The Most Comprehensive Guide to Cannabis Terpenes on the Internet
If you follow pot or cannabis culture at all, you’ve probably heard something about terpenes. It seems to be the buzzword bandied about by budtenders, cannasseurs, cronisseurs, ganjiers, and weed brands everywhere.
But what are terpenes? Are they the same thing as terpenoids? What is the purpose of terpenes? What do terpenes do?
Basically speaking, terpenes are aromatic compounds that give cannabis, and all sorts of other plants, (and even animals!) their smell and taste. When you smell lavender in your essential oil, or rosemary in your fresh baked bread, or when that citrusy scent pierces your nose when you peel an orange, you’re smelling terpenes. Product manufacturers have been using terpenes for centuries in perfumes, bath and body products, cosmetics, insecticides, and even foods.
No New Thing:
Though terpenes may seem to be the hot new buzzword in cannabis communities, terpenes are nothing new. The term was first coined by German chemist August Kekule in 1866, and, although cannabis research is in many ways still in its infancy, terpenes, their uses, and effects have been studied for well over 100 years.
The Function of Terpenes:
Terpenes serve many functions in the various plants that produce them. Plants use terpenes not only to attract pollinators, but also to ward off predators who would eat them, as well as diseases, bacteria, molds, fungusses, and other infectious germs. Terpenes also aid plants in healing, and recovering from damage. Terpenes may also serve a function in plant to plant communication, too.
Knowing that terpenes serve so many functions in plant immunity and health, is there any wonder they have been used by humans medicinally in essential oils, tinctures, and aromatherapy for thousands of years?
Terpenes and Cannabis:
Cannabis is, and always has been, a medicine. Herb is not only smoked or vaped, but also has been commonly used in tinctures and topical treatments.
One of the reasons cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years is that cannabis plants are terpene factories. Besides producing over 100 cannabinoids, cannabis plants produce around 120 different terpenes, (that we know of so far). Modern cannabis medical research is still in its infancy, but there are already studies that show the beneficial effects of several cannabis terpenes, especially in concert with the cannabinoids cannabis produces. This is known as the entourage effect.
When choosing a strain of cannabis, it might be wiser to look at its terpene profile than how much THC or CBD it contains. Many of the effects of cannabis can be attributed to the terpenes they produce.
The Difference Between Terpenes and Terpenoids:
Many people use the terms terpene and terpenoid interchangeably, but they are different. A terpene is transformed into a terpinoid through oxidation, where the molecule is changed through the addition of oxygen atoms. This can happen during the cannabis drying and cannabis curing processes, as well as by decarboxylation, and by burning or vaporizing cannabis flowers or concentrates.
Common cannabis terpenes:
Although cannabis produces well over 100 different terpenes, the following are the 17 most common terpenes that various cannabis strains produce in abundance:
- Delta 3 Carene
Here’s the breakdown on what we currently know about each of these prominent cannabis terpenes. For each terpene we cover the description of their scent, the most common things they’re used for both in industry and therapeutically, alternative names for each terpene, other sources in nature for each terpene, and several cannabis strains that produce each terpene. We also cover the boiling/vaporizing point for each terpene. It’s important to know that if you’re vaping terpenes in their concentrated forms that some terpenes can become toxic when burned, so reduce your vape temperatures accordingly.
Sweet, fruity, nutty
Anti inflammatory, Anti irritant, antimicrobial, antioxidant, pain relief, stress relief, skin repair
Other Names for Bisabolol:
Boiling/vaporization point of Bisabolol:
307.4 Degrees Fahrenheit / 153 Degrees Celsius
Other sources of Bisabolol:
Bark of the candeia tree, chamomile
Cannabis strains containing Bisabolol:
ACDC, Headband, Master Kush, Pink Kush, Rockstar
Bisabolol is commonly used in many cosmetics and fragrances for its light floral scent. It is a primary constituent in chamomile flowers. It’s been used for centuries in skin preparations because it reduces inflammation in the skin, reduces wrinkles and skin toughness, and repairs sun damage. In recent years it has been combined with Tretinoin, a form of retinoic acid, as a treatment for acne. Bisabolol is also useful in topical treatments because it has been found to aid in absorption of other compounds beneath the skin.
Minty, spicy, pine, woody, balsam, camphor, menthol
Analgesic, anesthetic, anticoagulant, antioxidant, circulatory aid, digestive aid, fever reducer, insect repellent, neuroprotective, respiratory aid
Other Names for Borneol:
Delta Borneol, Iota Borneol, Borneo Camphor
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Borneol:
415 Degrees Fahrenheit / 213 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Borneol:
Camphor, ginger, rosemary, thyme
Cannabis Strains Containing Borneol:
Amnesia Haze, Golden Haze, OG Kush, Platinum Jack, Tahoe Cookies
Borneol has been part of the Chinese pharmacopoeia for thousands of years. It was used in Chinese medicine to treat respiratory illnesses. In modern times Borneol has been shown to have a whole plethora of therapeutic uses, from a digestive aid, to improving blood circulation, as an anticoagulant for stroke patients, and as topical pain reliever. Borneol is used in concert with cancer drugs to aid in their absorption, and enhance their cancer killing effects. Borneol is also a key ingredient in many natural insect repellents.
Sweet, pungent, earthy, woody, pine, cedar
Alzheimer’s treatment, anti inflammatory, sedative
Other Names for Carene:
Delta 3 Carene
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Carene:
338 Degrees Fahrenheit / 170 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Carene:
Cedar, lemons, mangoes, pine, rosemary
Cannabis Strains Containing Carene:
AK47, Jack Herer, Skunk No 1, Super Lemon Haze, Super Silver Haze
Besides being used in perfumes, cosmetics, and as a food additive for flavoring, medical studies have been done on Carene for decades. It has been shown to reduce inflammation, relieving chronic pain, and may contribute to bone health, and it has shown some promise in treating Alzheimer’s Disease.
Pepper, wood, spice
Anticancer, anti inflammatory, gastric protective, muscle relaxant, pain relief, stress relief, sleep aid, wound repair
Other Names for Caryophyllene:
Beta Caryophyllene, BCP,
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Caryophyllene:
266 Degrees Fahrenheit / 130 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Caryophyllene:
Basil, black caraway, black pepper, cloves, hops, lavender, oregano, rosemary
Cannabis Strains Containing Caryophyllene:
Bubba Kush, Death Star, Girl Scout Cookies, Permafrost, White Widow
Caryophyllene is one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis. So much so, that hashish sniffing dogs are usually trained on Caryophyllene. Carryophyllene can act like a cannabinoid. Like both THC and CBD, it bonds to the CB2 receptor in the body, working as a pain reliever. Caryophyllene is also used as a food additive for flavoring, and rated GRAS, (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FDA. Caryophyllene enhances cold tolerance in the body.
Camphor, eucalyptus, minty, spicy
Alzheimer’s treatment, anti inflammatory, bronchodilator, calming, circulation, cough suppressant, insecticide, insect repellent, mood boosting, pain relief, stress relief
Other Names for Eucalyptol:
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Eucalyptol:
349 Degrees Fahrenheit / 176 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Eucalyptol:
Bay laurel, butterfly lilly, eucalyptus
Cannabis Strains Containing Eucalyptol:
ACDC, Bubba Kush, Chemdawg, Girl Scout Cookies, Headband, Super Silver Haze
Eucalyptol makes up 90% of eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptol has been widely used as a flavoring additive in everything from beverages to baked goods to candies, to mouthwash – even meat and cigarettes. Of course, it’s been heavily used in perfumes and cosmetics as well. It’s long been used as a common cough suppressant. Even though it’s used as both an insect repellent and an insecticide, certain species of bees are actually attracted to Eucalyptol.
Floral, fruity, rosy, sweet, waxy
Antibacterial, anticancer, antifungal, antioxidant, insect repellent
Other Names for Geraniol:
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Geraniol:
446 Degrees Fahrenheit / 230 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Geraniol:
Citronella, honey bees, geraniums, lemons
Cannabis Strains Containing Geraniol:
Afghani, Amnesia Haze, Headband, Master Kush
Geraniol is the primary component of citronella oil, and one of the main components of both rose oil and palmarosa oil. Besides being heavily used in perfumes, Geraniol is also a component of several fruit flavorings, including, blueberry, grapefruit, lime, lemon, orange, peach, pineapple, plum, raspberry, red apple, and watermelon. Bees produce it in their scent bearing glands to mark flowers and the entrances to their hives. It is used as an insect repellent, especially to repel mosquitos.
Rose, pine, wood
Antianxiety, antibacterial, anti inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antisyphilitic, insect repellent, menstruation regulation, tumor reduction
Other Names for Guaiol:
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Guaiol:
197.6 Degrees Fahrenheit / 92 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Guaiol:
Cypress pine, guiacum
Cannabis Strains Containing Guaiol:
Agent Orange, ACDC, Blackberry, Chernobyl, Cinex, Fruit Loops, Golden Pineapple, Jillybean, Pennywise, Plushberry
Guaiol has been used in natural medicines for centuries. In the 18th century Spaniards used Guaiol derived from Caribbean evergreens to treat Syphilis, and to regulate menstruation. Guaiol is also used as an insect repellent. In more recent medical studies Guaiol has been shown to have both antiparasitic and antioxidant properties, as well as reducing tumors, aiding in chemotherapy. Guaiol has also been shown to have antibacterial properties, and Guaiol is effective in reducing anxiety.
Earthy, hoppy, woody
Antibacterial, anticancer, anti inflammatory, appetite suppressant, insect repellent, pain reliever
Other Names for Humulene:
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Humulene:
222.8 Degrees Fahrenheit / 106 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Humulene:
Basil, black pepper, Chinese Laurel, clove, ginger, ginseng, hops, Japanese spicebush, marsh elder, pine trees, sage, sunflowers, tobacco, Vietnamese coriander
Cannabis Strains Containing Humulene:
Girls Scout Cookies, Gorilla Glue, OG Kush, Permafrost, Sour Diesel, White Widow
Humulene is a terpene prominent in plants on every continent on the planet. It is the terpene that gives both Hops and Cannabis Sativa their distinctive aromas. Humulene is being studied for its anti-inflammatory effects. Humulene has been useful as an effective insect repellent, particularly against Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that carries Yellow Fever.
Citrus, floral, spice, sweet
Anti anxiety, anticancer, anticonvulsant, antidepressant, anti-epileptic, antifungal, anti inflammatory, antimicrobial, pain reliever, sedative, sleep aid
Other Names for Linalool:
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Linalool:
388 Degrees Fahrenheit / 198 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Linalool:
Basil, bay laurel, bergamot, birch, cinnamon, citrus fruits, coriander, jasmine, lavender, mugwort, orange flowers, roses, rosewood,
Cannabis Strains Containing Linalool:
Amnesia Haze, Blueberry, L.A. Confidential, Lavender Kush, Master Kush, Pink Kush, Skywalker OG
Because of Linalool’s pleasant sweet floral scent, it is a very popular ingredient in many flavorings, as well as lotions, soaps, detergents, and perfumes. Linalool is also used in natural cleaning products. Linalool is used in mosquito repellents, and, in high concentrations, Linalool is used as an insecticide against flies, fleas, roaches, and codling moths. Linalool is a very potent antifungal used to treat Candida, the fungus responsible for yeast infections. The FDA lists Linalool as GRAS, (generally regarded as safe). Linalool is also used to reduce inflammation and its associated pain. Linalool shows promise in stopping convulsions, and is an effective sedative and anti anxiety medication.
Citrus, lemon, orange
Antianxiety, anticancer, antidepressant, antidiabetic, antifungal, appetite reducer, biofuel, cleaning product, gastro protective, insecticide, mood booster, nausea relief, solvent, stress relief, pain relief
Other Names for Limonene:
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Limonene:
349 Degrees Fahrenheit / 176 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Limonene:
Aspen trees, caraway, cottonwood trees, dill, fir trees, grapefruits, oranges, hemlock, juniper, larch, lemons, limes, red maple trees, silver maple trees, pine trees
Cannabis Strains Containing Limonene:
Berry White, Banana OG, Bruce Banner, Durban Poison, Jack Herer, Jack the Ripper, Lemon Diesel, Liberty Jack, OG Kush, Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, Trainwreck
Limonene is one of the most widely used terpenes with an insanely broad range of applications. Although it is a potent cleaning agent, solvent, herbicide and pesticide, it is considered completely safe for human consumption, and is not only used as a flavoring in many foods, but also taken as a dietary supplement. Limonene has been shown to protect human tissues in the liver, cardiovascular system, and the gastrointestinal tract, Limonene appears to modulate the behavior of immune celis, and may be protective against a wide range of disorders. Limonene is also a potent antioxidant, and displays both anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Due to its pleasant aroma and non toxicity, Limonene is a highly popular fragrance in bath products, soaps, lotions, and perfumes. Limonene is also highly flammable in its pure form, and has been considered for use as a biofuel.
Balsam, citrus, clove, earthy, herbal, musk, pepper
Antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, pain reliever, sedative, sleep aid
Other Names for Myrcene:
Boiling / Vaporization Point of Myrcene:
332 Degrees Fahrenheit / 167 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Myrcene:
Bay, cardamom, hops, lemongrass, mangos, thyme, verbena
Cannabis Strains Containing Myrcene:
Blue Dream, Cannatonic, Death Star, Grape Ape, Granddaddy Purple, Harlequin, Jillybean, Northern Lights, OG Kush, Tamgie, White Rhino
Myrcene is one of the two most common terpenes found in cannabis, and thought to be the most common in modern North American cultivars. Like other terpenes, it’s used heavily in perfumes, but not directly. Myrcene is unstable in air, but is chemically manipulated to be used as an intermediary in forming several other terpenes like Citral, Citronellal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Menthol, Nerol, and Myrcenol. In the body Myrcene can be used as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and a pain killer. Exposure to light can convert Myrcene into Hashishene, commonly found in hashish, which is, of course, how the terpene got its name.
Fresh bark, woody
Anticancer, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, cleaning products, cosmetics, detergents, flavorings, perfumes, topicals, transdermal
Other Names for Nerolidol:
Boiling / Vaporization Point:
252 Degrees Fahrenheit / 124 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Nerolidol:
Ginger, jasmine , lavender, lemongrass, neroli, tea tree
Cannabis Strains Containing Nerolidol:
Afghani Moon, GG4, Island Sweet Skunk, Jack Herer, Shiskaberry, Skywalker OG, White Fire
Like other terpenes, Nerolidol is used for fragrance in perfumes and cosmetics. Nerolidol is also used on cleaning products and detergents. Nerolodiol shows great promise in medicine because its hydrophobic qualities give it the ability to penetrate both the skin and cellular membranes, so its use as a transdermal agent and to aid in getting other therapeutic drugs into cells is being explored by the medical community.
Citrus, floral, fruity, herbal, mango, sweet
Antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, mood booster, pain reliever, THC enhancer
Other Names for Ocimene:
Alpha Ocimene, Beta Ocimene
Boiling / Vaporization Point:
122 Degrees Fahrenheit / 50 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Ocimene:
Basil, mango, mint, orchids, parsley, tarragon
Cannabis Strains Containing Ocimene:
Blue Dream, Granddaddy Purple, Himalayan Gold, Lemon Diesel, OG Kush, Strawberry Cough
Ocimene is used by the plants that produce it to fight funguses and viruses, and shows promise to do the same in people. Ocimene enhances the effects of THC in the body, enhances mood, and relieves pain.
Herbal, sharp sweet pine
Alertness, antianxiety, antibacterial, anticancer, antidiabetic, anti inflammatory, biofuel, bronchodilator, creativity enhancer, insect repellant, memory retention, nausea reliever, sedative, solvent, stress reliever
Other Names for Pinene:
Alpha Pinene, Beta Pinene
Boiling / Vaporization Point:
311 Degrees Fahrenheit / 155 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Pinene:
Basil, big sagebrush, camphorweed, eucalyptus, fir trees, makrut limes, rosemary, sage, pine trees, pine nuts
Cannabis Strains Containing Pinene:
Blue Dream, Jack Herer, OG Kush, Permafrost, Strawberry Cough, Trainwreck, White Widow
Pinene is the most abundant terpene in nature, probably because it is such an effective insect repellent, and many plants depend on its protection. Pinene is a common ingredient in many commercial insect repellents. Pinene also is a bronchodilator, and when breathed in, it not only opens us the lungs, but also has antiviral and anti inflammatory effects, which may be why the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, or forest bathing, where one strolls through the forest breathing in the air, might be so efficacious for good health. Pinene is the primary component in turpentine, and is used as both a solvent and biofuel.
Clove, lilac, pine
Antibiotic, anticancer, anticonvulsant, antihypertensive, anti inflammatory, antioxidant, antiulcer, brain function enhancer, food additive, insecticide, opioid addiction attenuator, opioid withdrawal reducer, sedative, stress reliever, transdermal
Other Names for Terpineol:
Boiling / Vaporization Point:
417 Degrees Fahrenheit / 214 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Terpineol:
Lapsang souchong tea, skullcap, tea tree oil
Cannabis Strains Containing Terpineol:
Girl Scout Cookies, Jack Herer, OG Kush, White Widow, OG Kush
Terpineol is a widely used food additive in baked goods, condiments, dairy products, and gum to the tune of roughly 9.2 tons per year. Terpineol has been shown to enhance brain function, fight ulcers, as a treatment for hypertension, and as both a stress reliever and sedative. Terpineol is an effective anticonvulsant, and has shown great promise in reducing opioid addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
Citrus, herbal, lemon, pine, sweet, woody
Antianxiety, antibacterial, anticancer, antioxidant, food additive, insect repellent, sedative, sleep aid
Other Names for Terpinolene:
Boiling / Vaporization Point:
366 Degrees Fahrenheit / 186 Degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Terpinolene:
Apples, cardamom, coriander, cumin, oregano, tarragon, tea tree oil
Cannabis Strains Containing Terpinolene:
Critical Kush, Ghost Train Haze, Jack Herer, Orange Cookies, Purple Haze, Super Lemon Haze
Just like other terpenes, Terpinolene is used as a flavoring in foods, and as an insect repellent. Terpinolene also has antioxidant and anticancer properties. Terpinolene is known to have a calming effect, and is useful as an anti anxiety medication, sedative, and sleep aid.
Citrus, grapefruit, herbal, sweet, woody
Anti allergy, antifungal, anti inflammatory, antioxidant, cleaning products, cosmetics, energy booster, food additive, insecticide, insect repellent, skin repair
Other Names for Valencene:
Boiling / Vaporization Point:
253 Degrees Fahrenheit / 123 degrees Celsius
Other Sources of Valencene:
Grapefruits, nectarines, mangoes, tangerines, Valencia oranges
Cannabis Strains Containing Valencene:
Agent Orange, ACDC, Girl Scout Cookies, Lemon Skunk, Tangie, Mother of Dragons, Rainbow
Valencene is used in cosmetics, as a food additive, and is a common insect repellent and insecticide used in many commercially available mosquito and tick repellents. Valencine works as an anti allergy medication. As a topical, Valencene has been shown to be effective against itching, dermatitis, and sun damage. Valencene shows great promise in enhancing the efficacy of certain chemotherapy drugs.
Terpenes have been used by mankind for centuries, both in and out of cannabis. We hope this comprehensive guide to terpenes is useful to you.
If you want to learn more about Cannabis Terpenes, Cannabis History, and cannabis usage on a fun filled day in beautiful Northern California’s Emerald Triangle, visit The Mendocino Experience website, and book a cannabis tour with us.