Terpenes 101: Exploring the Role of Aromas in Cannabis

Eloise Theisen

Cannabis has a special smell. If you’ve ever been close to a cannabis plant, you’ve probably noticed it. This smell is more than just a scent – it’s a big part of what makes cannabis work.

In simple terms, cannabis is a very complicated plant. It has lots of different parts that make it what it is. You might have heard of THC and CBD before – these are parts of the cannabis plant. But there are other important parts too. One of these is called terpenes.

Terpenes are pretty cool. They’re the parts of the cannabis plant that make it smell the way it does. But that’s not all they do. They also help shape what happens when you use cannabis.

Knowing about terpenes and the smells they make can make using cannabis even better. It can help you pick the right kind of cannabis for you. This can make your experience more fun and enjoyable.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about cannabis, keep reading. We’re going to talk all about terpenes in this blog. Welcome to Terpenes 101!

Understanding Terpenes: What Are They?

In the simplest terms, they are what make plants smell the way they do. They are natural compounds found in all kinds of plants, not just cannabis. They create the aromas we associate with flowers, fruits, herbs, and of course, cannabis.

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Think about the smell of a fresh orange or a pine forest. Those smells are caused by terpenes. They’re a big part of why we love smelling flowers or walking in the woods. They make nature’s scents.

Now, let’s talk about terpene in cannabis. Cannabis is pretty special when it comes to terpenes. That’s because it has a lot more of them than most other plants. Over 100 different kinds of terpene can be found in cannabis. And each one has its own unique smell.

The exact mix of terpene in a cannabis plant can change a lot. It depends on things like the plant’s genetics, how it’s grown, and even the weather. That’s why different kinds of cannabis can smell so different. It’s all about the terpene.

Understanding them can help you appreciate cannabis in a whole new way. You can start to pick out different smells and understand what they mean. It’s like learning a new language – the language of cannabis.

The Role of Terpenes in Cannabis

Terpenes are more than just smell-makers. They do a lot for the cannabis plant, especially when it comes to aroma and flavor.

Terpene and Aroma

Each terpene gives a unique smell. Some might smell sweet, like fruit. Others might smell sharp, like pepper. It all depends on the type of terpene.

When a bunch of terpene come together in a cannabis plant, they create a combined scent. That’s why some types of cannabis might smell like berries or citrus, or pine trees. It’s the terpenes working together.

Terpenes and Flavor

Just like with smell, terpene also influence the taste of cannabis. They’re why some cannabis might taste sweet or sour, or spicy. The terpene in cannabis vaporize when heated, which allows you to taste their unique flavors.

Terpenes and Effects

Here’s where it gets really interesting. Some people think that terpene might do more than just smell and taste good. They might also play a part in how cannabis affects you.

This is a big area of study right now. Some early research suggests that terpenes might work together with other parts of cannabis, like THC and CBD. This could change the way cannabis makes you feel.

For example, a terpene called myrcene might make you feel relaxed. Another one called limonene might help boost your mood. This doesn’t mean that terpenes can make you feel a certain way on their own. But they might play a part in the overall effects of cannabis.

So, the next time you use cannabis, pay attention to the smell and taste. You might be able to pick out different terpenes. And who knows? Maybe you’ll start to notice how different terpenes might affect your cannabis experience.

Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis

Cannabis has over 100 different kinds of terpenes. That’s a lot, right? But don’t worry. We don’t need to go through them all. Instead, let’s focus on a few of the most common ones. These terpenes are usually found in higher amounts in most types of cannabis.


First up is myrcene. Myrcene is one of the most commonly found terpenes in cannabis. It’s also found in other plants like mangos and thyme. When it comes to smell, myrcene gives off an earthy and herbal aroma. Some people say it’s a bit like cloves. It’s one of the smells that people often connect with cannabis.

Myrcene might also have some effects on how cannabis works. Some people believe it can help create a relaxing or calming feeling. 


Next is limonene. You might have guessed from the name – limonene is also found in lemons! That’s right, and it’s what gives lemons their citrusy smell.

In cannabis, limonene adds a fresh, bright aroma. If your cannabis smells a bit like citrus fruits, that’s probably the limonene doing its thing. Some people think that limonene can help boost mood and reduce stress. 


Finally, let’s talk about Pinene. As the name suggests, Pinene is also found in pine trees. It’s what gives them their fresh, forest-like smell. In cannabis, Pinene adds a sharp, piney aroma. If your cannabis smells a bit like a pine forest, it’s likely thanks to Pinene.

Pinene might also have some effects on the body. Some research suggests it could help with pain, inflammation, and even memory. 

So, these are some of the most common terpenes you’ll find in cannabis. Each one adds its own unique smell and potential effects to the mix. And that’s just three of them – there are so many more to explore!

Next time you’re using cannabis, take a moment to really smell it. Try to pick out the different aromas. Is it earthy? Citrusy? Piney? That’s the terpenes at work. And who knows, maybe you’ll start to notice how different terpenes might shape your cannabis experience. It’s all part of the fun of getting to know cannabis on a deeper level.

The Entourage Effect

Have you heard about the “entourage effect”? It’s a really cool part of how cannabis works.

What is the Entourage Effect?

Think about when you hang out with your friends. You might have fun on your own, but when you’re all together, the fun can get even better. That’s kind of how the entourage effect works.

In cannabis, there are lots of different parts. There’s THC and CBD, which you might have heard of. And then there are the terpenes, which we’ve been talking about. On their own, each part can do certain things. But when they all come together, they can do even more. That’s the entourage effect.

How Do Terpenes Fit In?

Terpenes play a big role in the entourage effect. They can change the way THC and CBD work in your body. For example, let’s say you have a cannabis plant with lots of myrcene. Remember, myrcene is the terpene that might help with relaxation. If you use this cannabis, the myrcene might help the THC and make you feel even more relaxed. That’s the entourage effect in action.

Why Does the Entourage Effect Matter?

The entourage effect can make your cannabis experience even better. It’s like getting a bonus on top of the regular effects of cannabis.

Understanding the entourage effect can help you choose the right cannabis for you. If you want to feel relaxed, you might look for cannabis with lots of myrcene. If you want to feel uplifted, you might look for cannabis with lots of limonene.

The entourage effect is just another way that understanding terpenes can enhance your cannabis experience. So next time you use cannabis, think about the entourage effect. Maybe you’ll start to notice how different terpenes can change your experience. It’s all part of the fun of getting to know cannabis better.

Keeping Terpenes Fresh

To enjoy terpenes in your cannabis for longer, you need to store it right. Heat, light, and air can make terpenes less strong over time. So, keep your cannabis in a cool, dark, and airtight place. A glass jar in a cupboard works well.

And remember, don’t keep it for too long. Even with good storage, the terpenes will start to go away after a while. So, it’s best to use your cannabis fairly soon after you get it. This way, you get to enjoy all the great smells and tastes that the terpenes bring.

Final Thoughts

In the end, terpenes play a big part in what makes cannabis so special. They’re behind the unique smells and tastes, and they might even change how cannabis affects you. So, next time you’re enjoying cannabis, take a moment to appreciate the terpenes. It’s a fun way to learn more about your favorite plant. Enjoy exploring!