What are Terpenes? | firebird-cbdoil


Each cannabis strain has a specific smell and taste profile. Some varieties are woody, some spicy, some lemony. The flavors you encounter when consuming cannabis are due to the presence of fragrant compounds in the flowers called terpenes. Terpenes are not only found in cannabis. In fact, over 25,000 different species have been identified in nature, 200 of which are known to be produced from cannabis. 1.2

To highlight this point, below is a list of terpenes that are common in cannabis and are known to be found in other plants3:

Caryophylls: A terpene with a spicy fragrance that is also contained in black pepper.
Properties: Analgesic (pain relief), anticonvulsant (anti-seizure), anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial
Products: Mohawk (Rockstar Kush), Bienville (Jean Guy), CBD oil products, balanced oil products, THC oil products

Humulen: This terpene has a woody smell and also occurs in hops.
Properties: anti-inflammatory
Products: Mohawk (Rockstar Kush), Bienville (Jean Guy), Henik (Alien Dawg), THC oil products

Alpha-Bisabolol: This terpene, which smells of flowers, also occurs in hops and chamomile.
Properties: Analgesic (pain relief), anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial
Products: Mohawk (Rockstar Kush)

Limonen: This terpene also occurs in lemons and other citrus fruits and smells of citrus fruits.
Properties: Anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, muscle relaxant
Products: Henik (Alien Dawg), Walker (SkyWalker Kush)

Myrcene: This earthy-scented terpene also occurs in bay leaves, parsley, cardamom and basil.
Properties: Analgesic (pain relief), anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, sedative
Products: Sachigo (Sour Kush), Walker (SkyWalker Kush)

Alpha-Pinene: A pine-scented terpene that occurs in pine needles.
Features: Reminder, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial
Products: Walker (SkyWalker Kush)

Borneol: An earthy-scented terpene that also occurs in valerian and wormwood.
Properties: Analgesic (pain relief), anti-inflammatory, pyretic (antipyretic),
Products: Mohawk (Rockstar Kush)

Beta-Pinene : Similar to Alpha-Pinene, this terpene has a pine odor and occurs in pine needles.
Properties: Analgesic (pain relief), antidepressant, sedative
Products: Walker (SkyWalker Kush), Henik (Alien Dawg), Mohawk (Rockstar Kush)

Linalool: This terpene, which smells of flowers, also occurs in lavender.
Properties: Analgesic (pain relief), anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant (anti-spasm), antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, calming.
Products: Bienville (Jean Guy), Mohawk (Rockstar Kush)

DID YOU KNOW: Each cannabis strain has multiple terpenes at different levels. The amount and ratio of the terpenes contained in each product is called the terpene profile and is graphically displayed on our website for our dried flower and ingestible oil products using a terpene wheel.

SUBTITLE: Certain cannabis strains like Henik (Alien Dawg) are high in terpene limes (a chemical found in citrus fruits like lemons) and it is not uncommon for patients to have a fruity aroma associate with it strain.

Where do terpenes come from?

Like cannabinoids, terpenes occur in oils that are on the surface of flowers and leaves of cannabis 4. They are created by tiny crystal-like structures called glandular trichomes4. Cannabis flowers are covered with these tiny structures that give fresh cannabis a frosty or blurry look before harvesting.

DID YOU KNOW? When cannabis flowers start to ripen, oil droplets on the surface of the cannabis flower begin to change color. Initially, oil droplets are clear, but as the plant ages, these droplets become cloudy or amber and are a helpful indicator for growers that the plant is ready for harvest.

What do terpenes do?

In addition to conferring the aroma of cannabis, terpenes were found to have a wide range of pharmacological activity at certain concentrations, including: analgesic (pain relief), anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antipyretic (antipyretic) , spasmolytic (relief from cramps) and soothing (sleeping pills) 2,3. For example, a small number of studies have shown that taking lavender essential oil, rich in terpenes like linalool, can have anti-anxiety effects at certain doses (Yap et al. 2019).

A summary of the alleged effects for individual terpenes can be found under 2.3.

alpha-bisabolol Alpha-Pinene Beta – Myrcene Beta-Pinene Beta-caryophylls Borneol D-Limonen D-Linalool Humulen
Memory Aid X
Pain relief X X X X X X
Stress Relief X X X X
Anticonvulsant X X
Change of mood X X X
Anti-inflammatory X X X X X X X X
Fever reduction X
Anti-stress X X
Sleeping Aid X X X

* This table is provided for informational purposes only and must not be used for product selection.

** The effects described in this table are a summary of the preclinical findings for individual terpenes (overview in Russo 2011, Nuutinen 2018) which far exceed the concentrations found in cannabis products and should not be used as a replication in human studies or at the levels where terpenes occur naturally in cannabis.

What are the entourage effects?

It is believed that terpenes contribute to the individual effects that patients can feel between strains by influencing the "fine-tuning effects" (also known as "entourage effects") perceived by THC and CBD 2. For example, it is believed that terpene profiles of some strains promote relaxation and stress relief, while others stimulate energy and have mood-enhancing effects5.

When should the terpene profile of a product be considered?

After considering the cannabinoid ratio and product format, the terpene profile can be considered during the product selection process by examining the terpene wheel for each product.

SUBTITLE: Terpenrad, which represents the terpene profile for the dried flower product Henik (Alien Dawg).

Terpene profiles are most relevant when choosing full-spectrum products such as dried flowers, but can also be applied to broad-spectrum products such as vape concentrates.

With terpene wheels, patients can distinguish between similar types of cannabis products (mainly flowers) by comparing the amount and ratio of terpenes that are present in each product. For example, we currently offer a diverse selection of THC-dominant dried flower products. However, if you rely solely on the ratio of THC to CBD to differentiate between strains, it is very difficult to take into account the individual effects that you may feel.

While it is still unclear how individual terpenes affect individual cannabis experiences, patients can try products with very different terpene ratios (i.e. Williston vs Henik) and document their experiences through journaling. Once you've identified the types of turpentine you like (i.e., lime, caryophyll, myrcene), you should try products with a similar profile (i.e.Henik, Sachigo).

How do I read a terpene wheel?

Terpene wheels can be read like a clock, starting at the 12 o'clock position and clockwise. When you move around the wheel, the information can be interpreted in the same way that you would read a pie chart. See below for more details.


1 Gershenzon and Dudareva (2007). The function of natural terpene in nature. Natural Chemical Biology 3: 408-4. 414

2 Russo (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology 163: 1344-1364. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/

3 nuttins (2018). Medicinal properties of terpenes in Cannabis sativa and Humulus lupulus. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30096653

4 Solymosi K, Köfalvi A (2017) Cannabis: A Treasury or a Pandora's Box? Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry 17: 1-70.

5 Lewis et al. (2017) Pharmacological Foundation of Cannabis Chemovars. Planta Medica. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29161743