As you peel an orange, you smell that classic, unmistakable citrusy smell. It sprays out like a mist when you break into the fruit, and the smell lingers on your fingers long after you finished eating it.

Terpenes (also known as “terps”) are what create that smell. Well, one terpene specifically: limonene. This terpene is in all citrus fruits, lending that iconic sharp and sour sweetness to their smell and flavor.

But hold on — what are terpenes?

Here’s the basics

Terpenes are tiny compounds that can be found in every plant on Earth. Terpenes are what create their smell and flavor, meant to either ward creatures away (like limonene, which is a natural pesticide) or attract them.

The vast majority of plants have only a few terpenes, from four to 12. However, cannabis flower has over a hundred terpenes — and terpenes in weed are what determine both the unique smells of the smoke of every strain and the way different strains make you feel. How terpenes in different strains make you feel is a unique phenomenon called the “entourage effect.”

What’s the entourage effect?

No, we’re not talking about hit mid-2000s comedy show Entourage. The entourage effect, a term coined by Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam, describes how the cannabinoids and terpenes in weed work together to influence how each strain interacts with our endocannabinoid system. Different levels of each might lead to us feeling more relaxed, or more creative, or more giggly.

It’s not just about deciding between products with high THC vs CBD. You need to account for what the terpenes and cannabinoids in weed are, too.

Can you get high on terpenes?

In short: no, and more research is needed to definitely say what effects each terpene actually causes. However, it’s theorized that certain terpenes make you feel more energized, or may help with pain reduction. For example. myrcene is associated with being an energy booster. But pinene — the terpene that creates the pine smell in pine trees — may help with pain management.

Like adding herbs to a dish to give it flavor, however, these terpenes can boost and alter the effects of THC in cannabis, which does get you high. While it’s still being researched whether there is direct causation, we can definitely say it complements and alters how your body interacts with strains.

Where can I learn more about what terpenes are and how they work?

You can learn more about terpenes right here at Granny Za. We’re passionate about cannabis. It’s not just recreational — it’s a critical necessity for our body. That’s why we’re staying up-to-date on the latest news about terpene and cannabinoid research, and writing articles to make sure you’re learning right alongside us. Reach out to us today to learn more!