Terpenes & Why They’re Important

Terpenes are the aromas that are distinct to certain spices in foods, scents in flowers, fruits and perfumes. 

Being that I was a cigarette smoker for a while (Eastern Euro influences and stress got me there) my sense of smell aren’t nearly as good as let’s say my fiancé Jake who can distinguish every ingredient from a whiff of a dish. 

When I walk through an evergreen forest and get those strong pulls of pinene wafting me in to a dream like state. 

The pleasure hormones overload my brain and body with a freeing sensation. Makes you just want to run wild, doesn’t it?

These terpenes are what we call essential oils.

Terpenes vs. Terpenoids: What’s The Difference?

Terpenes are found in our everyday items as well as cannabis genetics and phenotypes.

They can peak your energy, wallow you to calmness, or heighten your senses all over your body.

We’re just beginning to understand that these natural essential oils are providing us loads of benefits, yet we still have underwhelming resources on the whole cannabis plant’s benefits. 

Terpenes, phytocannabinoids and flavonoids all have influence on what outcome you will have.

Here I’ll answer some of your questions in reference to terpenes. 

Though in the everyday canna consumers mind they are interchangeable references, I want you to be aware that terpenes are the trichomes that are on the plant. 

Once dried, they turn into terpenoids.

I’m going to continue using the word terpene for commonality’s sake. 


What Terpenes Do What?

Over the last decade researchers have tried to understand why users claim that different varieties of herbal cannabis appear to produce different medicinal or psychoactive effects.  

Before this, the only focus was primary Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and then Cannabidiol (CBD).

Terpene Synergies

Now studies are being done to observe the behavior of the synergies happening amongst all the chemical compounds of the plant, including terpenes, in respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.

“Scientific evidence is presented for non-cannabinoid plant components as putative antidotes to intoxicating effects of THC that could increase its therapeutic index.” Hopeful science is constantly evolving.

Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy, if proven, increases the likelihood that an extensive pipeline of new therapeutic products is possible from this venerable plant.”

Cannabis Terpene Spectrum

Here is a spectrum of what the basics are of these terpenes in the essence of energizing to calming. To understand each of the details of what the terpene can influence on you, click on the name of the terpene and it will give you a deeper dive into understanding.

Some of the most Significant Cannabis Terpenes are:

  • alpha- & beta- pinene – enhance memory, alertness, and creativity.
  • limonene – mood elevation, stress relief, treats depression, and anxiety in low doses.
  • Myrcene – Low doses, energizing, and joyful. High doses, sedative.
  • beta-caryophyllene – refreshing into a stress relief and calm state.
  • terpinolene – encourages stress relief and calming sedative effects.
  • linalool – encourages relaxation and gives an anti-anxiety effect with sedative properties.
  • Humulene – calming with stress relief and sedative properties (known to suppress appetite) 

What Terpenes do What?

Side Note – Definitions You Should Know (Simplified):

  • Endocannabinoids: Naturally produced cannabinoids in each of our bodies. (Endo: Body)
  • Phytocannabinoids: Compounds that compliment our bodies’ cannabinoids. (Phyto: Plant)
  • Terpenes (terpenoids): Essential oils

What Effect Do Terpenes Have?

For many years the primary focus of the cannabis plant was to figure out what THC did alone. Then those scientist started tooling around with CBD in the same manner. 

They found that these isolated compounds (chemicals) effective on their own. However in conjunction with one another they worked even more effectively.

Wouldn’t you know, that once they started adding back more of the plants parts, each compound would become even more effective.

The same thing goes for terpenes. 

Terpenes on their own worked great in labs and in test trials. Now scientists are uncovering a new world when they introduce various terpenes and seeing how they influence the other phytocannabinoids in endocannabinoid systems.

Terpenes Act in Conjunction with Phytocannabinoids

Cannabinoids and terpenes basically act in almost an orchestra ensemble together, just as Todd McCormick explained here. Basically what that means is that each needs all the combined instruments to play the concerto properly. 

Each part of the plant is responsible for both the medicinal and psychoactive effects that cannabis varieties produce which is often referred to as the “entourage affect“.

When you smell perfume, fresh cut flowers, fruits and vegetables, you smell terpenes! When you smoke cannabis, you also smell terpenes. 

Since cannabinoids themselves have no aroma they need a complementary scent profile to give you the desired effects and outcomes. 

Terpenes are Aromas

Cannabis produces more than 200 terpenes, but only 30 of them in significant quantities. (148)

Being that they are the most common plant chemicals in nature there that aromatic constituents of all essential plant oils and are found in all spices, fruits, and vegetables. 

Such as the citrus fruit, for example, it’s known to give off energizing effects just like the limonene terpene.


How Do Terpenes Make You Feel?

Research on these terpenes and their synergies with cannabinoids is beginning to explain how different varieties of cannabis can produce a range of effects, even though the varieties may share nearly identical cannabinoid profiles.

Click on each of these top note terpenes to get a basic understanding of what effects you can expect out of them.

Where Can I Find Terpenes? 

Terpenes are primarily found in the top cannabis glandular trichomes. These trichomes are also where we source our phytocannabinoids. 

Terpenes are best vaporized. Even though they burn off at the same rate as THC, some minor terpenes are volatile for actual direct heat.

Flower (dried buds), kief, pulls and extracts have the most terpenes.

Currently, only a significantly small amount of producers are labeling these on their products you can legally purchase.

In the future, we can expect to see more common everyday products start including terpenes as a compliment to your cannabis use, weather that’s hemp or marijuana.

Above you see a terpene wheel that I find helpful in understanding when that terpene is activated and vaporized off and what effects I can expect. 

These are constantly changing as we are only now speeding up uncovering all the facts of the data findings. 

Why Should You Care About Terpenes?

Interestingly, cannabinoids may increase the ability of terpenes to cross the blood/brain barrier, by increasing membrane permeability. 

Remember how I said that in conjunction every part of this plant becomes more effective inside our bodies?

It’s important that we get grounded back to our roots with nature to find the peace inside of our bodies. Now that may sound like some woo woo thing to say, because you were led to believe that it’s a crock of sh… 

There are studies involving groups of people being taken back to the wild roots of nature to do therapeutic rejuvenations of mind, body and soul. 

Theories Emerging

It hasn’t been proven yet, but I feel as if these cannabis compounds are missing from our ecosystem. 

Weeds used to be a common…weed until we deemed them illegal and wiped them off the earth, literally.

We were once hunters and gathers grazing on fruits, berries and leaves. Weeds being one of those types of things we grazed on.

If we weren’t hutting and gathering, we consumer the cannabinoids through other sources like milks and meats from animals or other plants that mixed genetics with other plants, like weeds.

These cannabinoids are missing from our nutrition. Thus creating more tension and anxieties. If those tensions and anxieties go unresolved for long periods of time, they expand into more serious conditions even leading to cancers.

Take this with a grain of salt as its not been proven at all. And I’m also not going to say this is the only thing that has brought us to this place of common anxieties and stresses, theres other influences too. 

I just wonder why America has these symptoms so much more commonly than less established countries.


In Conclusion…

We’re learning that terpenese are necessary and essential just like cannabis is becoming (again). Let’s adopt this information into other focuses in life.

It’s not as common to get natural scents from nature in places like overpopulated cities. It’s important for us to take a step out to nature.

Go for a walk or start a garden to get grounded and back to the OG version of yourself.


Share your favorite terpenes below on your and what your thoughts are on any of these topics.  I’ll be sharing more terpene focused information with individual terpenes in the continuing blog post conversation uploads . 

To assist those that are looking to get acquainted with cannabis but don’t know where to start, a good place is with these terpene infused aromatherapy face masks. Not only do they offer a light scent of terpenes to boost your moods, they also prevent mask acne and skin irritations as another bonus!

Bulk orders & wholesale orders, please contact me before completing purchase!


Sign up for the email newsletter updates below to get updates on this continued terpene education. I will also be sharing updates in regards to wellbeing applications that you can use to help reduce stress and anxieties. Thank you for reading and I can’t wait for you to get more value out of this blog. 

my ptsd journey, margojuana
Margo Vesely is the Founder and CEO of Margojuana, where she's dedicated her career to inspiring humanity to understand the blessings in cannabis. Margo is a passionate cannabis advocate, researcher, explorer, and entrepreneur with almost two decades of cannabis and legal experience, both in the public and private sectors. She also volunteers as the executive director of the nonprofit IL NORML (National Organization of Reform Marijuana Laws). Margo strives to use her platforms to share her vision of the future of cannabis, by encouraging continued research for data-driven science, biology, and advocates for laws concerning cannabis. She is passionate about helping the community grow and succeed in this new industry, as well as promoting opportunities within it. Cannabis research fascinates and thus prompted her to develop the new podcast called the PhytoEndo Connection; an educational cannabis platform showcasing the whole plant’s potential benefits in conjunction with our individually unique endocannabinoid systems. Margo encourages continued research for data-driven science, biology, and advocates for laws concerning cannabis. She is passionate about helping the community grow and succeed in this new industry, as well as promoting opportunities in it.