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What are cannabis-derived terpenes?

What are cannabis-derived terpenes?

Many people who don’t dabble with cannabis themselves are still familiar with cannabis compounds like THC and CBD or the distinction between sativa, indica, and hybrid. However, cannabis derived terpenes are a crucial element of the cannabis plant that is often overlooked.

Today’s modern cannabis world continues to forge ahead into the future, more consumers and cannabis professionals alike turning focus to cannabis derived terpenes and for good reason. In addition to informing the aroma and flavor profiles, terpenes can shape the potential effects and benefits of specific cannabis strains.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge on cannabis and better inform your own cannabis journey, keep reading to learn more about cannabis-derived terpenes!

Key Takeaways

  • Terpenes are present in a number of organisms throughout the natural world and give them distinct aromas and flavor profiles
  • Terpenes carry a variety of distinct benefits to the human body, and when it comes to cannabis, they can also be crucial elements of a high.
  • Along with the wide array of compounds present in cannabis, terpenes encourage the entourage effect, a theory that recognizes cannabis compounds tend to be more effective working in tandem with one another.
  • There are thousands of terpenes out there, but only a handful are regularly seen in cannabis. Research so far shows they each may carry a number of unique effects.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are not exclusive to cannabis. Rather, terpenes are organic compounds found in a wide variety of plants, flowers, fruits, and even some insects. This molecule gives each organism its distinct aroma and flavor profile.

The natural world offers thousands of terpenes, and even without cannabis, we’ve already begun to tap into the healing potential of terpenes through wellness products, aroma therapy, beauty products, and more.

Terpenes on their own offer certain benefits to the human body, which makes them especially valuable when it comes to cannabis. In fact, when it comes to cannabis-derived terpenes vs. regular terpenes, the main distinction comes with how they interact with the other compounds within the plant.

Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

When it comes to cannabis, the potential benefits of terpenes are no exception. Of course, there are plenty of factors at play when it comes to cannabis its effects, but terpenes are surely one to take into consideration.

In cannabis, terpenes are found in the plant’s resin glands or trichomes. And while cannabis-derived terpenes can inspire effects on their own, they also work with the entourage effect, a theory which deems that cannabis compounds are most effective when they are all present and can work together to synergistically enhance one another’s actions.

If you’ve ever smelled a jar of weed or taken time to savor the flavor of cannabis, you’ve already had a conscious interaction with cannabis derived terpenes. Some say “the nose knows,” nodding to the notion that you’re more likely to enjoy a cannabis strain you enjoy the smell of.

With cannabis, terpenes can truly affect the way you feel, some argue more so than the categories of sativa, indica, and hybrid. Rather, terpenes may actually guide the effects of THC and other cannabinoids, and many suggest that terpenes are the way of the future, offering a more accurate system of cannabis categorization.

There are a number of regularly recurring cannabis derived terps, and research has found they each carry a host of unique effects.

Common Cannabis-Derived Terpenes


Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis. This terpene typically has an earthy, slightly fruity flavor. Many strains with high myrcene levels are sedating indicas, and the terpene carries potential in reducing pain, inflammation, and aiding sleep. Some also believe that eating a mango before a smoke sesh can help to enhance the effects of cannabis, since mangoes are high in myrcene and consuming it can potentially strengthen the effects of THC and other cannabis compounds.


As the name suggests, you’ll easily notice the presence of pinene in a forest, with its distinct, pine-like essence. Pinene is also heavily concentrated in rosemary, orange peels, basil, and parsley. Pinene often appears in high-THC strains, and it has an inflammatory effect on humans. Research also suggests that pinene could assist with respiratory diseases, like asthma and bronchitis.


This spicy, peppery terpene is fairly common in cannabis and also present in black pepper; cinnamon; cloves; and spices like oregano, basil and rosemary. This terpene has similar action on the body’s endocannabinoid system as cannabinoids, binding to the body’s CB2 receptors. The receptors are prominently located in the immune system and regulate inflammation and pain, which is why caryophyllene is regularly used in anti-inflammatory topicals.


This is one of the rarer terpenes, giving off a refreshing woodsy, floral, and slightly citrusy aroma. This terpene is also considered one of the strongest terpenes, since it offers a mild to moderate sedative effect. Combined with other cannabis terps, terpinolene can easily make a high all the more chill. Some research has also shown that the terpene could help to reduce stress and depression.


If you like to get down on a nice, hoppy beer, you’re already a fan of humulene. This terpene is found in hops and cannabis alike, giving subtle earthy, woody, and spicy tones. Studies have shown the humulene could possess anti-inflammatory properties, which could help to ease respiratory conditions. Research has also shown that humulene may prevent the growth of cancer cells and suppress appetite.


Another terpene where the name really says it all, you’ll find limonene in citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, limes, and grapefruits. It’s a secondary terpene, so it’s not quite as prominent as other biggies like myrcene or caryophyllene, though it’s still one of the most prominent. Limonene also offers a number of potential benefits based on early research, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties.


This terpene has spicy and floral flavors and can typically be found in lavender, mint, cinnamon, and coriander. This terpene is already used in an array of wellness products and is an aroma oil staple, likely because of its many potential benefits. Linalool has been found to contain anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and stress-relieving effects, a winning combo for many folks looking to treat a multitude of conditions and symptoms.

Do Cannabis Derived Terpenes Get You High?

If you’re wondering what terpenes get you the highest or if they even have the ability to get you high on their own, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no…

Terpenes do not carry the same intoxicating effects as a psychoactive cannabinoid like THC. Terpenes can affect the brain, and sedating terpenes like terpinolene may create a feeling similar to a psychoactive cannabis high. Other terpenes can usher in a sense of wellness and calm — once again affecting our state of mind and thinking — but without the pull of other cannabis compounds, the effects alone won’t make you feel high.

Cannabis derived terps act as a key piece to a bigger puzzle. If you’re smoking a high-CBD strain, the terpenes present will work to steer that experience, even though the high itself may be more medicinal and less psychoactive. Similarly, cannabis-derived terpenes will help navigate a higher-THC strain as well.

So, no, terpenes won’t get you “high” on their own in the way that cannabis does, but they do help to influence and guide a high based on the other cannabis compounds present.

Are Cannabis Derived Terpenes Legal?

Cannabis-derived terpenes are legal in states with legal recreational cannabis laws in place. However, there’s a bit more to this story.

Consumers can still enjoy the same benefits of terpenes legally, so long as they are hemp derived terpenes. The distinction lies in cannabis versus hemp plants. Technically, these plants are part of the same family, but in the U.S. a plant is classified as hemp if it contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight.

Where To Buy Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

Consumers can now enjoy a number of hemp-derived cannabinoids, including different variations of CBD and THC, and purchase them online Again, terpenes and cannabinoids must be from hemp specifically to be sold online and outside of legal adult-use cannabis markets.

One of our favorite hemp-derived products that contain terpenes include:

Evn Delta 9 Live Rosin Gummies

(BATCH, sponsored) Evn Delta 9 Live Rosin Gummies.

(BATCH, sponsored) Evn Delta 9 Live Rosin Gummies.
  • Evn Live Rosin Gummies are infused with single-strain hemp rosin for an elevated relaxation.
  • Made with ‘Special Sauce’, a hybrid strain known for its earthy and citrus aromas (containing the terpenes lomolene & linolool)
  • Sour Watermelon flavor
  • No artificial flavors or colors

This content was originally published here.