This is what you need to know about Terpenes and Terpenoids: UPDATED

Silvia Munoz Campo   
June 2, 2021 7:50am  
 3 min read  

The primary most studied psychotropic cannabinoid for its effects on the human psyche and medicinal uses have been Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the past, it was believed that only cannabinoids played a crucial role in boosting medicinal and therapeutic effects in the human body.

Nowadays, we know cannabis has over four hundred chemical compounds and that they interact with each other defining the experience and outcomes we get.

Terpenoids and terpenes have often been used synonymously, but the two terms have two different meanings. A variety of about 140 chemicals and compounds present in the cannabis plant are the aromatic organic hydrocarbons known as terpenes. Terpenoids have been known to include additional atoms that have been denatured by oxidation and also chemically modified. Nevertheless, most refer to the chemical compound that gives marijuana its fragrance as terpenes.

Terpenes and Terpenoids exist throughout the plant world; they provide the essential oils of many types of medicinal plants and flowers, playing an indispensable role in your cannabis experience. Recent studies show that terpenes can either assist or inhibit the effects of cannabinoids; this is known as the Entourage effect, and are also responsible for the cannabis plants distinct aroma.

In this article, We’ll dive into the power of Terpenes and what do they mean to your cannabis experience.


A terpene wheel has over 20,000 terpene types, cannabis has been identified to have more than 200 varieties, but only a few of these have been studied. Terpenes are made of isoprene molecules, each containing five carbon atoms. Monoterpenes are the simplest form containing two isoprene molecules; sesquiterpenes have three isoprene molecules, diterpenes have four, etc.( E.Russo, 2011)

Science and research studies continue to prove that you have to look beyond the THC or CBD score of a plant to tell its actual effects, and that’s where terpenes come into play; they are responsible for the diverse effects on cannabis. Some research has shown that cannabis terpenes act on receptors and neurotransmitters, affecting serotonin uptake inhibitors (similar to antidepressants); they enhance norepinephrine activity and increase dopamine activity. In fact, they enhance the GABA neurotransmitter (the “downer” that counters glutamate).


Terpenoids are often called “dried out” since they have undergone oxidation (cured or dried) and have been chemically modified. They are the most numerous and structurally diverse natural producers found in many plants. Studies have confirmed that this class of compounds display a wide variety of essential pharmacological properties. Terpenoids in cannabis show unique therapeutic effects that contribute to the entourage effects (which we´ll explain further down) of medicinal marijuana. These interactions could benefit the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, and bacterial infections.

The Entourage Effect

“The entourage effect” explains is how various compounds work together to create unique effects and benefits, in this case, in cannabis usage. Combining some of the hundreds of botanical compounds can create a unique effect when smoked, vaped, or ingested. They are due to the cannabinoids and terpenes working together.

Plants produce many compounds in different amounts. The most commonly known in cannabis plants are THC and CBD. Still, many others are produced in lesser quantities that seem to play a supporting role in the overall effects of a particular strain and contribute to the variety of properties, uses, and effects that cannabis may have when consumed. Some of the other compounds found in cannabis plants are cannabinoids such as CBN, CBC, CBG, and dozens more, as well as terpenes. These can be combined in such a wide variety of ways, making it hard to comprehend and study. There are still very few scientific studies that explore these synergies in humans, leaving us with mostly anecdotal evidence provided by cannabis enthusiasts around the world. But each day, we see more and more combinations that support the theory of The Entourage Effect.


Isolates are extracted cannabinoids that are crucial to the cannabis industry. It’s the opposite of the “entourage effect,” given that you get just the unique cannabinoid instead of a full spectrum or combination of them. Many people prefer isolates since you can know exactly which cannabinoid you´re ingesting and you don´t have to worry about absorbing any other you´re not interested in. For example, isolates like CBD can be offered to children suffering from epilepsy hence avoiding the harsh side effects of pharmaceuticals and without the high associated with THC consumption.

Popular Terpenes

As mentioned earlier, there are over two hundred identified terpenes in cannabis. Yet, research still needed to understand its power in conjunction with other cannabinoids fully. Here are some of the most common terpenes :

Myrcene: Myrcene is a significant terpene found in cannabis. Besides, it can be found in thyme, verbena, hops, laurel leaves, and lemongrass. Its fragrance can be described as earthy and musky.

Linalool: Linalool is present in many plant species such as cinnamon,  mint, birch, laurel, and citrus fruits apart from Cannabis. Its fragrance is described as a mix of sweet floral notes that go to a woodier smell.

Limonene: this terpene is identified for its citrusy aroma. Limonene can be identified in the smell of oranges, and it is often used in household products and cosmetics.

A-Pinene: also known as Alpha-Pinene, is, most notably, in pine trees, sage, rosemary, and eucalyptus. It is recognized for its woody and earthy aroma with notes of pine and cedarwood.

Humulene: its fragrance is woody, earthy with herbal notes that can be easily recognized in certain hoppy beers for its hoppy taste.

Beta-Caryophyllene (BCP): is a sesquiterpene recognized for its sharp, spicy aroma reminiscent of black pepper,  clove, rosemary, and basil. It carries a distinctive earthy, woody, and spicy fragrance.

Final Terpenes Hit:

With the passing of time and the growing interest in Cannabis and its benefits, we are not too far from unlocking all that it has to offer. Terpenes have increased the options of effects, varieties, and benefits of cannabis consumption in recreational and medicinal usages. With a growing interest onThe Entourage Effect, we expect to see a lot more data and research that will take us deep into it.


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