The Complete List of Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effects

Nov 17, 2023

Assorted cannabis products from Mellow Fellow.

Not every cannabis experience is the same, a fact proven by the many strains that provide a diversity of effects. It’s as if every strain has its own personality, but what is the magic between these differences in experiences?

Terpenes. 

These unsung heroes are the culprits for scent and flavor in cannabis, but these fragrant notes may do more than just smell good. 

Whether you’re indulging in a pungent and earthy strain or a citrusy and fresh one, let’s explore how terpenes can help tailor your cannabis experience.

Key Takeaways

  • There are over 200 different terpenes in cannabis.
  • Terpenes are aromatic compounds that play a role in the overall effects.
  • Major terpenes in cannabis are myrcene, linalool, limonene, and caryophyllene.
  • Understanding different terpene profiles can help you tailor your cannabis experience. 

What are Cannabis Terpenes?

Not just found in cannabis, terpenes are hydrocarbons that contribute to distinct scents and flavors of different plants. Structurally, terpenes are made up of isoprenes, with different combinations of monoterpenes (two isoprene units) and sesquiterpenes (three or more units), making each compound unique and giving it a particular smell.

In plants, terpenes often act as the plant’s bodyguard, using their scent to shield themselves from bugs and other nibblers. However, when consumed in cannabis form, terpenes go beyond the plant’s function. 

When terpenes interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), they interact with receptors, causing different effects, from increased focus and energy to relaxation and alertness.

Terpenes interact with the endocannabinoid system and other compounds within the cannabis plant, like THC and CBD. They modulate these effects, causing what’s called “the entourage effect,” which is the synergy of effects between different cannabinoids and terpenes. 

More than just aromatic additives, terpenes are molecules that can contribute to individual and unique experiences, influencing neurotransmitter activity, receptor sensitivity, and an array of physiological processes. 

Now, let’s explore what the effects of different terpenes are.

The Major Cannabis Terpenes

2 fingers holdling a marijuana bud.

We’re diving right into the world of cannabis terpenes, exploring how each one plays a unique role in shaping experiences and effects.

We’ll go through some of the most well-known ones like chill myrcene, energizing limonene, clarifying pinene, and relaxing linalool, but we’ll also be dipping our toes into some of the rarest terpenes out there.

Beta-Caryophyllene

Known for its spicy aroma and peppery taste, beta-caryophyllene is an earthy terpene that is beloved beyond its aromatic allure. Found in strains like Girl Scout Cookies and Sour Diesel, beta-caryophyllene has been known to uplift moods and provide a subtle feeling of contentment. 

For an energizing experience, check out Mellow Fellow’s Charged Blend

Caryophyllene

Similar to its chemical cousin beta-caryophyllene, caryophyllene also exudes a woody and peppery aroma that’s reminiscent of cloves. Like its beta counterpart, this strain has potential for stress relief and relaxation, with some even hinting at possible anti-inflammatory properties

Find this terpene in OG strains like OG Kush and Skywalker OG. For the full relaxing experience, take a look at our Introvert Blend.

Humulene

Humulene isn’t far off with an earthy scent holding a touch of spice, but the herbal warmth of this terpene pairs well with the effects of increased focus and mental clarity. A great terpene to help ground you, you’ll find humulene in beloved strains like White Widow and Skywalker OG. Alternatively, find this terpene in sage and ginseng.

To experience humulene’s effects, try out Clarity Blend.

Limonene

Just as its name suggests, limonene is bursting with a vibrant and zesty citrus aroma and flavor. The scent translates into the effects, with potential mood-enhancing and stress-relieving properties that can boost energy and mental clarity.

Found in strains like Lemon Haze, you’ll easily identify its citrusy scent. For a euphoric experience like the one limonene provides, try out the Euphoria Blend

Linalool

One of the delicate terpenes, linalool is beloved for tender floral and lavender notes and is, of course, abundant in lavender plants. With the scent of a blooming garden, the effects aren’t far off. Users have reported relaxing effects and a sense of tranquility, with soothing properties that may even have potential as an anti-anxiety tool

FindlLinalool in strains like Granddaddy Purple and Lavender.

Myrcene

Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, causing the earthy, musky, and skunky aroma that you might associate with weed. This herbal allure is thought to have sedative effects, helping induce a sense of calm and tranquility. 

If you’re looking for stress relief from a full night’s sleep, you might want to check out myrcene-heavy strains like Blue Dream and White Widow. For the full relaxation experience, try our Tranquility Blend

Pinene

Just as the name suggests, pinene emits a distinct piney and resinous aroma that might remind you of a walk through an evergreen forest or the living room during Christmas. The fresh and invigorating scent isn’t unlike the effects, which call for heightened alertness, a sense of mental clarity, and increased energy. 

If you’re curious about discovering the potential effects of Pinene, look for strains like Jack Herer and Blue Dream.

Terpinolene

Terpinolene has a complex scent, blending floral and dainty notes with a punch of herbs and a touch of citrus. Just as multidimensional as the scent, the effects may help you tap into your creative side, feeling uplifted and motivated to get stuff down. 

Providing a boost of energy without feeling jittery, you’ll find a lot of this terpene in strains like Golden Pineapple and Dutch Treat. If you like these effects, check out our Creativity Blend

Uncommon Cannabis Terpenes

Bisabolol

Bisabolol has a sweet and floral aroma and is found in chamomile and strains like Harle-Tsu and ACDC. This terpene provides gentle and soothing effects, not unlike a hot cup of chamomile tea. Bisabolol isn’t a common cannabinoid, but it’s a good choice if you’re searching for relief and relaxation.

Borneol

With a distinctive minty and earthy aroma that might remind you of toothpaste, borneol provides a cooling and refreshing olfactory experience. The effects range from potential anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, having been historically used in traditional medicine. 

You can find trace amounts of Borneol in strains like K13 Haze.

Camphene

One of the lesser-known but interesting terpenes, camphene has a unique damp and earthy fragrance that almost falls into nutty territory. With potential as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, users usually turn to strains like Ghost OG and Strawberry Banana to enjoy camphene's relaxing and calming effects.

Cedrene

Cedrene can be recognized by the distinct cedar-like aroma in some strains, with effects that can help you enjoy a balanced and centered cannabis experience. It’s not often found in cannabis, but if you’re lucky, you might come across strains with trace amounts of cedrene, like Hindu Kush and Master Kush.

Delta-3-Carene

With a scent that balances between sweet and earthy, delta-3-carene combines the woods with a refreshing aroma and unique effects. Strains with traces of this terpene, like Super Silver Haze and Skunk #1, may provide clear-headed and focused experiences that make this the perfect daytime terpene.

Elemene

Eleme is still a slightly mysterious terpene, with research being limited. However, this terpene is known for its subtle scent of herbs and wood. The specific effects aren’t well documented, but you can find trace amounts of elemene in certain strains.

Eucalyptol

Eucalyptol has a refreshing and clean scent that you might associate with the eucalyptus plant. It’s believed this terpene might hold potential anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and is sought after for its effects on mental clarity. 

Find this terpene in strains like Super Silver Haze (and eucalyptus, of course).

Fenchol

A combination of floral, woody, and herbal scents, fenchol is a lesser-known terpene that is believed to have potential as an antioxidant. The sweet and earthy aroma includes user-documented effects of relaxation and calmness and can be found in trace amounts in certain cannabis strains and herbs like basil and fennel.

Geraniol

With a sweet and rosy aroma that’ll have you feeling like you’re walking through a garden of geranium flowers, geraniol is a terpene that is sought after for its uplifting and calming effects. Strains like Amnesia Haze and Larry OG carry some of this terpene, which can be good choices if you’re looking for mood-enhancing effects.

Guaiol

Woody and piney, guaiol isn’t well-known, but its unique effects have led people to search for strains containing the soothing and grounding experience of this terpene. With an earthy aroma and a hint of roses, you’ll find guaiol in small amounts in some strains of cannabis and trees like the cypress pine.

Nerolidol

Recognized for its sweet and floral scent, nerolidol might remind you of a young forest engulfed in sunshine. Many have associated this terpene with soothing and calming effects, making it a good choice if you’re looking to wind down. You’ll find a touch of nerolidol in strains like Skywalker and Jack Herer.

Ocimene

Ocimene falls under the umbrella of fruity aromas, with versatile effects that are invigorating and uplifting yet calming, promising mental clarity and balanced effects. If you want to explore strains with ccimene, go for classics like Strawberry Cough or find it in underground strains like Clementine. 

Find these effects in our Motivation Blend

Phellandrene

Another minty fresh aroma, phellandrene is peppermint-like with undertones of your favorite kitchen herbs. With a unique scent profile, the effects provide a sense of clarity and focus, making strains like Sour Diesel and Jack Herer good options if you want to tap into the focus-enhancing benefits of phellandrene. 

Also, these effects may be great for recovering after a workout, and you can find them in our Recover Blend

Pulegone

We’re still in minty territory, with pulegone’s cool and refreshing notes playing along with the memory-enhancing and clarifying effects that this terpene may provide. If you’re looking for a terpene that’ll give you a boost of energy, find pulegone in strains like Girl Scout Cookies and Granddaddy Purple.

Sabinene

Sabinene has a peppery scent and flavor with a touch of citrus, often described as complex with unique effects to accompany it. This terpene may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, although users often talk about the relaxing effects and overall well-being. Find sabinene in strains like Blue Dream and Chemdawg.

Selinene

With a subtle scent reminiscent of sugar, dirt, and the forest, selinene is often found in some seed oils. While the effects and potential benefits aren’t well-documented and based on individual experiences, which say the effects are calming, you can find this terpene in strains like Cali Pink Diamonds.

Terpineol

With a delicate aroma that’s sweet and floral with a touch of citrus, terpineol is a terpene that delivers pleasant and uplifting experiences to go along with a calming scent and flavor. Great for contributing to an overall sense of well-being, terpineol can be found in strains like Jack Herer and lots of plants like lilacs and eucalyptus.

Final Thoughts

Exploring terpenes makes one thing clear: aromatic compounds play a crucial role in the entire experience, not just the olfactory one. Understanding terpene profiles in different strains is crucial when tailoring your cannabis experience and may even help address specific therapeutic needs. 

Experimentation is the best way to explore how different terpenes affect you. Picking strains and products with specific terpene profiles and paying attention to how they make you feel is key to finding the strains with terpenes that most work with your needs and desires.

Also, it’s always important to have a chat with a medical professional to help narrow the search and experiment safely. 

Exploring different terpene profiles is made easy with Mellow Fellow’s diversity of curated blends, handcrafted to offer a spectrum of experiences, from relaxing effects to invigorating feelings. 

The nuances between experiences can be easily explored by looking at different blends. For example, you might enjoy the Clarity Blends if you want a clear-headed experience, while the Dream Blend is perfect for rest and relaxation.

Cannabis Terpenes: Frequently Asked Questions

What are Cannabis Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis and other plants that can play a role in the overall effects of cannabis. 

What are the Major Terpenes Found in Cannabis?

Some of the major cannabis terpenes are myrcene, limonene, pinene, linalool, and caryophyllene.

How do Terpenes Contribute to the Aroma and Flavor of Cannabis?

Terpenes interact with cannabinoids to create distinct effects, scents, and flavors. 

Can Terpenes Have an Effect on My Mood or Health?

Terpenes may play a role in physiological roles, including mood improvement and potential therapeutic benefits. 

How Can I Find Out the Terpene Profile of a Cannabis Strain or Product?

Most brands offer lab reports of their products that include a detailed overview of the terpene and cannabinoid profiles. 

What are Some Common Effects Associated with Different Terpenes?

Some common effects of terpenes are relaxation, invigoration, mood enhancement, euphoria, and a sense of calm.


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