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Terpenes 101

What are Terpenes?

A terpene is an organic aromatic molecule, which can be found throughout nature. In essence, terpenes are what cause things to smell a certain way; this can be seen in everything from flowers and spices, to tropical fruits and trees. Terpenes can have therapeutic properties and are the foundation of all aromatherapy. When inhaled, applied to the skin or ingested, these fragrant oils not only smell nice, but can also affect the way we feel.

While it can be easy to make the comparison between plant terpenes and essential oils, it is important to understand that they are not the same. Essential oils have been known to provide a wide variety of benefits, and they do smell nice because they contain natural, aromatic terpenes. However, pure terpenes are the isolated scent molecules, which have been purified from the essential oil of the plant. As our understanding evolves, we are beginning to realize that the primary active ingredient within essential oils, is actually the plant terpenes. These are the same exact terpenes that are found in the buds as well. Essentially (pardon the pun) terpenes are a purified essential oil, containing only the most active components.

There have been over 200 different terpenes identified in the plant alone, and upwards of 30,000 terpenes have been discovered in nature –so far. It is no wonder why people have always been drawn to the natural use of fragrant oils, and the therapeutic properties of terpenes for the relief of a variety of ailments.

The various terpenes that are found in different strains can be a major distinction between the different strains, as well as how consuming that strain will make you feel. This is powerful information for the  community, especially when realizing that the flower buds may loose up to 90% of its’ terpenes during the drying process.

We realize that each person and body is unique and so is the experience you are looking to achieve from using therapeutic terpenes. We at CannTerp encourage you to give one of our custom aromatic blends a try, and experience the power of pure terpenes for yourself.

The Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is one of the most important aspects of the plant, however not many people are fully aware of it. The entourage effect is the way in which various compounds within plants work together to change or enhance the plant’s effects. These compounds consist of cannabinoids (THC and CBD), flavonoids and terpenes, which can modulate the plant’s overall medicinal and psychoactive aspects. Combined, they produce an effect greater than any single component, this is known as the “Entourage Effect”. This means that when you are consuming, these compounds are working together to increase or decrease the way each strain makes you feel.

The Entourage Effect

There is an emerging debate in the scientific community about whether “Indica” and “Sativa” are distinct classifications of the plant, or if we should instead focus more on the terpene profiles of each strain. This shift has already begun and continues to expand as our knowledge and research about terpenes increases. As mentioned, it is believed that the terpenes in each strain can modulate the plant’s overall medicinal and psychoactive aspects. Therefore, strains high in Limonene have a tendency to be energizing, while a strain heavy in Pinene would often illicit a stimulating effect (i.e. Sativa). Strains dominant in Myrcene however, tend to be relaxing while strains high in Linalool are inclined to be sedating (i.e. Indica). This means that instead of selecting a strain based on whether it is a Sativa or Indica, we will be able to pinpoint our desired effects and select based on their terpene profiles.

The Most Common Terpenes

Citrus fruit including lemon, orange and lime


Smell: fresh, sweet citrus

Effects: users have found limonene to be energizing and uplifting, helping to increase focus and relieve stress. Some users have also experienced anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties

Boost your Experience: socializing, hiking, cooking

Derived Sources: lemons, limes, grapefruit and mandarin

Pine sprig with needles on a white background


Description: A refreshing earthy-pine aroma leaves you feeling alert and energized. Pinene can help boost energy and promote memory retention

Smell: Pine, cedar wood, earthy scents, herbaceous scents

Effects: Can promote alertness as well as boosts energy and memory retention. Some users have experienced anti-inflammatory properties Pinene is the most common and abundant natural terpene found in the entire world

Boost your Experience: projects, crafting, hiking

Single chilli pepper on a white background

Beta Caryophyllene

Description: Relax and find relief with this spicy, slightly sweet and herbaceous scent. Beta Caryophyllene can create a soothing and uplifting feeling, helping stress and tension melt away

Smell: A sweet and spicy scent with notes of cloves, peppers and light woodsy aroma

Effects: Can create a soothing and uplifting feeling, helping stress and tension melt away. Some users may experience anti-inflammatory properties as well as pain and ulcer relief

Boost your Experience: relaxing and unwinding 

Derived Sources: Thai basils, hops, oregano, cloves, caraway, cinnamon and peppe

Derived Sources: pine needles, conifer trees, orange peels, and herbs such as: basil, sage, rosemary, dill and parsley

Sliced mange in cubes on white background


Description: Indulge in aromas of refreshing tropical fruits with hints of mint and subtle earthy notes. Myrcene can create feelings of relaxation and sedation, to help you repose into tranquility

Smell: Smells hoppy and earthy, scents of tropical fruits like mango with with hints of mint

Effects: feelings of relaxation and sedation, may cause “couch-lock” feeling and drowsiness. Myrcene is the terpene that is most commonly found terpenes. 

Boost your Experience: binge-watching, falling asleep

Derived Sources: lemongrass, thyme, basil, mangoes and hop

Lavender flowers in bloom on white background


Description: Calm your senses with this spicy-floral aroma. Linalool can help you wind down and feel soothed with hints of spices, lavender and lily of the valley

Smell: hints of spice and flowers such as lavender and lily of the valley

Effects: calming and sedating effects, can be a mood enhancer. Some users may experience anti-inflammatory effects and a boosted immune system

Boost your Experience: winding down, bath time

Derived Sources: spices and flowers such as coriander and lavender, as well as from certain types of citrus and mint plants

Lilac flower cluster on white background


Description: Unwind with this sweet citrus and light floral aroma. Soothe your senses while remaining focused and alert

Smell: citrusy, lime scent with notes of apple blossom and lilac

Effects: calming feelings of restfulness and can help maintain focus and attention

Boost your Experience: gaming, watching a movie, reading a book

Derived Sources: pine, petitgrain and cajuput

Eucalyptus flowers and leaves on white background


Description: Minty and slightly spicy with a light eucalyptus scent

Smell: Earthy, herbaceous, eucalyptus, tea tree

Effects:  Alertness, energy, focus, soothing. Some users experience anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties

Boost your Experience: reading, doing projects

Derived Sources: eucalyptus, bay leaves, tea tree, mugwort, sweet basil, wormwood, rosemary, common sage, camphor laurel

 Tea tree flowers in bloom on white background

Gamma Terpinene

Description: Herbaceous and woody with tropical citrus

Smell: Lemon, lime, woody and sweet herbs

Effects: Energy boost yet soothing. Some users experience anti-inflammatory properties

Boost your Experience: crafting, doing outdoor activities

Derived Sources: Lippia Multiflora (tropical fruit) and Tea Tree

 Rosemary herb sprigs on white background


Description: Unwind and tuck yourself in with this sweet and fresh aroma. Experience gentle notes of lilac and fresh herbs to help lull you to sleep

Smell: Sweet and fresh, woodsy, hints of citrus

Effects: Feelings of restfulness and may induce feelings of drowsiness. Some users have experiences antioxidant and antibacterial properties

Boost your Experience:  bed time, bath time

Derived Sources: sage, rosemary, apple, cumin, lilac, tea tree, pine

 Ginger root cluster on white background


Description: Find relief from daily stressors with a fruity and woodsy aroma. This scent of citrus, rose and bark will have your eyelids feeling heavy as you lull into sleep

Smell: Woody, fruity, floral

Effects: Sedating, some users also experience anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties

Boost your Experience: relaxing, settling into bed

Derived Sources: Ginger, jasmine, lavender, citrus peel, lemongrass, tea tree, neroli, citronella

Hop cluster on plant outside


Description: Boost your mood and kick your feet up with this hoppy, slightly spicy and floral scent. Woodsy notes help you to decompress and feel clear-headed

Smell: a slightly bitter, hoppy aroma with floral woodsy notes

Effects: can create a happy and restful feeling. Some users experience anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties

Boost your Experience: relaxing, unwinding, feelings of recovery after being sick

Derived Sources: hops, spicebush, ginseng, spearmint, ginger, coriander, cloves, basil and sage

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