What Is a Terpene? Everything to Know

Marijuana has a plethora of properties that affect its smell and taste, such as terpenes. But what is a terpene? Find out here!

Ever wonder why some plants give off a pleasant fragrance while others don’t. These chemicals give cannabis, pine, orange peel, and lavender its distinctive scent. These scents help protect the plants against animal grazing and pathogens.

As cannabis restrictions are decreasing, experts are researching this chemical. It’s still a mystery, and people are still asking, “what is a terpene?” With that in mind, let’s dive in and continue to learn more.

What Is a Terpene?

Terpenes are found in plants and contribute to their fragrance. If you ever sniff rosemary or lavender, you know terpene has a lot to do with the smell. Isolated terpenes can generate the tastes and aromas of perfumes, body wash products, and even food.

What Distinguishes Terpenes From Cannabinoids?

Cannabis contains cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which stimulate the body’s endocannabinoid system. This is what produces the “high” sensation associated with cannabis use. While CBD binds to some of the same receptors as THC, it has a distinct effect on them and does not produce euphoria.

CBD and THC are the most well-known cannabinoids; they are just two of the approximately 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant also includes terpenes, which are responsible for the odor of most plants and some animal substances. 

Do Terpenes Have an Effect on Humans?

Terpenes are bioactive, which means they can affect the body. This impact varies according to the terpene’s concentration and its usage. They are found in essential oils and contribute to aromatherapy. 

Inhaling the fragrances of some plants and essential oils can improve your mood and reduce stress levels. Terpenes also have an entourage effect by enhancing the effects of THC and CBD in the body. 

What Are Different Types of Terpenes?

The effects of marijuana depend on the type of terpene that inhabits them. There are different strains of marijuana, so each have different types of Terpene.

Since the legal cannabis movement has opened doors for more opportunities to learn about these plants, scientists have discovered various types of terpenes. Here are the well-known terpenes listed below:


Limonene imparts a zesty aroma to the rinds of citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. According to research published in Chemico-Biological Interactions, limonene has the following therapeutic properties:

  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Antioxidant 
  • Antiviral 
  • Antidiabetic 
  • Anticancer

Limonene seems to alter the behavior of some immune cells, therefore protecting the body against a variety of illnesses. Limonene is also considered safe for human use as a supplement.


Shinrin-yoku is “forest bathing,” a Japanese treatment that entails taking strolls around the forest, soaking in the ambiance, and inhaling the aroma. Shinrin-yoku has anti-inflammatory and healing properties. 

This is mainly because of the high amount of pinene in the air from a healthy forest. Pinene serves as a bronchodilator, increasing oxygen entering the lungs. It also contains anti-microbial properties that can fight off harmful bacteria.


Linalool is often found in lavender and contributes to the flower’s fragrance. It is the key component of aromatherapy and is responsible for the relaxing effect that many individuals experience when they smell lavender or its essential oil.


Myrcene is a terpene that is present in a variety of plants, like hops, lemongrass, and thyme. Myrcene is also found in cannabis plants.

Myrcene is a very potent antioxidant. According to one research conducted on mice, myrcene may help protect the brain from oxidative damage after a stroke. In another mouse investigation, myrcene was shown to have a similar protective effect on heart tissue.

Where Can You Learn More About Terpenes?

Terpenes are the chemicals that give most plants their scent. They are found in large quantities in cannabis and various other plants, fruits, and herbs. They contribute to the health and survival of the plants that they inhabit.

In certain situations, people may benefit by smelling particular essential oils, consuming terpene-rich plants, or spending time in locations high in terpenes. It provides a significant benefit to the medical marijuana community. To better understand the question “what is a terpene” and its pleasant scent, check out our blog today.

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