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Terpenes 101

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes account for approximately 20,000 plant compounds most-responsible for taste, smell, and other sensations users experience from consuming various fruits, vegetables, herbs, and oils.

Beyond cannabis-hemp, terpenes are key components of teas, essential oils, beer, spices, many fruits and vegetables, and more.

There are as many as 200 terpenes found in cannabis, combined uniquely in each strain to produce a one-of-a-kind profile of scent, flavor, and sensation.

Terpenes 101

Why do we care about terpenes?

While cannabinoids give hemp strains their broad affect, terpenes are critical in adding the exclamation marks of aroma, taste, and feel that truly make each users’ favorite strain the most enjoyable one.

In addition to flavor-enhancement, various terpenes both in and not in cannabis have been shown to carry their own therapeutic effects. Pre-modern civilizations indiscriminant of time or place have relied heavily on the analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and calming effects of various terpenes across countless essential oils, teas, and spices, for both treatments and wellness among their citizenry.

Some terpenes – such as Caryophyllene – even work specifically to enhance the effects of cannabinoids in the body.

Understanding terpenes is critical for producing the best hemp and hemp products.

Terpenes 101

List of Terpenes

As many as 200 terpenes are found across all known varieties of cannabis, existing at unique levels in every single strain.

Secondary Terpenes*

  • Nerolidol
  • Borneol
  • Phytol
  • Eucalyptol
  • Sabinene
  • Valencene
  • Geraniol
  • Camphene
  • Bisabolol
  • Terpinolene

*There is no offical designation for primary vs secondary terpenes. Our six ‘primary’ terpenes appear consistently in most cannabis-related literature, with ‘secondary’ terpenes garnering occasional mention. This is not an exhaustive list of the nearly 200 in cannabis that we know.*

Quick Aside

Cannabinoids vs Terpenes

If cannabinoids are the primary chemical compounds that create the novel effects of cannabis most users know and seek, then terpenes are the flair that add alluring scents and flavors, richly varied and layered to create an original user sensation for every unique strain.

From a connoisseur’s perspective one could say, “Come for the cannabinoids, stay for the terpenes.”

Unlike major cannabinoids which distinctly come from cannabis, terpenes are present in all plants and generally serve the biological purpose of luring pollinators and fruit-eating fauna to help spread plant seeds. They also help fortify their sources against dangerous disease and pests.

These biological functions in plants and terpenes’ natural presence in essential oils, spices, and fruit have made them long-accepted by human groups as having various sensational and therapeutic benefits.

So really from the perspective of natural history it could be said, “We came for the terpenes and stayed for the cannabinoids.”


Hemp 101

Further Reading

How The Endocannabinoid System Works

How The Endocannabinoid System Works

Just as humans have spent recent decades automating our own buildings to maintain comfortable and productive indoor states – millions of years of evolution have worked on the biological structures of our ancestors and our animal cousins alike to produce a system of sub-conscious mechanisms our bodies use to maintain homeostasis – a balanced state where our tissues and enzymes can optimally function. We call this balance-seeking symphony of receptors and enzymes the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).