Informed High - Becoming Informed about Cannabis

What are Terpenes?

Disclaimer: My Rationale for Understanding the Science


Not everyone loves learning the scientific specifics, but lucky for you I do. And what I like to do with this information is gather it up, trim the fat, translate the jargon, and present it to you. Everything I explain has a point. I want you to experience an Informed High. I want to help create informed consumers making informed decisions.


What are Terpenes?


Terpenes are a large group of compounds produced by various plants and some insects. Terpenes are responsible for particular scents and flavours. Numerous medicinal herbs and their suggested pharmacological properties result from Terpenes and their contributions.



The Cannabis plant


Terpenes are produced within the Trichomes and the resulting resin. There have been over 200 of them identified. Each Cannabis strains’ particular aroma is a result of the exact composition of Terpenes produced by the Trichomes on the flower of the Cannabis plant. The Cannabinoids and Terpenes produced within the Trichomes are the main physiologically active secondary metabolites.


Chemotaxonomic Marker


The smell is thought to be associated with potency. The stronger the scent, the more potent the strain. Terpenes are volitile and will dissipate (be reduced) over time, into the atmosphere. This is what leads to a reduction in the aroma and flavour of Cannabis products over time. Proper storage can limit this issue.





Harvesting of Cannabis plants is aimed around the peak of potency, which is also around the time that the scent is the strongest. The term Terpenoid was mentioned as relating to Terpenes that have undergone oxidation. Extracting Terpenes creates an essential oil, with aroma, flavour, and character.



Terpene Health Benefits


Lipophilic (combines with- or dissolves in fat) compounds that easily cross membranes and the blood-brain barrier in particular. This is suspected to be one reason for the wide array of pharmacological properties associated with Terpenes. As with other posts I’ve made, remember to take any claim of health benefits with a grain of salt. An isolated compound may have impact at levels of basic research and animal models, but this does not guarantee clinical, applied, or translational results (real noticeable effects in a living human).



The Terpenes




Alpha-pinene is also found in pine needles. works as a powerful bronchodilator (positively helps those with asthma or fatigue). It is also an antibacterial and antibiotic. A-Pinene may aid memory abilities, may counteract memory effects of THC.


The Terpene D-Limonene





Limonene is also found in lemons and other citrus fruits. It may help to improve mood and lower cholesterol while relieving heartburn and gastrointestinal reflux. In the lab, demonstrated anti-cancer properties, antimicrobial effects that combat pathogenic bacteria. It is thought to have anxiolytic and immunostimulating properties in humans.





Myrcene is found in flowers of the hops vine. It is said to be a potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anxiolytic, and sedative.





Linalool is also found in lavender. It helps regulate serotonin neurotransmission, eases anxiety, counters insomnia, and has an anticonvulsant and antidepressant effect.


Chemical Structure of one Terpene

Linalool Chemical Structure




Beta-caryophyllene is found in black pepper. It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to protect the stomach lining. It may be helpful with certain ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. This Terpene is a bit unique, in the sense that it also binds to CB2 Receptors, and could be considered a phytocannabinoid.



Terpene Yield


Terpene yield and distribution vary according to numerous factors, including


  • Extraction Processes
  • Environmental Conditions
  • Maturity of the plant




Indoor Growing Conditions


With standardized indoor growing environments, the association between the level of terpenes and cannabinoids is significant and positively correlated. A larger sample of Cannabis strains of various origins decreases this association. The growing conditions affect secretion at Trichomes, such as temperature and hours of sunlight.




DISCLAIMER: The content on this website is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical assistance with any questions you may have regarding your health. Never disregard medical advice or postpone seeking medical help due to any content on this website.




Andre, C. M., Hausman, J., & Guerriero, G. (2016). Cannabis sativa: The plant of the thousand and one molecules. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7:19. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00019.


Brenneisen, R. (2007). Chapter 2: Chemistry and analysis of phytocannabinoids and other cannabis constituents. In Forensic Science and Medicine: Marijuana and the Cannabinoids (ed. ElSohly, M.A.). Humana Press, NY, USA. ISBN-13: 978-1588294562.


Cervantes, J. (2015). The Cannabis Encyclopedia: The definitive guide to cultivation & consumption of medical Marijuana. Van Patten Publishing, USA.


Arnold Warkentin

1 comment

  • […] Trichomes are little glands that secrete an important substance in the Cannabis plant.  They are located in the bud, which is an outgrowth that becomes flowers, leaves, or shoots. Across plants, trichomes are small outgrowths from the surface of a plant, usually unicellular and glandular. Trichomes are glands that produce resin which is then secreted onto the surface of the plant. This secretion involves a mix of Cannabinoids and Terpenes. […]

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