Cannabis terpenes are produced in the trichomes. Trichomes are the mushroom-shaped, crystal-like resin glands that cover the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. Terpenes are volatile and evaporate easily which is why the cannabis plant is so easy to smell.
Many common terpenes found in the botanical world, like camphor and menthol, may have medicinal benefits. If you’ve ever had a cough drop, you’ve experienced the soothing properties of menthol. Though there are thousands of aroma compounds in existence, there are at least 100 terpenes that have been identified in the cannabis plant
Terpenes in Cannabis
Myrcene, which can also be found in mangoes, is the primary terpene found in cannabis plants. In fact, some plants can have up to 65 percent of their terpene profile made up by myrcene alone. The presence of myrcene often determines whether a specific strain can be considered an indica or sativa. Plants with more than 0.5 percent myrcene are said to be indica. Myrcene is responsible for giving marijuana its distinctive aroma. Myrcene has relaxing properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties. Strains that are high in myrcene are Skunk XL, White Widow, and Special Kush.
Limonene is a monocyclic monoterpenoid and one of two major compounds formed from pinene. As the name suggests, varieties high in limonene have strong citrusy smells like oranges, lemons and limes. Strains high in limonene promote a general uplift in mood and attitude. This citrusy terpene is the major constituent in citrus fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper and peppermint, as well as in several pine needle oils.
Humulene is found in abundance in its namesake Humulus lupulus, also known as common hops. It is present in ginseng, sage, cloves, and basil. It has illustrated certain antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties in varying studies, but more research is needed to understand its potential medical application in humans.
Geraniol produces a sweet, delightful smell similar to roses. This makes geraniol a popular choice for many bath and body products. It is also known to be an effective mosquito repellant. Medically, geraniol shows promise in the treatment of neuropathy.
This terpene’s name says it all, really. Pinene is found most abundantly in the pine tree and is what gives pine needles its distinctive smell. Found in two varieties, alpha, which is responsible for that wonderful pine aroma, and beta, which has a scent like rosemary, dill, or parsley. Pinene is a strong bronchodilator, but also has strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects that have been used for centuries in herbal medicines. Pinene can be found in strains like Strawberry Cough and Blue Dream.
Pinene has a fresh, pine tree fragrance. It has certain anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have shown that it could be used as a bronchodilator in some cases. Walk into a pine forest, take a deep breath and see if you notice any effects. It also has gastroprotectant abilities that may be helpful in the treatment of some gastrointestinal conditions. Pinene is most common in pine needles, rosemary, basil, and sage.
Another lesser known terpene is valencene. This terpene is recognized by its aroma often compared to that of overwhelming citrus. Strains such as Tangie and Agent Orange provide clear indicators of valencene. The name of this terpene derives from the commonly known Valencia Orange. Valencene has been praised for its antifungal and even insectifungal medical effects. Valencene will require a tad bit more research to fully understand its effects. This terpene can also be found in, that’s right, you guessed it: oranges.
The final terpene on our list is known as caryophyllene. This terpene often gives off an aroma similar to that of spice, pepper, and cloves. Caryophyllene is present in strains such as White Widow, Girl Scout Cookies, Bubba Kush, and the legendary Chemdawg. Caryophyllene has been regarded for its effects on symptoms relative to Insomnia, pain, muscle spasms is an overall antioxidant. Caryophyllene can also be found in hops, peppers, cloves, basil and oregano.