The Top 10 Terpenes and Their Effects

When it comes to the world of cannabis, it’s the cannabinoids that often take the spotlight. THC and CBD concentrations are often the first thing people think about when they consider a strain. But compounds called terpenes play a significant role in the cannabis experience. And while you may have heard that terpenes give cannabis its aroma, they are much more than just a pretty smell.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are the essential oils that give each cannabis strain its unique flavor, smell, and taste that you’ve come to love. But they also offer unique therapeutic benefits that can help with everything from depression to infections to insomnia.

Here are the top ten terpenes you should know about for your next trip to the dispensary:

Myrcene: The Most Common Terpene

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The most common terpene in the cannabis world, myrcene is sometimes referred to as “the mother of all terpenes.” It’s also found in the hops used to make beer and in mangos and has a fruity, earthy aroma. Strains that contain a lot of myrcene are known to cause an indica-like sedative effect and are great for relieving pain and getting a good night’s sleep.


Caryophyllene is one of nature’s most abundant terpenes. It’s found in cloves, pepper, basil, and even oregano. Caryophyllene has a spicy, peppery scent and often presents woody undertones. This terpene can work as a potent antioxidant and is excellent for relieving pain due to its anti-inflammatory power.


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As its name suggests, limonene offers a pleasant lemon fragrance and is abundant in the rinds of citrus fruit. This terpene is famous for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and its pleasing lemony scent has a powerful ability to boost your mood.


While terpinolene is one of the least common terpenes, it packs a big punch. This terpene has a herbal woody fragrance mixed with citrus hints and is commonly found in rosemary, apples, and cumin. It plays a significant role in defining the aroma and flavor of many popular cannabis strains and can even work as an insect repellant.


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Pinene is the earth’s most common terpene outside of cannabis. It’s found in plants like basil, dill, and rosemary and is abundant in pine trees and even orange peels. Pinene is famous for giving off a distinctive, sought-after aroma of a fresh pine forest and boosting the respiratory system.


Humulene is well known for its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and appetite-suppressant. It’s especially beneficial when combined with the terpene caryophyllene. It has an earthy, musky aroma that can be found in hops, ginger, sage, and ginseng.


Imagine the aroma of fresh basil, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what ocimene smells like. With fresh citrus and woody fragrances, ocimene is known to be antiviral, anti-inflammatory and works as a powerful antioxidant to boost your overall health.


Linalool has a beautiful floral aroma and contributes a lot to the classic “cannabis smell.” It’s found in high concentrations in lavender and is known for its ability to fight depression and anxiety. It’s a great terpene to promote relaxing and sedative feelings and is thought to help fight memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s.


Nerolidol is found in many aromatic plants like lemongrass, jasmine, tea tree, and some cannabis strains. It’s famous for its floral aroma with notes of apples, citrus, and rose and is often used as a fragrance. Nerolidol is thought to be sedative and help with anxiety. It’s also a powerful antioxidant with pain-relieving properties.


Honey, apples, and chamomile are all aromas that come to mind when you smell this fragrant terpene. Research has shown that bisabolol can inhibit the production of cytokines, which can significantly reduce inflammation. It’s also been shown to combat leukemia cells in the human body.

Find terpene-rich cannabis products at our Akwesasne dispensary.