The majority of cannabis users are aware of different strains split between Indica, Sativa, and everything in between. However, even some experienced cannabis users aren’t aware of the ‘building blocks’ within each strain called terpenes. These are the aromatic oils that are secreted by the cannabis plant that give it it’s distinct smell/flavor profile.
Below is a list of known terpenes found in cannabis, each has their own benefits and chemical profile.
BISABOLOL: Commonly found in German chamomile and the South American candeia tree, Bisabolol is known for its mild sweet and floral, citrus aroma. This cannabis terpene is believed to contribute to the soothing effects of cannabis. While it acts as an antioxidant, the anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of Bisabolol make it a useful treatment for skin conditions.
ALPHA-PINENE & BETA-PINENE: Pinine is a cannabis terpene which is thought to increase mental focus and energy. In addition, it can act as a topical antiseptic and a bronchodilator, making it a good option for asthmatics. Finally, pinine is an effective pain-reliever, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and may help in slowing the growth of cancer cells, and increase memory retention.
BORNEOL: Also called moxa in traditional Chinese medicine, Borneol is a terpene in cannabis that can be used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, lower anxiety, and cure heart disease. In addition, recent research has uncovered borneol’s potential as an antioxidant, neuroprotectant, and drug potentiator.
EUCALYPTOL: Also found in tea tree, cardamom, rosemary, sage and bay leaves, the cannabis terpene Eucalyptol is best known for its effects on pain and inflammation. Additionally, scientists are now finding that Eucalyptol may also be a powerful antifungal, antibacterial, insecticide, and antioxidant.
CAMPHENE: Commonly used in cannabis based creams, salves and lotions, the cannabis terpene Camphene is particularly useful in the treatment of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Believed to have anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant properties, it can also be found in nutmeg, rosemary, and ginger among other botanicals.
CARYOPHYLLENE: Caryophyllene (or β-Caryophyllene), found in high concentrations in oregano, basil, hops, and rosemary, is a spicy, peppery terpene. In addition to anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, this terpene can also help reduce alcohol cravings, fight cancer, and reduce anxiety and depression.
DELTA 3 CARENE: Delta 3 Carene is a cannabis terpene known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. As a result, it is a good option for individuals with inflammatory diseases such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. Also found in rosemary, basil, cedar, and bell pepper, Delta 3 Carene has an earthy aroma and mild citrusy flavor.
GERANIOL: Naturally occuring in geraniums, roses, and lemon grass, among other flowers and vegetables, Geraniol is known for its antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, scientific evidence suggests that the natural antioxidant properties of this terpene can discourage cell growth in a number of cancers.
HUMULENE: Naturally occuring in basil, clove,and hops, the terpene Humulene carries a subtle spicy, earthy, aroma. Unlike other terpenes, Humulene is an appetite suppressant, but like other terpenes it contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties.
LIMONENE: Also present in fruit rinds, Limonene is a cannabis terpene known for its fruity, citrus aroma. In addition to elevating mood and decreasing anxiety, studies have shown that Limonene may also have antifungal and antibacterial properties, as well as help to increase absorption of other terpenes.
LINALOOL: Most widely used to reduce stress and anxiety and elevate mood, the cannabis terpene Linalool naturally occurs in lavender, coriander and other herbs and spices. A natural anti-inflammatory, anti-epileptic, and analgesic, Linalool has been used for centuries in medicine.
MYRCENE: Known as an analgesic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and sedative cannabis terpene, Myrcene (or β-myrcene) can be found in mangoes, thyme, lemongrass, and basil among other fruits and herbs.
OCIMENE: Known for its antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, decongestant, and antibacterial properties, Ocimene naturally occurs in mint, parsley, and basil, among other fruits and herbs. An isomeric hydrocarbon, it is associated with a sweet, fragrant, and woodsy aroma.
TERPINEOL: Naturally occuring in pine trees, lilacs, lime blossoms, and eucalyptus sap, Terpineol is a powerful relaxant which is believed to contribute to sedative qualities of cannabis. In addition to the calming effects of this cannabis terpene, it is also believed to carry antibiotic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
TERPINOLENE: The cannabis terpene Terpinolene is an isomeric hydrocarbon which can be found in a variety of plants including tea tree, nutmeg, apples, and cumin. Known for its floral, piney aroma, Terpinolene is a natural antioxidant, sedative, anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, and antifungal agent.
VALENCENE: Pulling its name from Valencia Oranges, the cannabis terpene Valencene has a citrusy sweet aroma and flavor. In addition to being a natural insect repellent, Valencene is also believed to have anti-inflammatory, and insecticidal properties.
While the differences may be subtle, they are not insignificant. Growers and cultivators of cannabis know that these distinctions have a powerful influence on the medicinal value of any given plant.