Discover the World of Marijuana Terpenes

  • What are Terpenes
  • The Composition of Terpenes
  • Different Types of Terpenes
  • Studies on medical marijuana for nausea.
  • Best cannabis products for treating nausea

What are Terpenes and what do they have to do with Marijuana or CBD?

Terpenes are organic compounds that are responsible for the various aromas and flavors found in marijuana plants. Terpenes are the essential oils that marijuana plants generate. These oils are secreted in the resin gland of the plant, which also produces the THC and CBD cannabinoids. However, terpenes are not exclusive to cannabis and are also found in other plants and fruits. Terpene is the reason the same marijuana strain can smell differently. In recent times, researchers and marijuana cultivators have focused their attention on the psychoactive properties of terpenes.

There are studies that reveal that there is a synergy between terpenes and cannabinoids. Terpenes are also known to inhibit the formation of certain cannabis compounds. By understanding how terpenes act, scientists can manipulate cannabinoids to reach the desired ratio. Terpenes play an essential role in the plant kingdom. They repel insects that act as predators, protect the plant from environmental stress, attract pollinators and act as constituents of more complex molecules, such as cannabinoids.

When different types of terpenes are combined with cannabinoids, they create a special effect and this effect works in the cannabinoid receptors in the human brain to create the various therapeutic benefits of marijuana such as relieving pain, helping sleep and reducing inflammation. Terpenes also induce the chemical production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

The variations in the quantity and type of terpenes secreted in different marijuana plants provides an insight into why a particular strain of marijuana can have different properties. This is the reason why cannabis varieties have distinctive flavors like citrus, pine, berry and mint. This does not happen with cannabinoids, which are typically similar, so there is little difference in the same strain.

Each terpene affects the way we interact with cannabinoids, and even some have an effect on the body and our behavior, something similar to what happens with the science of aromatherapy. This is the reason why many manufacturers pride themselves on having high quantities of terpenes in their products.

The Composition of Terpenes

While most marijuana enthusiasts have heard of THC, many do not know what terpenes are. Terpenes molecules are quite small and are formed by chains of linked chemical units called isoprene. The name terpene is derived from the word “turpentine,” which is a fluid gotten by the distillation of resin from live pine trees. Although cannabinoids are found in greater proportions in marijuana, terpenes are the major compounds that determine the physiological and psychological effects of marijuana.

Although, there are more 100 different types of terpenes found in marijuana, here are the most common ones:


Alpha-pinene is the most common terpene in nature and has anti-inflammatory properties and act a bronchodilator. The alpha-pinene is responsible for the pine and turpentine aromas of marijuana. This terpene can be found in Skunk marijuana strains and in conifers, rosemary, parsley, dill, basil, some insects and many more. It also has a very potent antibiotic property like myrcene and helps increase the absorption of cannabinoids through the lungs. Alpha-Pinene is one of the major monoterpenes and has the tendency to react with other chemicals and primary terpenes limonene and other compounds.

Alpha-Pinene is a very energetic terpene with the characteristics of a sativa and it’s known to increase alertness. This terpene has a protective effect on the marijuana plant as it repels predators and attract pollinators.

Medical Benefits of Alpha-Pinene

Alpha-Pinene is an expectorant and a lot of people use it as a local antiseptic. It is said to increase mental energy and has the ability to inhibit acetylcholinesterase. Acetylcholinesterase is a brain enzyme that can break down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is essential for cognitive functions and enhances communication between the neurons and the brain. Slowing the breakdown of acetylcholine is also known to delay the progression of Alzheimer disease because the hair levels will remain high. In a recent study, alpha-pinene was also found to have a limited ability to dilate the airways and provide relieve to asthmatic patients.

Popular Marijuana Strains High in Alpha-Pinene

Some sativa-dominant marijuana strains that have strong piney aromas are very rich in A-Pinene. So, Alpha-Pinene can be found in the Skunk, Jack Herer, Bubba Kush and the Super Silver Haze strains of marijuana.


Humulene is a sesquiterpene that is very common in hops, herbs, flowers and sativa-dominant strains of marijuana. This terpene smells like hop and it’s believed to possess has anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties. Humulene essential oil is major player in marijuana’s defense against predators and it’s also known to improve appetite. Humulene can be found in Vietnamese coriander, cloves, sage and black pepper. It is a known Chinese alternative medicine that is often combined with beta-caryophyllene to fight infections.

Medical Benefits of Humulene

Humulene can be used to protect the health of both plants and animals. One recent study has shown that humulene could significantly reduce the swelling of the paw in rats exposed to carrageenan, an inflammatory substance. Treatment with humulene prevented the production of tumor necrosis and interleukin in rats injected with carrageenan, as well as prostaglandin and cyclooxygenase. The authors of the study describe the effects of humulene as superior to aspirin.

Another study revealed that humulene has similar anti-inflammatory properties to dexamethasone, relieving a pharmaceutical corticosteroid used in the treatment of rheumatism, severe allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease, brain swelling and more. Some marijuana researchers also believe that humulene suppresses appetite (ideal for weight loss treatment), relieves pain, fights bacterial infections and can prevent the growth of cancer cells.

Popular Strains High in Humulene

Marijuana strains that have high proportions of this terpene include Girl Scout Cookies, Headband, Sour Diesel, Pink Kush, Skywalker OG and White Widow.


Found in more than 200 varieties of plants, Linalool is not specific to marijuana. It has a floral aroma that is reminiscent of fresh spring flowers and it’s known its relaxing and sedative properties. It is found in almost all essential oils such as lavender, bergamot, coriander, jasmine, rosewood and more. Researchers believe that it has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and it’s used in different complementary and alternative medicinal practices. Linalool is very volatile and can only be absorbed through inhalation by diffusing essential oils or by direct application of the oil on the body.

Linalool is best known for the popular scent of lavender and provides great value in the production of vitamin E. This terpene is used in the perfume industry because of its desirable scent and as a chemical intermediate during the production of cleaning agents such as detergents and soaps. It is also used as an insecticide to repel fleas, fruit flies and cockroaches.

Medical Benefits of Linalool

Various studies have shown that linalool helps to reduce the development of pneumonia, seizures and convulsions. Linalool is also important in the formation of vitamin E and it’s known to promote quality sleep. Linalool is known to help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and inflammation of the lung inflammation and also reverse the histopathological properties of Alzheimer’s disease. When applied directly, linalool is reported to have the ability to cure acne and burns on the skin without leaving scars.

Popular Marijuana Strains High in Linalool

Marijuana users are advised to depend on their noses if they are looking for strains high in linalool. Some of the most common strains high in linalool include G-13, Amnesia Haze, Lavender, LA Confidential, Grand Daddy Purp and Great White Shark.


Terpineol occurs naturally in many plants including marijuana. It has a lilac aroma and often found in high proportions in marijuana with high pinene levels. Terpineol can be found in many plant species, including yellow root, chamomile, St. John’s wort, mug wort, basil, oregano, geranium, parsley, mother’s skin, laurel, cloves, anise, thyme, ginger and more. This monoterpene is a highly useful essential oil and it’s used as a fragrance in the cosmetics and perfume industry. It is one of the primary ingredients of all perfumes made from the lily. It is also used as an insecticide and a pesticide.

Terpineol tastes like mint and its complex aroma can sometimes be confused as the smell eucalyptus. However, terpineol is hard to perceive in marijuana because of its large amounts of pinene. As a result of this, the pinecones of pinene dominates the pleasant aroma that gives off terpineol.

Medical Benefits of Terpineol

This terpene has strong medicinal and therapeutic values. It is a proven sedative and it is one of the terpenes that create the popular entourage effect. It can also be used to promote quality sleep and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. In a study carried out at the Institute of Pharmacology, University of Graz in Austria, it was discovered that this terpene has a powerful antioxidant property and can be used to reduce pain.

Another study that was published in the Anticancer Research journal showed some unique results. From that study, terpineol appears to inhibit the growth of tumor inhibitory and help fight cancer. The study concluded that terpineol tends to work well in patients with small cell lung carcinoma.

Popular Strains High in Terpineol

Marijuana strains that have high levels of terpineol include Jack Herer, OG Kush, White Widow and Girl Scout Cookies.


Also known as Black Pepper, B-Caryophyllene is one the most abundant terpenes found in marijuana. B-caryophyllene is the only terpene that is known to act on the endocannabinoid system. It only activates the CB2 receptor and stimulates the anti-inflammatory reaction. B-caryophyllene has a unique woody aroma and its flavor is the reason black pepper is very spicy. It decreases chronic pain and can also be found in high proportions in hops, cloves, chamomile, thyme, Thai basil, cinnamon and more. B-caryophyllene is present in all types of cannabis terpenes and all resin extracts, making it the most ideal variety for police dogs’ training. When consumed in high doses, B-Caryophyllene can help reduce muscle spasm of the heart.

B-caryophyllene is also one of the most resistant terpenes and provides a reliable defense mechanism for plants. This oil is commonly used to enhance the taste of tobacco and it’s also known for its ability to attract pollinators and repel herbivorous insects. This terpene does not create psychoactive effects that give marijuana users high feelings because of its non-affinity with the CB1 receptor. it is a non-psychoactive ingredient that will not cause any stoned or high feelings. It also can’t cause hallucinations and paranoia. The Hash Plant has one of the highest occurrences of B-caryophyllene.

Medical Benefits of B-Caryophyllene

B-caryophyllene is a known antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-tumor and an anti-inflammatory terpene. Some users of medicinal marijuana believe that it has relaxing and soothing properties and can be used to effectively stimulate the immune system and treat stress. Because of its ability to activate the    CB2 receptors and release anti-pain properties, it is also reported that B-caryophyllene can be used to alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and protect the brain from diseases.

Popular Strains High in B-Caryophyllene

According marijuana strains researchers, almost all strains of marijuana contain B-caryophyllene but it is more abundant in Indica-dominant varieties like Death Star and Sour Bubble. Other strains with this terpene include Moon Cookies, Super Silver Haze, Candyland and Lemon G.



Limonene is the primary terpene in sativa-dominant marijuana strains. It is highly absorbent and promotes a positive mood and attitude. Limonene smells like citrus and improves the absorption of terpenes through the epidermis. The name limonene is derived from the word “lemon” because of its strong lemon scent. This terpene can block chemicals and prevent cancer. It is also found in other plants such as rosemary, juniper, citrus, mint, laurel, black walnut, lavender, tea tree and others. Limonene is usually added as a fragrance to perfume, aftershave lotions and some bathing products. It is also added to cleaning products such as hand cleansers to give them a lemon-like odor. Prolonged exposure to pure limonene may cause skin irritation.

Limonene is a powerful fungicide and anti-carcinogen agent that repels Aspergillus, a carcinogenic fungus found in cannabis smoke. Also known as dipentene, carvene or citrene, limonene is one of the two main components of alpha-pinene. Limonene is frequently used as a solvent for fats and as a paint remover. It can also be used as a substitute for turpentine and can serve as a raw material for some products. In addition, it is used as a botanical insecticide to combat ants. It improves mood and is recognized as an antistressor and an anxiolytic agent that can increase the production of serotonin and dopamine while enhancing the immune system.

Medical Benefits of Limonene

Limonene has been used clinically to dissolve stones in the gallbladder, relieve heartburn and gastro-intestinal reflux. It has also been proven to destroy cells of breast cancer in a laboratory experiment carried out by the University of Arizona in 2011 and it’s a potent anti-microbial that can kill pathogenic bacteria.  Some medicinal marijuana enthusiasts believe that it can be used to cure depression, improve appetite and increase libido.

Popular Strains High in Limonene

Lemon Haze, Durban Poison, Jack Herer, OG Kush and Sour Diesel are some of the most popular marijuana strains with high limonene. Though limonene is usually found in higher proportions in sativa-dominant strains, it occurs in some Indica strains such as the Berry White, which can leave you happy with a sense of tranquility.


Myrcene is the most common terpene found in marijuana. Some marijuana strains can secrete more than 60% terpenes in their resin glands. Known for its musky and earthy aroma, myrcene is reported to be responsible for that pungent smell in marijuana. It creates a very physical effect typical of the Indica marijuana varieties. Strains that have less than 0.5% myrcene provide an energizing effect and those that exceed 0.5% create a more sedative effect. Myrcene can also be found in other plants such as lemongrass, mango, hops, citrus fruits, laurel, thyme, eucalyptus, apricots, ginger and some other plants.

The smell of this acyclic monoterpene has also been described as clove-like, vegetative green, citrus, fruity with tropical flavors and fragrances of mint. These various scents are the result of slight differences myrcene’s chemical composition. Also, all these flavors and smells have been commonly used to describe marijuana. Some researchers believe that myrcene synergizes with the THC to create an experience stronger than what THC alone can produce. It is used in the fragrance industry as an intermediary for the production of other terpenes.

Medical Benefits of Myrcene

Myrcene is a natural compound with an excellent safety profile that could significantly improve immunological functions, as well as reduce pain sensation in patients suffering from inflammatory and chronic pain. Myrcene is reported to have a lot of special medicinal benefits and has been successfully used for aromatherapy. It is a powerful analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-biotic and anti-mutagenic agent. Myrcene has been shown to saturate the levels of CB1 receptors to stimulate more powerful psychoactive effects on marijuana users. Some researchers also believe that it can be used to inhibit duodenal and gastric ulcers.

Popular Strains High in Myrcene

Some strains of cannabis contain high levels of myrcene more than others. Generally, those with high sedative effects contain more myrcene. Some marijuana strains that are high in myrcene include Pure Kush, Pink Kush, Skunk XL, White Widow and Grape Ape.


Also known as Cineol, Eucalyptol is a monoterpene that is found in many strains of marijuana and other plants. It has a strong menthol odor and it’s very abundant in nature. Other plants that have high levels of Eucalyptus include tea tree, bay leaves, basil, sage and more. Eucalyptus is commonly used to attract bees to pollinate plants and as an insecticide to repel predators. This terpene is more present in sativa-dominant marijuana strains than Indica strains. Marijuana researchers have suggested that the synergy between Eucalyptol and THC could be the cause of the energetic effects of all sativa-based strains.

The name Eucalyptol is derived from the plant species called eucalyptus. The essential oil levels of these plants contain high proportions of eucalyptol that can reach 90%. This terpene is used in the cosmetics industry for ointments and creams. It is one of the main components of mouth washes and it’s used to make inhalers to relieve nasal congestion. Eucalyptol is also used in the food industry to make flavors.

Medical Benefits of Eucalyptol

A lot of marijuana enthusiasts believe that Eucalyptol is one of the terpenes with the highest medicinal potential. Numerous studies have demonstrated its clinical efficacy against asthma, chronic pain and sinusitis. This terpene is also believed to act as an anti-inflammatory agent and a local analgesic. It possesses antiseptic, expectorant and disinfectant properties and can be used to increase blood circulation. Eucalyptol is not suitable for little children because it’s toxic when ingested in high doses. Some recent studies also revealed that this terpene showed some promising results against Alzheimer because of its ability to enhance memory and cognitive functions.

Popular Strains High in Eucalyptol

Some sativa-dominant marijuana strains contain high content of Eucalyptol. Eucalyptol can be found in Super Silver Haze, Bubba Kush, Girl Scout Cookies, and Headband.


Geraniol is a terpene that can be found in lemons, tobacco and marijuana plants. It has a rose and plum aroma. Geraniol occurs naturally in geranium and can also be found in lavender, coriander, peach, orange, nutmeg, citronella, rose, blueberry and some other aromatic plants. It has many preventive effects and it’s an effective analgesic that is believed to possess a lot of medically beneficial properties.

Because of its delightful aroma, this monoterpene is used in the cosmetics industry for bath products such as soaps and detergents. It is also used for body lotions. Geraniol attracts honeybees to pollinate plants and also serve as a repellant of mosquitoes. Some marijuana enthusiasts also believe that it has sedative properties and can help relieve anxiety and stress.

Medical Benefits of Geraniol

A lot of studies have shown that Geraniol has immense therapeutic potential as an antioxidant, a neuropathy and anti-inflammatory agent. A recent study carried out on mice revealed that it is effective and can be used to relieve pain. Another research revealed that Geraniol has the potential to act as antifungal agent when it inhibited the growth of Candida albicans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae fungi. A 2016 study published in the International Journal of Oncology showed that Geraniol has effective therapeutic effects against cancer such as breast, lung, colon, pancreatic and hepatic cancer.

Popular Strains High in Geraniol

Almost all marijuana strains that are high in Linalool are also high in Geraniol. Some of the common marijuana strain high in Geraniol include Amnesia Haze, Great White Shark, Headband, Island Sweet Skunk, Afghani, OG Shark and Master Kush.

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