What are terpenes? Fifth Ave Green House

The cannabis plant continues to surprise us and is made up of hundreds of compounds. Some like THC and CBD have become widely known outside of the cannabis niche. Others, like terpenes, are just beginning to learn and understand what they do and bring into the cannabis plant.

Terpenes are naturally occurring organic compounds found in many plants, especially conifers. They are derived from isoprene and follow the biogenetic isoprene rule (as developed by Leopold Ružička). The term terpene was coined in 1866 by the German chemist August Kekulé.

Terpenes are aromatic oils that are responsible for the aroma and have various distinctive flavors such as berries, mint, lavender, citrus and pine. They were developed to protect plants from grazing land or infectious germs and to attract pollinators. With this in mind, it makes sense that something that protects the plants can also act as a booster in humans. The more cannabis research there is, the more we learn about the extraordinary properties of these lesser-known compounds. Various factors influence the terpene development of the plant such as weather, climate, soil type, age and ripening as well as time of day.

Manufacturers use isolated terpenes to add flavors and fragrances to everyday products like perfumes, soap, and even food. The hop aroma added to the beer comes in part from the sesquiterpene class of terpenes.

With so many uses, natural rubber is perhaps the best-known terpene. Another is turpentine, a mixture of terpenes obtained from the distillation of pine resin and used as an organic solvent.

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What are the cannabis terpenes?

Well over a hundred different terpenes have been identified in cannabis. Each cannabis strain has a unique terpene profile and composition.

This profile allows us to use smell to differentiate between strains, but it also plays a role in the effects of different strains. Some can promote clarity and focus, while others are relaxing and calming.

Common cannabis terpenes are myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene, terpinolene, pinene, humulene, linalool, ocimen, bisabolol, guaiol.


Myrcene is one of the most famous terpenes in cannabis and has an earthy aroma. Some people also describe it as a balm scent, while others say it smells like clove or musk. The taste has sweet undertones that have been compared to fruity flavors.

Myrcene is believed to be part of the entourage effect, so it works in conjunction with other compounds found in cannabis. It is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent and is believed to be helpful in treating osteoarthritis.

The boiling point of myrcene is 332.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 167 degrees Celsius. It is also found in the bay, parsley, wild thyme, lemongrass, and mangoes.

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Lime occurs in citrus fruits like lemon and is associated with a citrus scent. It has long been used in a wide variety of products such as detergents. It is known to boost the immune system and relieve the symptoms of heartburn.

Limonene is known to interact with the neurotransmitters in the brain and is believed to have beneficial effects on reducing a cannabis high, as well as on anxiety and depression.

The boiling point of limonene is 348 degrees Fahrenheit or 176 degrees Celsius. It’s also found in rosemary, juniper, peppermint, and some fruit peels.

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Caryophyllene, also called beta-caryophyllene or BCP, has a spicy, woody herbal aroma. It is the only known terpene that also acts as a cannabinoid, activating the endocannabinoid system’s binding to CB2 receptors. It has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

The boiling point of caryophyllene is 266 degrees Fahrenheit or 130 degrees Celsius. It’s also found in black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and basil.

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The aroma of terpinolene is difficult to pin down. It’s more of a bouquet of flavors with a floral, herbal, even pine-like odor and occasional notes of citrus. Terpinolas dominate around 10 percent of the tribes.

Terpinolene is believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which is why it is a common additive in cleaning products and soap. Some research suggests it might even help repel mosquitoes.

The boiling point of terpinolene is 366 degrees Fahrenheit or 186 degrees Celsius.

Terpinolene is also found in lilac, nutmeg, apples, cumin, and tea tree.

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Pinene has a very distinctive aroma that you can probably guess from the name. If you guessed pine needles, you are right. It is the most common terpene found in nature. Pine needles, juice, and bark have been used for herbal medicine in cultures around the world since before the Middle Ages.

No wonder, then, that pinene has been ascribed many health benefits such as anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, analgesic and bronchodilator (when opening the airways). It is also said to help counteract some THC effects.

The boiling point of pinene is 311 degrees Fahrenheit or 155 degrees Celsius.

Pinene is also found in conifers, pine needles, rosemary, dill, basil, parsley, and even orange peel.

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The aroma of humulene is that of earthy and woody, with spicy notes that we associate with the taste and aroma of hop beer. In fact, this terpene is found in both hops and cannabis. Formally classified as α-caryophyllene, this sesquiterpene is named after the hop plant, also known as Humulus lupulus. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

The boiling point of humulene is 222 degrees Fahrenheit or 106 degrees Celsius. It is also found in coriander, basil, cloves, and hops.


With its herbal, sweet, citrus aroma, Ocimen is responsible for some of those lovely herbal aromas that we get in some cannabis strains. It’s rarely the most abundant terpene, but it still plays an accompanying role in developing a well-rounded depth of flavors. Its t as well as its uplifting effects are said to have antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.

The boiling point of Ocimen is 122 degrees Fahrenheit, or 50 degrees Celsius. It’s also found in parsley, pepper, basil, orchids, kumquats, mangoes, and mint.


Linalool is believed to have calming and relaxing effects that make it good for treating anxiety, depression, and insomnia. The linalool terpene has a floral aroma that we would associate with lavender with a touch of spice.

The boiling point of linalool is 388 degrees Fahrenheit or 198 degrees Celsius. It is also found in lavender.


Like linalool, this terpene has a fragrant sweet floral aroma. It is widely used in cosmetics and fragrances. Some animal studies have shown that bisabolol can help reduce skin inflammation.

The boiling point of bisabolol is 307 degrees Fahrenheit or 153 degrees Celsius.

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Guaiol has a pine aroma with hints of wood and rose. It is found in cypress and guaiac oil. The guaiac plant was brought back to Europe from Hispaniola around the 16th century. The gum obtained from the wood of this plant was used at the end of the 18th century to treat syphilis and to regulate menstruation.

It is commonly known as an anti-inflammatory; Studies have shown that it has antimicrobial properties and can also inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells.

The boiling point of bisabolol is 198 degrees Fahrenheit or 92 degrees Celsius.


Now you know some of the different terpenes, how they smell and what they can do. You can try smelling them the next time you buy weed to decide which pull to use to get the effects you want.

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