Terpenes 101

Familiar with the distinct smell of marijuana? That smell is created by terpenes; organic compounds found in most plants that produce aroma and flavor. These powerful compounds are thought to protect plants from being eaten by animals and insects. Many plants have terpenes. For example, the calming smell of lavender and soothing aroma from chamomile is produced by terpenes. In the cannabis plant, terpenes are some of the most powerful compounds and provide more than smell and flavor. They may contribute to the different effects from cannabis strains.


The effects of marijuana are often classified into two physiological states; relaxation or energy.  With over 100 terpenes identified today, there are many factors involved in the development of terpenes. Climate, weather, the age of the plant, different types of fertilizers, and soil composition all play a role in the creation of terpenes.


While many cannabis labs now test for terpenes it’s important to note that the effect terpenes have may change depending on the other compounds present in the plant. This is a phenomenon known as the entourage effect. The entourage effect is responsible for unlimited combinations found in the plants.


Terpenes are key to predicting how the strain will make you feel. Below is a chart with information on the most common terpenes found in today’s products. Remember, everyone’s own biochemistry is different. This is a guide. Experimentation is key to finding the strain that works best for you.