The Wonderful World of Terpenes in Cannabis. Ever wonder how Terpenes provide effects that guide your Cannabis experience & beyond? Here’s how:

Ever wonder why some Cannabis smells like a skunk or why others smell more like pine trees? Cannabis has what is known as Terpenes. These Terpenes produce smell, taste, and effects that are then powered by the Cannabinoids in Cannabis such as THC, CBD, CBG, etc.

We have yet to completely discover every Cannabinoid in Cannabis, so far 113 have been identified- yet little research has been able to be done due to the laws against this miracle plant in the United States.

Thank Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the Godfather of Cannabis research!

In Countries like Israel, research has been underway for decades.  Dr Raphael Mechoulam is best known for his discovery of THC, but also his continued research on the Cannabis plant and all its properties. He and his team of researchers have uncovered many wonderful discoveries that will continue to expand research on more Cannabinoids and the benefits of each. Cannabis is truly unlike any other plant in the world. The possibilities are endless for health benefits and potential cures for many diseases if we could just get more wonderful people like Dr. Mechoulam to have the ability to research and publish real evidence and findings.

There are over 200 different Terpenes in Cannabis and easily 20-40 types of Terpenes in small concentrations in any given strain or cultivar. Landrace strains (strains that are virgin to breeding and are strictly nature’s recipe) are exceptionally interesting to discover the different combinations of not only Terpenes, but also Cannabinoids.

Terpenes are found in many living botanicals

Terpenes are all around us in many flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs including Cannabis. For example, Linalool is probably best known for the pleasant floral aroma that is natural in lavender plants. It’s commonly used in aromatherapy to induce relaxation and relieve stress, enhances better sleep and falling asleep.

Terpenes offer a variety of benefits as well such as analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties (which is common among all Terpenes in Cannabis). Linalool also has been shown to be effective as an anti-depressant and an anti-convulsant benefits for patients with seizures. There is always more research still being done and more needs to be documented. Terpenes in fact have medicinal properties and this is what drives your Cannabis experience which is known as “the entourage effect”. 

 Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

An interesting fact in the world of medical and adult-use Cannabis markets is that certain states only allow Cannabis derived Terpenes can be infused in Cannabis products and others allow natural botanical Terpenes to be added into vape pens, edibles, and topicals. Because the amount of time, resources, and expense it requires to extract Terpenes from Cannabis strictly, many companies rely on natural botanical Terpenes found in other plants to complete their products.

Vape pen concentrate producers are a large segment of the industry that relies on non-Cannabis Terpenes to enhance their products. The process can be done exceptionally well, so good in fact you would might never know the difference. Other products you might discover in the market are “terp heavy”. The industry is still young and learning what consumers will tolerate and what is universally liked best. It helps to be mindful of what companies you choose to support when buying these products.

Should you be asking what is in your Cannabis? Absolutely!

You are the consumer and the Cannabis community ultimately decides whether a product is worthy of purchasing again and again.

Some Vape companies have overloaded their concentrate cartridges with too much Terpenes and it is generally obvious when you take that first inhalation. If you feel an extra burn in the back of your throat, that’s usually a sign of too much Terpenes. Some are more obvious than others and sadly this process is unregulated. Knowing this, it’s even more important to have brands you can trust and also feel empowered to reach out and ask them about their products. These Cannabis companies know there is very little loyalty to brands, but if a brand does well at educating their customers there is a greater chance of repeat customers.

Is having too much Terpenes in Cannabis products harmful?

The answer is yes, too much of certain Terpenes especially could have an adverse effect on the user. The experience is going to vary and depending on the physical well-being of the user. The science is certainly not an absolute. Generally, this is an issue of concern with concentrated Cannabis products like concentrates for dabs, or Cannabis distillate with Terpenes added into a vape cartridge. Anything that has been ultimately processed is up for questioning.

Taking the Cannabis plant apart and then putting it back together again into a concentrate is one thing, but it’s quite another when adding an entirely different set of Terpenes to the situation. Most states do not allow synthetic Terpenes to be used in Cannabis products, these are not from nature. Botanical Terpenes as we stated earlier are in fact from living plants and are legal to add to Cannabis products in certain states only at this time. There is no difference of a Linalool Terpene from Cannabis versus from Lavender, except for the levels that are naturally in each. There is still much research needed to fully understand and determine these potential harms of over saturation of particular types of Terpenes.

Powered by THC

Think of Terpenes as the additional enhancer that can help steer your Cannabis experience alongside the typical Cannabinoids in any given bud of Cannabis. THC is the main ingredient, but when you have 20-40 Terpenes joining the recipe, it’s a much tastier and more pleasant experience altogether.

Below is a list of the top five common Terpenes in Cannabis and what is known of their benefits we know of so far.


Education is key!

Get familiar with how each Terpene smells, once you know which ones work well for you and your desired experience then you’re free to move about the cabin on flight Cannabis for years to come.  You are the consumer, no matter what state you live in (medical and legal states obviously only apply) it’s your demand that will drive the industry to adapt and change. Start asking your Cannabis flower companies to start testing for Terpenes and display these results within their results on their packaging. They’re already testing the Cannabis, might as well get the full story behind the strain you’re about to smoke. It’s the 2020’s and the future is now!

Learning more about the Cannabis you ingest, however you choose to ingest, it’s important to know what is inside and how it affects you and what kind of effects are you most interested in having. Do the research on the Cannabis products that you purchase and find has the best products for your needs and desires. Follow your favorite brands on social media and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions.

Nature and Cannabis breeders are guiding the market with strains

Cannabis breeders and seed companies have been playing with Terpene recipes for years with their work in developing genetics that produce the best effects based on experience and trial and error. We love Breeders like Humboldt Seed Company.  They are creating strains that are terp heavy naturally. Breeders and seed companies like Humboldt Seed Co, really do work that no one else has the passion or patience to take on.

They are legitimate breeders that are so passionate with their job in selecting their genetics that they go through thousands of seeds by growing them with partner farms and then go “pheno hunting” for the best attributes and the winners are then bred to produce seeds from that perfect plant. Well, there’s much more to it than that, but that’s it in a hemp shell… get it, hemp shell! All jokes aside, the breeders are helping build that catalog of strains that we fall in love with. I’m sure you have a Blue Dream story…. the one that got away, right? Here’s a video that details the ‘pheno hunt’. Here’s the link to the video

Meet a Terpene dealer, yes really!

We found Karen Ford, an industry expert and knowledable representative from a botanical Terpene company that sources and distills Terpenes and supplies them for the Cannabis industry. Karen represents Flora Flav, a Terpene company that takes the finest quality botanicals and distills them with a very detailed process of presses and steam distillation. The facility is huge and so is the equipment, this quite the process. Karen explains it this way, “the advantage of natural botanical terpenes (outside of the obvious reason being that it’s natural) is having access to more affordable Terpenes that can be added to Cannabis products. The Terpenes are the same as what is found in Cannabis; Linalool is Linalool regardless of the source. The savings gained using these Terpenes is generally passed on to the consumer. It’s difficult for most companies to always reply on using real Cannabis Terpenes because they are more expensive to extract and are limited by the quantity of flower to extract it all from”.

Flora Flav offers individual Terpenes as well as pre formulated blends that are intended to mimic the same Terpene profiles as many of today and yesterday’s Cannabis strains you find in dispensaries today. It seems to us that the Terpene business is booming with so many Cannabis products today being created. These Terpenes are used in more than just concentrates or vapes, but in edibles, topicals and skincare. Karen is one hell of a terpy woman and she knows the industry better than most out there.  Business and product companies that are interested in finding out more about Flora Flav and learning more about their Terpene catalog, email Karen here.

Ever notice as your Cannabis ages, the smell starts to vanish?

Ultimately, this is why you want to store your Cannabis in a dark, tightly sealed container so that the light doesn’t degrade the Cannabis flower and the terpenes also stay in the container longer. There are some great products that are designed to help you store your buds and preserve your Terpenes. We recommend checking out C-Vault stainless steel containers. They are air tight, unbreakable, provide complete darkness and they hold the preferred two-way humidity control pack within the lid that keeps your buds at an optimum humidity. We love our C-Vaults! We’ve been using them for years from the personal size all the way to the multi-gallon size for big harvests. They also serve well for curing your Cannabis. Here’s the thing, every time you open your Cannabis stash container, out goes the terps! So keep em sealed tight and they will reward you with flavor and effects.

Strain Wheel with Terpenes is a good example of how complex Cannabis is!

Thanks to Greenhouse Seed Co. for the graphic below that details their strain catalog and Terpenes in each:


Explore the wonderful world of Cannabis and Terpenes for yourself!

Never stop trying new strains and finding new adventures to experience with Cannabis. This is what it means to be Cannapolitan! Never stop exploring and loving your Cannabis and sharing it with others, it’s part of our heritage as Cannapolitans that we carry the plant and the people forward for a more beautiful and satisfying life. Need help learning what makes Cannabis great? Check out our feature here.

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