15 terpenes in cannabis explained
by: Helena Miles
Content Manager, Greencamp
As mentioned in our earlier Terpene series, there are more than 100 terpenes in
just one cannabis flower. Here are some of the most well known terpenes right
now, most of which you’ll find in legal cannabis products in your area.
Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, which is where it’s mostly found
in nature. In fact, one study showed that myrcene makes up as much as 65% of
total terpene profile in some strains.Myrcene smell often reminds of earthy, musky notes, resembling cloves. Also, it has
a fruity, red grape-like aroma.
Strains that contain 0.5% of this terpene are usually indicas with sedative effects. It
has also been reported that myrcene is useful in reducing inflammation and chronic
pain, which is why it’s usually recommended as a supplement during cancer
Strains that are rich in myrcene are Skunk XL, White Widow, and Special Kush.
Bonus tip: If you want to experience a stronger buzz from marijuana, get yourself a
mango and eat it about 45 minutes before smoking.
Mango contains significant amount of myrcene, so eating it before consuming
cannabis will strengthen the effects of THC and increase its absorption rate
Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in all cannabis strains, but not all
strains necessarily have it.
As its name says, limonene gives strains a citrusy smell that resembles lemons,
which is no surprise as all citrus fruits contain large amounts of this compound.
Limonene is used in cosmetics and also in cleaning products.
For therapeutic purposes, limonene is known to improve mood and reduce stress.
Researchers also found it to have antifungal and antibacterial properties and one
research even found it to have a role in reducing tumor size.
Strains that have “lemon” or “sour” in their name are usually rich in limonene.
High levels of limonene can be found in strains like O.G. Kush, Sour Diesel, Super
Lemon Haze, Durban Poison, Jack Herer, and Jack the Ripper.
This terpene is the most responsible for the recognizable marijuana smell with its
spicy and floral notes.
Linalool is also found in lavender, mint, cinnamon and coriander. What’s interesting
is that just like those aromatic herbs, it has very strong sedative and relaxing
Patients suffering from arthritis, depression, seizures, insomnia and even cancer,
have all found aid in this amazing terpene.
Some well known linalool strains are Amnesia Haze, Special Kush, Lavender, LA
Confidential, and OG Shark.
Best known for its spicy and peppery note, caryophyllene is also found in black
pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and spices like oregano, basil and rosemary.
Beta-caryophyllene binds to CB2 receptors, which makes it an ingredient in
anti-inflammatory topicals and creams. Caryophyllene is the only terpene that binds
to cannabinoid receptors.
Besides its analgesic and anti-anxiety properties, some studies have found that
caryophyllene has some very promising properties when it comes to alcoholism
A group of scientists performed research on mice and found that this terpene
reduces voluntary intake of alcohol. They even recommended caryophyllene for
treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
You can benefit from caryophyllene by using strains like Super Silver Haze,
Skywalker and Rock Star.
Alpha-pinene and Beta-pineneThese two terpenes smell like pine trees and that’s also where they can be found in
large amounts. Other plants rich in pinene include rosemary, orange peels, basil,
parsley and cannabis of course.
Like many other, pinene terpenes have an anti-inflammatory effect on humans.
But more importantly, they help improve airflow and respiratory functions, while
also helping to reduce memory loss related to THC. I know that this can sound
weird because we’re talking about cannabis, but if the strain is rich in alpha and
beta pinene, it can actually help with asthma.
Pinene also helps patients with arthritis, Crohn’s disease and cancer.
You can find pinene in strains like Jack Herer, Strawberry Cough, Blue Dream,
Island Sweet Skunk, Dutch Treat and Romulan.
Alpha-bisabolol (also known as levomenol and bisabolol) has a pleasant floral
aroma and can also be found in chamomile flower and candeia tree.
This terpene found its use primarily in the cosmetics industry, but lately it has
caught the attention of researchers since it showed medical benefits, especially in
Alpha-bisabolol proved to be effective in treating bacterial infections and wounds
and is a great antioxidant with anti-irritation and analgesic properties.
It can be found in strains like Harle-Tsu, Pink Kush, Headband, OG Shark, and
Also known as cineole, eucalyptol is the primary terpene of the eucalyptus tree. It
has recognizable minty and cool tones in its smell but most cannabis strains do not
contain large amounts of it. It usually makes up around 0.06% of a strains
complete terpene profile.
This terpene has been used in cosmetics as well as medicine. When it comes to its
medical value, eucalyptol relieves pain but also slows the growth of bacteria and
Although it is still in the early stages in research, this terpene has shown some
promising effects on Alzheimer’s as well.
Eucalyptol can be found in Super Silver Haze and Headband.
This one is a secondary terpene found mostly in flowers like jasmine, lemongrass,
and tea tree oil. The smell of trans-nerolidol reminds of a mixture of rose, citrus
and apples and can be described in general as woody, citrus and floral.
Trans-nerolidol is best known for its antiparasitic, antioxidant, antifungal,
anticancer and antimicrobial properties.
Strains like Island Jack Herer, Sweet Skunk, and Skywalker OG are rich in nerolidol.
Humulene was the first terpene found in hops. Its aroma contains earthy, woody
and spicy notes.
Besides cannabis, it can be also found in clove, sage, and black pepper.
It has a variety of medical properties. Early research has shown humulene to be
anti-proliferative, meaning it prevents cancer cells from growing. Also, it proved to
be effective in suppressing appetite, making it a potential weight loss tool.
Furthermore, like many other terpenes mentioned above, it also reduces
inflammation, relieves pain and fights bacterial infections.
You can find humulene in strains like White Widow, Headband, Girl Scout Cookies,
Sour Diesel, Pink Kush and Skywalker OG.
Delta 3 Carene
This terpene is found in a number of plants like rosemary, basil, bell peppers, cedar
and pine. Its aroma is sweet and resembles the smell of cypress tree.
When it comes to the medical side of carene, it seems to be mostly beneficial in
healing broken bones. That gives hope to patients suffering from osteoporosis,
arthritis and even fibromyalgia.
What is also interesting about this terpene is that it stimulates our memory and
helps memory retention. This is a major point in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s
The best way to describe the smell of camphene is fir needles, musky earth and
damp woodlands. Camphene aroma is often mistaken with myrcene, which is that
trademark marijuana smell as most of us know it.
From the medical point of view, camphene has great potential. When mixed with
vitamin C, it becomes a powerful antioxidant.
It is widely used in conventional medicine as a topical for skin issues like eczema
Its greatest potential lies in its ability to lower the levels of cholesterol and
triglycerides in the blood, further lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Camphene is present in Ghost OG, Strawberry Banana, Mendocino Purps.
Borneol, with its herbal minty scent, can be found in herbs like rosemary, mint and
This terpene is a good natural insect repellent which makes it great in preventing
diseases like the West Nile virus, being passed by ticks, fleas, mosquitoes etc.
One study found that borneol kills breast cancer cells. It’s also widely used in
Chinese traditional medicine, in acupuncture to be precise.
Strains high in borneol are Amnesia Haze, Golden Haze, K13 Haze.
The aroma of terpineol can be best described as floral-like, reminiscent of lilacs,
apple blossom, and a little bit citrusy. Terpineol tastes like anise and mint.
Terpineol has a pleasant scent, similar to lilac, and is a common ingredient in
perfumes, cosmetics, and flavors.
It relaxes heavily and it’s usually the one responsible for the notorious couch lock
effect. Medical benefits of terpineol also include antibiotic and antioxidant
It can be found Girl Scout Cookies, Jack Herer, and OG Kush strains.
This terpene got its name from sweet Valencia oranges — where it’s been found in
large amounts. With its sweet citrusy aromas and flavors, it’s used as an insect
Valencene can be found in strains like Tangie and Agent Orange.
Besides cannabis, geraniol can be found in lemons and tobacco. Its smell reminds
of rose grass, peaches and plums.
It’s usually used in aromatic bath products and body lotions.
Geraniol has shown a lot of potential as a neuroprotectant and antioxidant.
It’s present in strains like Amnesia Haze, Great White Shark, Afghani, Headband,
Island Sweet Skunk, OG Shark and Master Kush.
For original posting, please refer to https://cannacon.org