You probably know that we’re pretty big on terpenes, the fragrant hydrocarbons (aka “essential oils”) that give different strains of cannabis their unique qualities. And terpenes do a much more than lend their unique scents to the fresh, fragrant and premium flower we offer. As we’ve written before, they even contribute to the kind of high you experience!
In the last few years, researchers have trained their microscopes on terpenes for their powerful and unique medical qualities. So take a moment to learn a bit more about these fascinating all-natural compounds, and get to know the “Top 6.”
Top 8 Terpenes in Cannabis: Marijuana’s “Secret Ingredients”
There are a lot of terpenes in cannabis: So far, researchers have identified at least 200 of them! But only a relative handful deliver the most important medical and perceptual effects. Let’s start with the most important one: Myrcene, sometimes known as the “Mother of Terpenes.”
Myrcene is the most abundant terpene, characterized by a fruity, grapelike flavor. In addition to imparting its unique flavor and gentle sedative effects, it helps synergize the actions of other terpenes and cannabinoids, making it an important player in the cannabis plant.
Outside cannabis, myrcene shows up most notably in mangoes. Some fans report that if you consume a mango about 45 minutes before cannabis, the myrcene leads to an especially intense and long-lasting high. Fact or fiction? Find out for yourself!
Myrcene-rich strains include: Skunk XL, White Widow, and Special Kush
Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene
These closely related terpenes impart a distinctive piney and resinous aroma. It’s one reason they remind cannabis fans of their other natural sources, which include pine trees, rosemary, orange peels, and herbs like basil.
Pinene exhibits a gentle anti-inflammatory effect. Research demonstrates that inhaling cannabis rich in pinene—especially if you use a vape pen or vaporizer—can help reduce inflammatory responses like asthma in the lungs and airways.
Pinene-rich strains include: Jack Herer, Strawberry Cough, Blue Dream and Dutch Treat
This terpene has an unforgettable flavor, calling to mind black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and oregano. Caryophyllene has powerful analgesic and anti-anxiety properties. Because it has unusual molecular binding properties, it’s also a key ingredient in anti-inflammatory topicals and creams.
Caryophyllene-rich strains include: Super Silver Haze, OG Kush, and Rock Star
This distinctive-smelling terpene is also found in hops, which helps give some beers their earthy and spicy flavors. As well as having antibacterial qualities, humulene is helpful in fighting the growth of tumors as well as helping to suppress the appetite. Finally: A cure for the munchies?
Humulene-rich strains include: White Widow, Headband, Girl Scout Cookies (GSC) and Pink Kush
Limonene may be a key to medicine’s holy grail: The cure for cancer. Studies suggest that this terpene helps regulate our immune system and might also play a role in controlling the spread of certain cancers. Limonene is well-loved for its ability to impart general uplift and mood-lightening effects, and to reduce stress and anxiety.
Limonene-rich strains include: Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, Durban Poison, and Jack Herer
Perhaps the terpene most clearly associated with the stereotypical “marijuana smell,” linalool is also found in lavender. It’s known to help fight anxiety and depression, and impart sedative and relaxing sensations. What’s more, preliminary studies suggest that linalool might help reverse the cognitive impairment and memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
Linalool-rich strains include: Amnesia Haze, Special Kush, Lavender, LA Confidential, and OG Shark
Catch some better zzz’s with a terpinolene-rich strain. With an aroma reminiscent of lilacs, terpinolene helps bring on drowsiness, similar to linalool.
Terpinolene-rich strains include: Jack Herrer, Ghost Train Haze, and Dutch Treat.
Also known as cineol, eucalyptol is found in mint, rosemary, tea tree, and more. Known for its anti-asthmatic properties, its cooling aroma is great for hot days.
Eucalyptol-rich strains include: ACDC