The cannabis plant consists of a wide variety of chemicals and compounds. About 140 of these belong to a large class of aromatic organic hydrocarbons known as terpenes (pronounced tur-peens). You may have also heard people talk about terpenoids. The words terpene and terpenoid are increasingly used interchangeably, although these terms do have different meanings. The main difference between terpenes and terpenoids is that terpenes are hydrocarbons (meaning the only elements present are carbon and hydrogen); whereas, terpenoids have been denatured by oxidation (drying and curing the flowers) or chemically modified.
Terpenes are common constituents of flavorings and fragrances. Terpenes, unlike cannabinoids, are responsible for the aroma of cannabis. Not unlike other strong-smelling plants and flowers, the development of terpenes in cannabis began for adaptive purposes: to repel predators and lure pollinators. There are many factors that influence a plant’s development of terpenes, including climate, weather, age and maturation, fertilizers, soil type, and even the time of day. Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, and every strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition.
The most common Terpenes are:
Alpha-Pinene/Beta-Pinene that has the aroma of Pine and the effects of alertness, memory retention and can counteracts effects of THC.
Myrcene that has earthy, clove with a hint of citrus aroma, and has the effect of an anti-oxidant, inflammation, pain, depression and sleeplessness.
Limonene that has a citrus aroma that is used as an anti-fungal, antibacterial, mood-enhancer, and helps with heartburn and depression.
Borneol has an earthy aroma that is used as an analgesic, anti-insomnia, anti-septic, and bronchodilator.
Caryophyllene has a woodsy, pepper and spicy aroma and is a anti-inflammatory and used for autoimmune disorders and other gastrointestinal complications.
Linalool has a floral aroma and is used as a anti-anxiety, anti-depresant and anti-acne.
Pinene has distinctive aromas of pine and fir, commonly used as a anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic.
Terpinolene is known to have a piney aroma with slight herbal and floral nuances. It tends to have a sweet flavor reminiscent of citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Often used as a natural sedative, anti-anxiety and sleep aide.
Camphene has a strong arome of damp woodlands and fir needles. Often used to help with heart disease, liver disease and muscle inflammation.
Terpineol has an aroma of lilacs and flower blossoms. It is a anti-biotic, anti-oxidant, and has a calming, relaxing effect.
Phellandrene is described as pepperminty, with a slight scent of citrus, used to treat fungal infections and skin imperfections.
Carene has a sweet aroma and is often used to dry out bodily fluids (mucus, sweat, oil), and probably one of the less desired terpenes, this is what causes your eyes to itch and your throat to dry out when smoking cannabis.
Pulegone has a peppermint aroma and often is used as a sedative or to reduce fevers.
Sabinene basically smells like Christmas, it has a pine, orange and spice aroma, and is used as a natural source of new antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Geraniol produces a sweet, delightful smell similar to roses. This makes geraniol a popular choice for many bath and body products. It is also known to be an effective mosquito repellant. Medically, geraniol shows promise in the treatment of neuropathy.