A discussion about choosing cannabis strains never feels complete unless we talk about terpene benefits. Like the cannabinoids that play a crucial role in determining the characteristics of different strains, terpenes also have a notable contribution to these properties.

Since the legalization of cannabis across many states, the plant is becoming the focus of several studies that aim to understand its complete potential. While the cannabinoids have been the anchor of many such studies, scientists are also interested in understanding the contribution of terpenes.

So what are terpenes, and why are they an important consideration while choosing strains? Well, lets us discuss these incredible compounds in detail.

Basics Of Terpenes

Terpenes are naturally occurring oil in the cannabis plant that is responsible for the aroma and taste. These compounds are secreted by the same glands responsible for the production of cannabinoids. They are a large class of hydrocarbons that are fragrant and beneficial.

Over 140 terpenes have been discovered so far to be present in cannabis. Each of these best terpenes induces a unique flavor and aroma profile to the strain. But influencing these characteristics of cannabis strains is not the only job of terpenes.

Importance Of Terpenes

As research to understand the value of terpenes in cannabis expands, we get to know how crucial these compounds are for the health benefits and effects of a particular strain.

Conventional wisdom divides cannabis into three major categories Indica, Sativa, and Hybrids. While indica strains predominantly have a relaxing and sleep-inducing effect, sativa strains are energy-boosting varieties that can enhance focus and creativity. Hybrids are crosses between sativas and indicas. So far, research suggests that the cannabinoid composition and ratio are alone the deciding factors for the different types of effects possible from a strain.

But recent studies clearly indicate that the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes is a better predictor of results from a particular strain. It clarifies that each strain carries a fingerprint that comprises a unique cannabinoid, terpenes, and flavonoid ratio that influences the way you feel from consuming it.

blackberry flavor provided by terpene in cannabis strain vape pen

Terpenes Provide Many Benefits

Flavor – Providing flavor and aroma is an essential responsibility of terpenes. Some of us might prefer the natural smell of cannabis that is earthy and pungent, but the presence of terpenes give it a rather pleasing and enticing flavor profile. There are strains with citrusy aroma such as those containing limonene, or some that taste like strawberry.

Whether you smoke, vape, or eat marijuana, these terpenes can enhance the experience with their enriching flavors. Terpene-rich strains are among the most exquisite and expensive choices as consumers tend to enjoy them more.

Entourage Effect – The entourage effect refers to the combination of cannabis compounds that help elevate the plant’s properties compared to isolate compounds. The symbiosis between CBD, THC, and terpene enables to balance psychoactive effects of THC and increases the absorption of CBD into the body. 

Elevated Effects – Different terpenes have different effects when combining with cannabinoids. Some may enhance the health benefits, like myrcene that elevates the properties to THC to offer enhanced pain relief.

In contrast, some terpenes may reduce the intensity of cannabinoid interaction, such as limonene. Understanding the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids is thus crucial to identify the right strains.  

Health Benefits – Terpenes have an extraordinary therapeutic value, which is the primary reason for aromatherapy. They can induce anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic effects in users for better health. Other terpene benefits include the ability to lower anxiety and improve the quality of sleep.  

Protection – Terpenes are the natural defense mechanism of the cannabis plant that keeps pests and insects in check. The aroma and flavor repel infestations and protect the potency and health of the plant. 

read vitamin weed by dr michele ross neuroscientist

Individual Terpene Benefits

The cannabis plant contains diverse strains that can initiate different benefits and effects on you. Here is a guide to understanding some of the most potent terpenes in your strains and the kind of effects they can induce.

Limonene – The citrusy, sweet aroma from fruits such as grapefruit, lemon is due to this prominent terpene. The compound is powerful to enhance mood and reduce stress. Regular exposure to the compound can also initiate anti-cancer, anti-anxiety, and anti-inflammatory effects. It is also a potent antiseptic useful to treat fungal infections.

Bisabolol – The extraordinary calming and relaxing effects associated with chamomile and tea tree oil are due to the presence of bisabolol. The compound is useful for treating pain and inflammation. It also has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, effective to curb infections.

Myrcene – Yet another powerful terpene, myrcene, has a dominant hand in determining if a strain belongs to the Indica or Sativa category. Strains with less than 0.5% myrcene belong to Sativa, whereas anything above would be categorized as Indica.

The compound produces a dank scent that carries the cannabinoids of the plant to the brain. It is powerful to treat insomnia and improve appetite. The terpene can also initiate anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and anti-cancer effects.

Pinene – It is quite a common terpene that offers a turpentine aroma. The terpene is responsible to reduce the risk of infestations and also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It helps to boost energy in the system and improve mood.

Beta-Caryophyllene – This terpene initiates earthy, spicy, and woody flavors and is known for its antiseptic properties. The compound is also beneficial to treat ulcers, stress, and anxiety.

Ocimene – It creates a sweet, fruity, and refreshing flavor similar to mint, tarragon, mangoes and parsley. The compound has ant-itumor and antibacterial properties and aids in treating digestive congestions.

Linalool –  It is the most common terpene present in over 200 different strains of cannabis. It creates a spicy, floral mixture and has intense relaxing properties. The terpene is useful for treating mental health ailments like depression, anxiety, stress, and insomnia.


The increasing body of research on terpene benefits is contributing to its slowly rising popularity. Exploring the numerous varieties of terpenes while identifying the right strains for your purpose can be an effective way to experience the best benefits of cannabis. 

dr. michele ross cannabis coach and mushroom expert

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Why You Should Consider Terpenes When Choosing the Right Cannabis Strain