Still River Wellness | Medical & Adult-use Cannabis Dispensary

Terps 101: What Are Cannabis Terpenes and Why Do They Matter?

A cannabis leaf next to sources of naturally occurring terpenes.
Terpenes common to cannabis are also found in things like pine needles and lemon.

By T-Town Terps

As you may have inferred by my pen name, I’m all about them terps!! But a lot of people don’t know what terpenes are and have no idea what the information on their packaging even means. As a result, people are not picking the best strains for their experience. What’s worse—as consumers ignore terpenes and focus solely on THC percentages, it encourages manufacturers to stop focusing on or even listing information about terpenes.

These organic compounds play such an important role in your cannabis experience. So, I’ve taken it upon myself to become a sort of terpene evangelical – to spread the good word of terps and their benefits so we can all better understand what we’re ingesting and really maximize our desired effects. Together, we can help shape the market, so manufacturers decide to focus more on flavor and effects than THC potency.

What Are Cannabis Terpenes?

Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds found in things like plants, fruits, and flowers. In cannabis, they are found in the trichomes of the female plant (trichomes are sticky, translucent glands found on the surface of buds, leaves, and stems that produce resin).

Basically, these little buddies are what give each cannabis strain its distinctive aroma, coloring, and flavor. They’re nature’s way of attracting pollinators and, I guess, aficionados. Anyways, these helpful friends don’t just make your weed smell and taste different—they’re actually a key factor in the effects that you experience when ingesting the plant.

Let’s take a look some of the most common terpenes found in cannabis, curtesy of the folks at! Be sure to visit their site for more information on terpenes and cannabis in general.

A chart displaying the most common terpenes found in cannabis.


Myrcene is the most common terpene found in cannabis and can make up as much as 65% of the total terpene profile in some strains. Myrcene terps contain an earthy and musky aroma similar to cloves. Depending on the strain, they can also have hints of fruity or citrusy flavors.

Strains with high levels of myrcene are usually indicas with sedative effects, making it a popular choice for those who use cannabis for pain relief or sleep. Myrcene is also helpful in reducing inflammation and chronic pain, which is why it’s frequently used as a supplement during cancer treatments.

Some of the cannabis strains that are rich in myrcene are:

  • Mango Kush – 0.5-0.8%
  • Skunk XL – 0.5-0.7%
  • White Widow – 0.4-0.7%

Bonus tip: If you want to experience a stronger buzz from marijuana, get yourself a mango and eat it about 45 minutes before smoking. Mango contains a significant amount of myrcene, so eating it before consuming cannabis may strengthen the effects of THC and increase its absorption rate.


Limonene is a secondary terpene, meaning it presents in smaller amounts than primary terpenes like myrcene and caryophyllene. That said, it’s one of the most prominent weed terps around.

As its name suggests, limonene is a citrusy terpene found in cannabis, lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits. It is responsible for the characteristic citrusy smell and flavor profile found in many cannabis strains.

Limonene has many potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatoryantioxidantantifungal and antibacterial properties. One study found that limonene plays a role in reducing tumor size. The pungent terp also carries mental health benefits and is thought to reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Strains that have “lemon” or “sour” in their name are usually rich in limonene and may include:

  • Sour Diesel – 0.4-1.0%
  • Super Lemon Haze – 0.6-0.9%
  • Durban Poison – 0.5-1.5%
  • Jack Herer – 0.4-1.2%


This terpene’s spicy and floral notes are responsible for the recognizable marijuana smell. Linalool is also present in lavender, mint, cinnamon and coriander. Interestingly, just like these aromatic herbs, Linalool has powerful relaxing properties and offers a variety of health benefits.

Due to its anti-inflammatoryanalgesic and anxiolytic properties, patients suffering from arthritis, depression, seizures, insomnia and cancer have all found aid in this unique terpene.

If you’re looking for cannabis strains with linalool, you should look for strains with high levels of CBD. Some well-known linalool strains are:

  • Amnesia Haze – 0.3-1.1%
  • Lavender – 0.3-1.1%
  • LA Confidential – 0.3-2.0%
  • Pink Kush – 0.2-1.0%


Caryophyllene is a spicy and peppery terpene found in cannabis, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and spices like oregano, basil and rosemary. It is abundant in strains high in THC and acts as a cannabinoid, binding directly to the body’s CB2 receptors.

These CB2 receptors are primarily located in the immune system and regulate inflammation and pain, making caryophyllene a key ingredient in anti-inflammatory topicals and creams. Additionally, studies have shown it is helpful for arthritis and Crohn’s disease and may also help treat alcoholism and the depression-like symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.

You can benefit from caryophyllene’s terpene effects by consuming strains like:

  • Girl Scout Cookies – 0.5-1.4%
  • Sour Diesel – 0.3-0.9%
  • Super Silver Haze – 0.3-0.6%

Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene

These two cannabis terpenes get their name from their pine-like aroma and flavor. They exist in strains with high THC levels. Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene are also heavily concentrated in pine trees (hence the name), rosemary, orange peels, basil and parsley.

Like many others, pinene terpenes have an anti-inflammatory effect on humans and are often used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. They also carry bronchodilator properties, making them helpful in treating respiratory diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.

You can find pinene in strains like:

  • Jack Herer – (0.5-1.5%) A-pinene, (0.2-0.8%) B-pinene
  • Blue Dream – (0.3-1.2%) A-pinene, (0.1-0.8%) B-pinene
  • Dutch Treat – (0.2-0.8%) A-pinene, (0.1-0.5%) B-pinene

Getting the Most from Your Cannabis Experience

We all know THC is great but it’s not the be-all, end-all of cannabis. Think about it; would you go to a bar and order nothing but shots of grain alcohol because it has the highest alcohol percentage? Of course not. Considering many people use cannabis for medicinal reasons, it makes it even more essential that consumers educate themselves on the different terpenes found in cannabis and their effects.

I talk about it some more here: Are You Buying Weed Wrong?

The truth is that many consumers are focusing too much on THC and not considering much else. But if you shop for terpenes, you will find some surprisingly enjoyable strains, sometimes even at lower prices because of lower THC levels. Think about it next time you’re shopping.

Go ahead and bookmark this page and refer to it whenever you need to. When in doubt, consult your budtender!

Use Cannabis Responsibly! T-Town Terps does not promote or endorse illicit or underage use of cannabis. Consult your local laws and ordinances to ensure you are using lawfully and be sure to always keep all cannabis products away from children.             

Still River Wellness | Medical & Adult-use Cannabis Dispensary


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