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Your Ultimate Crash Course on Terpenes

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If you’ve been using cannabis for a long time, and are a frequent visitor to the dispensaries, you’ve probably heard the term terpenes by now. What exactly are terpenes though? How do they affect your high? Consider your ultimate crash course in terpenes.

What are Terpenes?

In the simplest terms, terpenes are the oils that occur naturally in plants. If you want to get more technical, terpenes are a class of organic compound, in this case, they are organic aromatic hydrocarbons. Many different varieties of plants contain terpenes, and some insects too.

For the longest time, we thought that terpenes were only responsible for giving cannabis strains their distinctive aromas. Love the earthy and citrusy aroma of Super Silver Lemon Haze? This is the work of terpenes.

We’ve since learned that terpenes are also responsible for the different ways cannabis can affect your body and mind. Some terpenes can even make the effects of cannabis stronger. Savvy cannabis connoisseurs know that you can use terpenes to control the type of high you get, hence why if you want a job as a budtender, you should probably familiarize yourself with how terpenes work.

How do They Work Again?

Terpenes react with the cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant, which in turn react with the cannabinoid receptors in your brain. This is of course what causes you to feel high, get the munchies, or feel calm and floaty.

pinene terpenes

Pinene gives your cannabis that delightful pine flavor and aroma. Image Source:

What are the Different Types of Terpenes?

There are currently over 200 different types of terpenes that we know about present in the cannabis plant. There are five different types that are the most commonly found in cannabis plants.


Myrcene is the most common terpene found in cannabis plants. This terpene is responsible for the heavier effects that one feels from an indica strain. This is the one that is most responsible for couchlock. Strains that are high myrcene are White Widow XL and Special Kush XL


As you may have guessed from the name. Pinene gives certain strains that fresh pine scent and flavor. Pinene is a favorite among medical users because it is believed to be an anti inflammatory, an antiseptic, and is thought to be helpful for treating autoimmune disorders. Strains that are high in pinene are Trainwreck, Jack Herer and OG Kush.


This terpene is most common in citrusy strains such as Lemon Drop and Super Silver Lemon Haze. Limonene has been discovered to be an effective anti-fungal and can also help with things like weight loss. Strains that are high in limonene are Durban Poison and SFV-OG.


Linalool gives some strains their more floral aroma, like a big bouquet of flowers and is most often in strains that are helpful with dealing with anxiety. Kush strains such as Master Kush and Pink Kush contain Linalool.


Caryophyllene is not as well known as other cannabis terpenes, but you would know it if you tasted it. Caryophyllene is known for giving strains their distinct peppery aroma. The terpene is known for helping people with treating things like cancer and is non psychoactive. Strains that contain caryophyllene are GSC (aka Girl Scout Cookies) and Blueberry Cheesecake.

The more you learn about terpenes, the more you can use them to control your high. More on that later. Happy toking!

Image Source:

Know any interesting facts about terpenes? Did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments!