The cannabis and medical industries are all abuzz about terpenes. Cannabinoids are exciting, and while terpenes are common in almost all plants, their effects only heighten the impressiveness of weed. Breeders are creating plants rich in specific terpenes, using methods to maximize terpene levels in order to benefit from these compounds. Importantly, they complement cannabinoids very well. 

Terpenes have been in conversation for a while now. Most plants have terpenes. Even insects do. This is not new, so why the fuss now? How do terpenes affect the cannabis experience? Why should you care? Everybody is testing for terpenes now. Wines, fruits, coffees, and everything you love has its own terpene profile. If you use a weed dispensary, then you really should care. This is why: 

Understanding Terpenes

Completely organic, terpenes are molecules found in most plants. In cannabis, they play a direct role in how the plant smells, tastes, and even affects you. Cannabis terpenes are responsible for a bud’s aroma and flavor. By mapping the terpene profile of a specific plant, we can predict, even manipulate, its tastes and whiffs, as well as the type of buzz that you will feel. 

It is exciting to be able to influence how a plant smells and tastes, but this knowledge does not even nearly scratch the surface of existing research. Doctors are abuzz about terpenes because some of them have notable therapeutic value. Since terpenes are not psychoactive and cannot make you “high,” they offer a good alternative for those wanting to treat health issues safely without the stone. 

Although there are plenty of terpenes, these are some of the most common in cannabis plants: 


Limonene is citrusy. As such, it is very tasty. Lemon Haze is an example of a limonene-rich strain, and as such, it helps treat bronchial infections, stimulates weight loss, and acts as both a cancer preventative and treatment. Further, limonene aids in skin penetration, making it effective in ointments and salves. 


Borneol is easy to identify. Its camphor, earthy aroma makes it very recognizable. Medically, borneol is a super terpene. It has analgesic, antiseptic, and even bronchodilation properties. What is more, it has sedative effects, making it ideal for insomniacs. K13 is a strain high in borneol, as just one example. 


Linalool has a floral smell. Its flavor hints of spices. This is a terpene common in many plants, including cinnamon, mint, many flowers, and even some mushrooms. Linalool effectively modulates gross motor coordination and movement, aiding neural function too. It is also anti-inflammatory and anticancer. 

Alpha- and Beta-Pinene

The pinenes, as their name suggests, are common in pine trees. These are what give weed a pine smell and taste. Research shows both alpha-pinene and beta-pinene abundant in most cannabis strains. For medical users, this is especially good news because the pinenes are famous anti-inflammatories. 


Caryophyllene tastes like weed’s own cousin, hops. This terpene is highly beneficial for anyone suffering stress-induced issues, such as anxiety and depression. It is a happy terpene; it boosts mood. Caryophyllene is especially high in the Train Wreck strain, and higher in soil-grown buds than in others. 


A favorite in many dishes, eucalyptol is a spicy terpene. It is pleasing for most but quite rare in weed. As the U.S. National Library of Medicine says, it is common in beauty, medical and household products too. You find it in mouthwash, body powders, deodorants, cough medicines, and even cleaning products. 


Terpineol hints of cloves and pine. It is highly enjoyable by most. This terpene seems unique to Jack Herer and its many offspring strains. As a terpene with powerful antioxidant properties, terpineol works well to cleanse the body, rid it of toxins, and return it to optimal health. 


When you find weed with an earthy, musky smell, you likely have myrcene, especially if you detect fruit to it. Myrcene has relaxant and sedative effects, as well as anti-inflammatory. This contributes to its couchlock Indica-like vibe. The International Hemp Association says most strains have plenty myrcene. 

Alpha Bisabolol

Another floral-like terpene, alpha-bisabolol is especially high in chamomile. Popular in deodorants, this terpene also treats inflammation and wounds with its powerful antibacterial effects. As such, you find it in topical salves and ointments too. Oracle is a strain rich in alpha-bisabolol, but there are many others. 


Camphene is herbal. It smells and tastes herbal. It is also antibiotic, as well as anti-inflammatory. In this way, camphene effectively treats bacterial infections. What is more, study in a laboratory found this particular terpene especially high in Indica strains. The more Indica-dominant, the more camphene. 

Delta 3 Carene

Delta 3 carene is both piney and earthy. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory too, and a very effective one at that. Further, this terpene dries fluid, making it ideal for clearing mucus, tears, and even periods. Currently, research finds delta 3 carene in well over 80 different strains. As such, it is very common. 

Playing with Terpenes

Terpene profiles have the interest of many. Some are looking for ways to manipulate them, enhance their levels for flavor, aroma, and effect of buzz. For example, low-stress methods during the growth phase, molasses, and some available products allow you to increase levels. Research is underway and we need much more of it. Mapping strains is a good start toward breeding for higher levels. 

Find Them at a Washington D.C. Dispensary

Since terpenes are so plentiful in cannabis plants, they offer an excellent source for them. You can find terpene-rich buds at any weed dispensary in Washington D.C. Scientists are identifying more terpenes almost daily, and since they offer huge potential for therapeutic use, their future is bright and very exciting. Terpenes are proving highly medicine, a core part of future cannabis treatments.