Strain Science

Have you ever wondered why each cannabis strain has a distinct and flavorful scent? The aroma is due to the combination of terpenes produced by the cannabis plant.

Terpenes are a variety of organic compounds created plants that result in an eclectic aroma and odor. Over 120 different terpene compounds have been identified in the cannabis sativa plant, and every strain has a unique type and composition. They are produced inside specialized hairs, called trichomes, located on the surface of the leaves and stems of plants. Terpenes are cyclic, organic hydrocarbons, with the molecular formula C10H16. These represent a major component of the plant’s sticky resin and are produced by the same glands that produce other components in cannabis, such as THC and CBD. These oils offer distinctive scents and can be found in berries, vanilla, rosemary, citrus, and pepper. Terpenes in cannabis not only are the cause of the flower’s fragrant aroma and color, but also work in conjunction with cannabinoids to elicit a specific type of treatment/effect.  Terpenes bind to receptors in the brain within the Endocannabinoid System, which is responsible for a variety of physiological processes, and elicit certain specific responses depending on the strain combinations.

The specific constitution and ratio of terpenes in cannabis plants is based on various factors.  Strain genetics, as well as cultivation methods, can affect the types of terpenes found in a certain plant.  Therefore, analyzing how terpenes are constituted in cannabis can play an instrumental role in both the medicinal & recreational market.

Below is a chart on both primary and secondary terpenes identified, along with the effects associated with each terpene.

Benefits of Terpenes Types

Primary Terpenes

PineneAnti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Aids Memory, Promotes alertness, Acts as a bronchodilatorEarthy, Pine, Herbal, Spicy.
CaryophylleneRegulates pain sensations, Anti-inflammatory. The only terpene known to act on the endocannabinoid system, which regulates a variety of physiological processes.Citrus, Spice, Pepper, Earthy.
HumuleneAnti-inflammatory. Appetite suppressant.Woody, Spicy, Herbal.
LimoneneTreats acid reflux, Elevates mood, Antioxidant, Anti-cancer, Treats anxiety and depression. Aids indigestion.Citrus (Orangey). Fresh Spice.
LinaloolAnalgesic, Anti-seizure, Sedative, Antibacterial., Anti-cancer, Antifungal.Flowers, Lavender, Citrus, Fresh Spice.
MyrceneAnalgesic, Antibiotic, Anti-inflammatory. Known to induce sleep, but its concentration determines whether a strain has an energizing or sedative effect (Strains containing more than 0.5 percent of myrcene have a sedative effect, while strains containing less than 0.5 percent myrcene produce an energizing effect)Flowers, Pungent, Earth.
TerpinoleneAntioxidant, Anti-cancer, Sedative.Lime, Herbal, Woody, Floral.

Secondary Terpenes

Sabinene Aids digestion, Relieves arthritis, Soothes skin conditions.Woody, Spicy, Pepper.
Phellandrene Antidepressant properties.Peppermint, Slight citrus undertones.
Borneol Anti-inflammatory, Analgesic effects.Mint, Hints of rosemary.
Isoborneol Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial properties. Inhibits the herpes simplex type 1 virusSweet, Musty.
Phytol Sedative Anti-anxiety. Degrades GABA (enzyme found to promote stress)Floral, Balsamic.