Terpenes & the Entourage Effect

The next time you’re at the farmer’s market, take time to check out the fruits and veggies, and notice how citrus, herbs and spices can smell similar to certain types of cannabis strains. The reason that Lemon Haze smells like actual lemons has to do with “terpenes,” the chemical components of plants that give them distinct aromas. 

Technically known as the “volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants,” terpenes have driven increased interest in developing the flavors inherent in cannabis strains and extracts versus simply relying on the THC percentage of cannabis as an indicator of quality.

Each type of cannabis plant develops a unique terpene profile, with many terpenes simultaneously working to imbue a flower with its characteristic bouquet.

Terpenes also possess their own benefits, making them part of the “entourage effect,” a theory put forth by Dr. Ethan Russo—one of the world’s foremost cannabis scientists—that every part of the plant plays a synergistic role in creating specific therapeutic effects. 

Common Terpenes 

  • Limonene – Also found in lemons and other citrus fruits, limonene helps uplift mood and counteract depression
  • Myrcene – Known for a sedative effect, myrcene is found in mangoes, hops, lemongrass and thyme, among other plants.
  • Linalool – The smell of lavender is attributed to linalool, a terpene that soothes anxiety and helps people sleep, along with additional benefits.
  • Pinene – A common cannabis terpene, pinene evokes the aroma of pine needles, as well as acting as a bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory.
  • Geraniol – Present in geraniums, this terpene is also used to ward off mosquitos as well as relieve neuropathy.

Further reading, see also: How to preserve the flavor and potency of your cannabis products | Why does cannabis smell like citrusTop 10 Citrus Flavored cannabis strains