A Comprehensive Guide to The Characteristics and Benefits of the Most Common Cannabis Terpenes

That crystalline shimmer, sticky texture, and indulgent fragrance of your favorite cannabis strains are all products of terpenes. These organic compounds are found in all plant life and result in a wide range of unique aromas and flavors. From sweet fruits, fresh florals, and earthy spices, terpenes can do it all. 

There are over 200 terpene varieties found in the cannabis plant. Individual cannabis strains that have their own distinctive flavors and scents are a result of their unique terpene profiles. Many scientific studies into cannabis terpenes have concluded that these essential oils go far beyond simply determining the plant’s flavor palette. Much like THC and CBD (cannabinoids) have different influences on your body and mind, various terpene compounds can provide diverse effects and benefits to medical cannabis users. 

The Abide cannabis sommeliers have expert knowledge on a large variety of terpene profiles. Every day we proudly provide our patients with insight on how to best utilize specific terpene and cannabinoid combinations to help manage various conditions. In this guide, we will look at the six most common cannabis terpenes, their defining characteristics, and the therapeutic benefits they can provide cannabis-based medicine users.

1. Myrcene Terpene

Myrcene is the most common terpene found in modern commercial cannabis products. While individual strains can produce many different types of terpenes, myrcene is found in over 20% of cannabis terpene profiles on average. Because myrcene is so abundant in medical cannabis it is known in the industry as the “Mother of all Terpenes”.

The Aroma of Myrcene Terpenes

The myrcene compound produces an earthy, herbal aroma, with subtle hints of various spices.

Other Plants That Produce Myrcene Terpenes

Many plants produce differing amounts of the myrcene terpene including bay leaves, lemongrass, and the thyme plant.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Myrcene Terpenes

For centuries, organic plants containing high amounts of myrcene terpenes have been used as a sleep aid in many traditional medicine practices. Research into other potential benefits of myrcene and THC include:

  • Anti-anxiety
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • General relaxation
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Pain reduction
  • Stress relief

2. Limonene Terpene

Limonene is one of the most aromatic terpenes, making its trademark citrusy scent an easy identifier. But because the aroma of limonene is so strong, many cannabis strains that smell citrusy may actually have other more dominant terpenes that are harder to detect by smell alone.

The Aroma of Limonene Terpenes

Limonene terpenes give off a signature aroma of citrus with undertones of various other fruits. The limonene compound can even produce hints of mint and other sharp flavored spices. 

Other Plants That Produce Limonene Terpenes

Citrus fruit rinds like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, contain high amounts of limonene terpenes. It can also be found in the terpene profiles of juniper, peppermint, and rosemary.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Limonene Terpenes

Plants that produce limonene terpenes typically rely on the aromatic oil as a natural insecticide to repel pests and predators. Studies focussing on the combination of limonene and cannabinoids describe other potential benefits as:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antidepressant
  • Antifungal
  • Mood elevation
  • Stress relief

3. Pinene Terpene

The Pinene molecule is one of the most widely researched and documented terpenes found in the cannabis flower. It is available in two varieties referred to as Alpha-pinene (α-pinene) and Beta-pinene (β-pinene). The alpha variety is more common in the terpene profiles of cannabis strains, while the beta-pinene is present in smaller amounts, and more likely to be found in other plant life.

The Aroma of Pinene Terpenes

As the name would suggest, the pinene terpenes have a very pine tree-like fragrance, similar to Christmas trees. The aroma is also commonly described as earthy, yet very refreshing – much like a Northern California forest.

Other Plants That Produce Pinene Terpenes

Pinene is the most common occurring terpene in all other natural plant life on Earth. This compound is found in almost every Evergreen tree, basil, orange peels, parsley, and hundreds more.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Pinene Terpenes

Pinene is often used as an effective ingredient in topical antiseptic ointments. Research suggests that the pinene terpene is also beneficial for patients struggling with inflammatory diseases such as fibromyalgia or arthritis. Other potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis contain high amounts of the pinene compound include:

  • Improved focus
  • Energy-boosting
  • Bronchodilator (aids in increasing airflow to your lungs) 
  • Pain Reduction
  • Stress relief

4. Linalool Terpenes

Hundreds of plants naturally produce linalool due to the high number of benefits it can provide throughout their growth cycles. When this compound is mixed with cannabinoids like THC, it can offer many cannabis patients similar therapeutic effects.   

The Aroma of Linalool Terpenes Linalool Terpenes

Linalool is notorious for its lavender-like aroma, and other floral-like scents. It has hints of sweet citrus and subtle notes of spiciness as well. 

Other Plants That Produce Linalool Terpenes

The scent of the lavender flower is a primarily result of the linalool terpene. Other plants that naturally produce this essential oil include birchwood, coriander, and even most tomato varieties.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Linalool Terpenes

Linalool has a multitude of potential medicinal uses. Scientific studies on lab mice have even found a promising link between the therapeutic use of linalool and the management of Alzheimer’s disease. As research continues, other studies indicate the linalool terpene compound combined with cannabinoids may also aid in: 

  • Anti-anxiety
  • Antidepressant
  • Anti-microbial properties
  • Antiepileptic (used to treat epilepsy, and reduce seizures) 
  • Immune support (especially to stress)
  • Muscle-relaxing
  • Pain relief
  • Stress relief

5. Humulene Terpenes

Humulene is another common terpene found in many cannabis profiles as well as other very well-known crops. The distinctive smell and bitter flavor of beer hops is a product of the humulene terpenoid. 

The Aroma of Humulene Terpenes

The aroma of the humulene terpene is most often described as an earthy musk, with hints of herbally spices.  

Other Plants That Produce Humulene Terpenes

Hop plants produce large amounts of the humulene terpene, but it is also commonly found in a number of other plants including balsam fir wood, black pepper, and ginger root.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Humulene Terpenes

Ancient Chinese apothecaries utilized plants with high amounts of humulene as a natural antibiotic and energy stimulant. Today, ongoing research into the humulene terpene and cannabis use suggest multiple other benefits including: 

  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Appetite-suppressant
  • Energy-boosting
  • Pharmacokinetic (Aids in absorbing, distributing, metabolizing, and excreting drugs)
  • Seasonal allergy relief

6. Terpinolene Terpene

The terpinolene terpene can easily be referred to as the “least-common common terpene” found in the cannabis flower. Many cannabis strains incorporate terpinolene in their terpene profiles, but it is typically in small amounts. 

The Aroma of Terpinolene Terpenes

Terpinolene has a fresh floral aroma, with hints of allspice and citrus.

Other Plants That Produce Terpinolene Terpenes

You can find terpinolene in the terpene profiles of lilacs flowers, apples, cumin, sage leaves, tea trees, and many other plants.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Terpinolene Terpenes

Terpinolene has been used in many medicinal practices to soothe your central nervous system and provide a calming effect. Research also indicates the terpinolene terpene and THC may offer other benefits such as:

  • Antifungal
  • Antibacterial
  • Antioxidant
  • Sleep aid 
  • Stress relief

Learn More About the Benefits of Terpenes and Medical Cannabis From the Experts at Abide Dispensary

At Abide, our goal is to help all our patients find relief through medical cannabis. Our cannabis sommeliers can provide personalized recommendations on specific strains containing various terpene and cannabinoid combinations to suit your individual needs.

Visit our new cannabis dispensary in downtown Napa to meet with our expert team, and allow us to guide you through our selection of high-quality medical cannabis. Or order your favorite strains online for curbside pick-up or same-day local delivery!