- Terpenes are fragrant oils found in many types of plants that produce their unique taste and smell.
- Tastes and smells of the terpenes in cannabis products range from woodsy to spicy to citrusy sweet and everything in between.
- Many terpenes are unique to cannabis.
Cannabis gets its scent from compounds in the plants called terpenes. Terpenes are fragrant oils found in many types of plants, especially coniferous (evergreen) varieties. The chemical compounds they secrete give fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs their signature scents. There are over a hundred identified terpenes, many of which are known only to the cannabis plant.
Although cannabis is often generally associated with a certain musky aroma, each strain of cannabis has its own scent. The individual scent of a strain will be based on the number and type of terpenes present and which ones are dominant. Terpene scents range from spicy and peppery, to earthy and woodsy, to floral and fruity.
Making this equation even more complex, each terpene can itself have multiple aroma profiles. Also, terpene levels can vary from crop to crop, which can lead to inconsistencies in scents of the same strain.
Why are Terpenes Important?
We all have individual preferences for smells and tastes, so knowing the terpene profile of a product can help you choose a cannabis product with a scent and flavour profile you’d most likely prefer.
Since many terpenes are associated with various types of plants and herbs used in naturopathic remedies, some believe that terpenes play a role in the effect of cannabis. For instance, linalool, a common terpene found in lavender, may be associated with relaxation. Some also believe in the “entourage effect,” referring to the possibility that cannabinoids and terpenes work together in the overall effect of cannabis. As of now, these are just theories ⎯ the impact of terpenes beyond flavour and aroma has yet to be scientifically proven.
Cannabis contains over 100 terpenes. Learning to identify them can be helpful when you’re choosing cannabis products, especially if you have scent and flavour preferences.
Top 5 Most Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis
Terpenes are one of many factors to consider when choosing the right cannabis product for you. Read more about these factors here.