Terpenes are organic compounds found in most of the plants in our ecosystem, including cannabis, and are the elements within these plants that determine their unique aromas. Terpenes typically emit a strong odor that protects the plant from predators, but medical marijuana growers have been able to harness this power to introduce new therapeutic benefits to their products.
Terpenes work in unique ways when combined with other compounds in medical marijuana. Using terpenes thoughtfully in combination with THC and CBD has the potential to increase the overall therapeutic benefit of medical marijuana. This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect.
Every medical marijuana user will have different preferences when it comes to the terpene profile, depending on the ailment that the patient is looking to treat. While some terpenes induce a sedative effect that can help combat insomnia, others can have uplifting effects better suited for treating anxiety or PTSD symptoms. Read below to learn about the most common terpenes found in medical marijuana and their potential therapeutic benefits.
Myrcene (MUR-seen) is the most commonly found terpene in medical marijuana. It has a classic herbal aroma and is also found in mangoes, thyme, and lemongrass.
Because of its soothing effects, strains high in myrcene are typically suited for anxiety sufferers. It also induces sedative effects, making it a favorite choice for patients seeking a natural sleep aid. Blueberry, Mimosa, and Northern Lights are all myrcene-dominant strains that can reduce anxiety and increase sleepiness.
Pinene (PIE-neen) is a terpene that is typically featured as the second or third most dominant terpene in a strain. Like myrcene, pinene is another terpene that typically induces calming effects.
Although pinene-dominant strains are rare, there are still several to watch out for if you are interested in this woodsy and piney terpene. Diamond OG, Shark Shock, and Lucid Blue are all pinene-dominant strains.
Caryophyllene (carry-OFF-uh-leen) is the terpene responsible for the powerful, pungent, and sour odor associated with strains like Birthday Cake, Sour Diesel, and GSC. It is also found in other highly-pungent spices like black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves.
Caryophyllene can act as a stress reliever — another terpene that can be useful for combating mood disorders such as anxiety. In addition to these therapeutic effects, caryophyllene has shown potential in research on mice to act as a pain-reliever and anti-inflammatory agent.
Limonene (LIM-o-neen) is a terpene with a characteristically citrusy and slightly fruity aroma. It’s no surprise that this terpene also occurs abundantly in the peels of lemons and oranges. Limonene provides mood-elevating, anti-anxiety, and stress-relieving effects. Limonene-dominant strains tend to be more energizing and uplifting than strains high in myrcene or caryophyllene.
Common limonene-dominant strains include Tahoe OG, Sundae Driver, and Banana Punch are all limonene-dominant strains.
Terpinolene (ter-PIN-uh-leen) is a terpene with a unique scent profile. Terpinolene can present with an herbaceous, citrusy, fresh, and sometimes fruity aroma. Terpinolene-dominant strains are rare — this terpene is commonly found working alongside other terpenes as the second or third most abundant terp in the strain.
Like limonene, terpinolene-dominant strains are more likely to produce uplifting and mood-elevating effects. Iconic sativa strain Jack Herer is terpinolene-dominant, as well as Clementine and Orange Cookies.
Linalool (LINN-uh-lool) is a floral-scented terpene with relaxing effects. Linalool is typically associated with lavender because it is most abundantly found in this pastel purple flower. It is not typical for a medical marijuana strain to contain high amounts of linalool, but several strains feature it as their second or third most abundant terpene. There’s a good reason why lavender is a popular scent choice for so many self-care and wellness products — the terpene linalool is thought to induce stress-relieving, anti-anxiety effects.
If you are a medical marijuana patient looking to experiment with different terpenes, ask your Restore Dispensary Agent for help identifying products with specific terpene profiles.