical marijuana patient, I can tell you sir, YOU ARE WRONG. I have seen parents in tears over how this plant has helped alleviate their child’s suffering, and I’ve seen the children and adults who are so ill that without this plant (in it’s whole efficacy) they would either be dead or in the hospital. You can get “high” off of essential oils, laughter, chocolate, and SEX. Wow, we’d better stop ALL of those right now. To demand that this medicine not have any psychoactive effects is silly. Your coffee sir, affects your brain chemistry, sugar does too, and if we are really going to get started – how about all those drive-thru trips for high fat, high calorie food you occasionally divulge in? There is mounting evidence that those substances which you find on every corner in America (caffeine, sugar, fast-food) are affecting our brain chemistry, and there is compounding evidence that these substances are in fact addictive! Your argument, has serious holes. They sell toxic substances OTC everyday for therapeutic use. Fluoride is a neurotoxin but society STILL thinks ingesting it is a good idea (we swallow on average 30% of the toothpaste we use). You are making assumptions…and they are leading you towards a false positive. Rethink your argument. The therapeutic qualities of marijuana outweigh the negatives by a long shot compared to the toxic and therapeutic qualities of fluoride.

    • Anonymous says:

      Marijuana is the LEAST addictive “recreational” substance out there, and used medically under a health care provider’s supervision, “marijuana is the SAFEST therapeutically active substance known to Man!” (emphasis added!)http://www.ccguide.org/young88.php

  • Dave says:

    In your research for this article, did you hear of anyone extracting terpenes to infuse into concentrated forms of marijuana. For instance the terpene limolene, one of the more prevalent terpenes in marijuana, is also present in many citrus fruits. I was just curious of the efficacy of say extracting limolene from a cheaper and more readily available source such as fruit and infusing it. Also there is much research done by the perfume industry into terpenes, though not in their medicinal value.

    • Mary Jane says:

      Hmmm, I didn’t see much about extracting from other fruits, but that’s an incredibly interesting notion. The medicinal value has been long overlooked, but I’m totally stoked about the possibilities. I’m going to look more into your questions and see what I can dig up. Thank you for sharing!

      • ChasUGC says:

        I’m a Chemist, actually involved in extracting cannabinoid concentrates in the lab, and the problem with infusing terepenes into it is that you lose concentration of the cannabinoids, be it, THC or CBD, or others. I can’t get into what we are doing in the lab, but I feel that the there are certain cannabinoids that aren’t getting the same attention as THC. It has already been found that CBD has far reaching medicinal value than THC. Well, I am also more interested in the other cannabinoids which so far, are normally only in small percentages in the plant such as CBG, CBN, CBDV, CBD and others. There are many other cannabinoids as well, and in my humble opinion, this plant deserves more attention in research into its medicinal properties. I just don’t understand why modern society embraces alcohol and “cancer sticks” (IE tobacco cigarettes) and seems afraid of marijuana, especially with all the talk about its medicinal effects such as cancer treatment and cures, epilepsy, and many others.

  • Carter says:

    Hi Mary Jane,
    Thank you so much for publishing your insightful informative article on Terpines and Cannabis. I live in Virginia and therefore can not legally grow marijuana. That being said I do occasionally get my hands on small amounts. Some of it tastes great but the big buds are so light and fluffy that if powdered down there isn’t much there at all. Other times buds acquired are tight and full throughout and so there actually is a fair amount of plant material but the the taste is sour, almost bitter, and I don’t find the fragrance very appealing. What I want to know is if I can improve the fragrance and flavor of that denser type with terpeniol, and if so how I would acquire that and apply it if that is a feasible solution.

    • Mary Jane says:

      I haven’t ever tried this. As far as I know, terpenes aren’t really available to the public right now. However, this should change shortly.

    • TheCleanGame says:

      The fluffy buds were grown without enough light and/or with too much nitrogen. The compact buds sound like they were grown poorly in hydro.

      You really just need better quality cannabis because cannabis itself is delicious and generally needs nothing added to it. The poor growing information being used to grow the cannabis you’re playing with is covering up and destroying (or not allowing to be created in the first place) the very terpenes that make up the delicious fragrances and tastes of cannabis.

      Clean hydroponic cannabis is truly delicious, it’s just extremely difficult to find, or find the info on how to do it yourself. I have a website at TheCleanGame.Net where I publish information on growing clean cannabis.

      The quality of cannabis in the united states is generally poor. I’m working on changing that. 😀

      Keep it Clean!

  • Alex says:

    If you want to breed for high terpenes, you should have an analysis kit for the flowers you’ll be raising. It will have to be a large scale grow, but basically you’re choosing which phenotypes will survive and breeding survivors. Thus, within a couple generations characterized by frequent analysis for desired terpenes, you’ll get some of that good good.

    • Mary Jane says:

      Nice, thanks for sharing. I’m definitely hearing more and more breeders/growers talking about terpenes. Oddly, it seems as though the concentrates market has fueled a lot of the excitement.

  • Dennis Parker says:

    I have found that the delivery system I was using was a real barrier to getting the full benefits of these terpenes/thc/cbn/cbd … et al. I am chronic severe anxiety disorder from military service. Some thc/cbd combinations are contraindicated in my case through personal experience. Other combinations have allowed me to eliminate, with doctor approval 6 drugs from the list including all opiates/opiods, benzodiazapines, and one Seratonin reuptake inhibitor.

    These other combinations that work for me work in synergy to the pharmecuticals that I am still prescribed on a long term basis, and clinical evidence shows that my condition has improved far beyond what was possible without this new medication strategy.

    What I meant by deliver was this; It is nearly impossible to get the correct dose for myself with even high quality extracts available from legal dispensaries. Typically it tests at 65%-85%. I have severe bronchial irritation when I attempt a whole sample vaporization (which I inhale) at those concentrations. I have also learned from the taste experience (thanks for the taste info above!) that the vast majority of the “impurities” in the extracts are waxes. My observations show that when I remove the waxes from the extracts, that the resulting extract is liquid and VERY sticky at room temperature, but hard like a rock in the refigerator.

    With the waxes removed, I can vape the resulting extract and clearly identify each of the terpenes by taste. It is very obvious when the taste of the wax is gone completely. Plus, I can vape the entire sample with nearly zero residue to clean up on the equipment I use. The residue is a limitation of the vaporizor, rather than an inability of the liquid to evaporate and form an aerosol prior to inhaling.

    The waxes are very easy to remove. I use rubbing alcohol. I disolve the extract completely in a one ounce jar. I pass that through a tea bag filter (twice). I wring out the filters, and the first one has white waxy stuff left in it. The second one not so much.

    I then take regular (not iodized) table salt and add a tablespoon or so to the mixture. This seperates the alcohol from the water almost immediately. The terpenes are not soluable in water from what I can see. I siphon off the small quantity of colored alcohol/extract solution and put it in a small, oven safe dish. I put this dish in front of a fan so the fan ripples the surface. In an hour or so the alcohol has mostly evaporated.

    I put this into an oven preheated to 250 degrees. After about ten minutes the bubble of the mixture begins to taper off, looking almost like a fizzy Cola that has settled down.

    Odor, taste, vaporization/inhalation tests show that what is taken out of the oven is safe for me to use. I can detect no odor of alcohol or really anything but the well defined terpene profile. My symptoms begin to relieve within moments however a most profound relief is felts several minutes after dosing. There is slight bronchial irritation for several moments when dosing too much in one breath, however it took little time to determine the right vaporizer technique to reduce this hazard.

    You have done a great job with your article, and my hat is off to you.

    Now, we just need another soul to tell us all how to use a chromatography column to document the terpene profiles/purify our own samples at home. It has become my belief that the relative simplicity of using a Column Chromatography technique at home will allow us patients to fine tune the extracts for our individual therapy. This would put the real power of medicine where it truly belongs – in the hands of the patient so being treated with it.

    May life not Life on you too hard.

    • Mary Jane says:

      At home terpene testing would be awesome. In fact, I home cannabinoid testing would be awesome too. Thanks for this well thought out comment. Great stuff!

    • Hempsci says:

      If you smell the waxes removed they have terpenes with them. If you think terpenes are not soluble in water think again some are for sure, smell the water used to make water sifted hash, why do you think it smells so much like terpenes?
      Good luck at isolating single terpenes from a Cannabis mixture, not at home work. A GC can be used at home for analysis if you are willing to take the time to understand the variables involved in analytical testing, and you have access to the Cannabinoid and terpene standards used to calibrate the GC.

    • TheCleanGame says:

      Your process is very good. I would switch to ethanol (Everclear or a high proof vodka works well) and use a bit more salt.

      Though you’re unable to detect it, the rubbing alcohol is slowly eating at your throat and lungs. Even with a vacuum oven and repeated washing with ethanol, you’ll still test positive for rubbing alcohol in a lab.

      Keep it Clean! 😀

  • Dennis Parker says:

    I realize I left out a part: After the fan evaporates most of the alcohol from the dish, but before the oven, there is a clear separation of white runny wax, and clear honey/amber colored liquid. The wax is easily pulled off with a medicine dropper.

  • Logic says:

    I use terpene blend solutions to dissolve extracts 😉
    They are wonderful work grate .. just extremely overpriced atm :(

    But in my research I have found alot of these terps are also in flavoring I use in tha ecig industry :)

  • Hempsci says:

    Why don’t you list how the terpenes modify THC for example?
    Myrcene/THC makes the THC stronger, makes it more Narcotic, Physical, Couchlock.
    While Limonene makes THC stronger, but is Cerebral, Clear, Up, energetic.

  • HempResearch says:

    Great article! There seems to be so much about this plant that still needs to be studied, and it could have a lot of therapeutic potential. I’m a chemist working on cannabis research, and terpenes are proving very interesting to study because there’s so much variation between strains.

    One comment: I think cineole and eucalyptol are in fact the same compound, just two different names for it.

  • Andrew says:

    Well linalool, nerolidol and ocimene also contribute the the sedative effects as does beta-caryophylene.
    I could go on about the sleepier ones but it’s the combination with terpenes you would never imagine that you get the most “couch-lock”

  • BudPubs says:

    Wow, such versatility…definitely adds weight to the argument that cannabis has such a wide array of far-reaching, legitimate benefits and uses that go far beyond getting blazed on a lazy Sunday afternoon, which may also be one of the main reasons why it’s been kept illegal for so long….Big Pharma probably can’t stomach the thought of losing so much of their business and gargantuan profits to easily accessible and affordable cannabis-inspired alternatives…seems that capitalism that works for everyone isn’t the kind of capitalism that works for them…the pricks. Here’s to keeping up the good fight! =)

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