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Learning Cannabis Terpenes: Maximize the Entourage Effect

Cannabis Terpenes Guide

Select the right strain based on the ideal terpenes to determine the right flavor and desired effect properties. It's not just all about cannabinoids.

If you already know the terpene you want to target and are ready to search you can move on to our search page.

What are Terpenes? 

Smell a fresh cannabis plant or take a deep breath in a forest and you’ll experience the power of terpenes. Organic molecules called terpenes give each cannabis plant its distinct fragrance and flavor. Every cannabis cultivar (strain) has its unique aroma because of the make-up of terpenes it contains. 

Primary and Secondary Terpenes

Cannabis plants contain over a hundred terpenes, but only a select group is present in sufficient amounts - all but a few are ever more than 1%. Here are the eleven of the most recognized terpenes in cannabis coupled with their aromas and potential health benefits. Please note that all information on this website is not meant as medical advice and should not be used in place of actual medical advice. Consult a medical professional for actual medical advice and information that can be relied on for your specific situation.

Bisabolol terpene

Praised for its mild floral scent, bisabolol is frequently used in fragrances and cosmetics. Also known as alpha-bisabolol, it’s commonly produced by cannabis and the chamomile flower. Due to its calming and soothing effects, bisabolol is believed to promote the skin’s natural healing process. According to animal studies, it may help reduce skin inflammation. 



Beta-caryophyllene is another cannabis terpene that you can find in most strains. Praised for its herbal spiciness with hints of wood, caryophyllene is a common food additive. Naturally, it’s found in black pepper, cinnamon, and hops. 

Caryophyllene exhibits potential pain-relieving effects in animals and is a potent compound in anti-inflammatory salves and topicals. 


Citronellol terpene

Citronellol is found to have anti-tumor properties (reducing the ability of tumors to grow) and anti-inflammatory properties, which is being studied in connection to reduce Lung Cancer proliferation. It has also been studied for its treatment of high blood pressure as a regulating agent.


Eucalyptol terpene

Eucalyptol Terpenes have been found to have analgesic properties (relieving pain), slow bacterial and fungal growth, reducing inflammation systematically,  have anti-proliferative properties (inhibiting cancer cell growth) and have antioxidant properties (limiting damage of oxidation damage to cells in the body. It is also used successfully as a natural insecticide.


Guaiol terpene

Guaiol is a cannabis terpene with a fresh, invigorating woody aroma with rose undertones. It’s also found in guaiacum and cypress pine. It’s a central component of the essential oils in Xylopia sericea fruits known for their potential antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Guaiol is also a potential antimicrobial agent.  


If you’ve been around cannabis long enough, you’ve heard about humulene. This common cannabis terpene is also present in hops, clove, basil, sage, black pepper, and ginseng. Humulene carries a corresponding “hoppy” aroma. According to research, it may be an effective topical anti-inflammatory agent and pain reliever. 


As one of the most prominent terpenes in cannabis — together with caryophyllene — it’s present in most cannabis cultivars on the market. Its signature “‘earthy” aroma is also prevalent in herbs, spices, and fruits, including parsley, wild thyme, hops, lemongrass, and mango fruit. 

Myrcene may be an effective anti-inflammatory agent and great for alleviating pain. One 2015 study revealed that it might be helpful in treating osteoarthritis. You will find this terpene in cosmetics and fragrances. As a common ingredient in your recipes, you can recognize it through its spicy, earthy flavor with sweet undertones. 


Recognized for its “piney” aroma, pinene is one of the most predominant terpenes in all plant life. You’ve encountered pinene and its aroma when walking into a forest full of pine trees and other conifers. This terpene gives certain cannabis strains a “piney” aroma. It exhibits potential anti-inflammatory properties and is known to protect from ulcers and improve airflow to the lungs. 


Limonene Terpene

As the name implies, limonene is a cannabis terpene also found in the citrus fruits — hence its strong “citrusy” smell. If you’ve ever sniffed on some of your lemon-based cleaning supplies, you’ve experienced its pleasant scent. Like many terpenes, it’s also used by the perfume industry. Limonene could be a potential immune booster, help with heartburn, and pain. 


Linalool is a common fragrance ingredient with a pleasant floral aroma. Aside from cannabis , it’s also found in rosewood, lavender, coriander, rose, bergamot, and jasmine. Due to its pleasant floral aroma, it’s often used in soaps and perfumes. 

Linalool expresses several potential health benefits. Aside from its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, it’s known as an antifungal agent. Research shows that linalool inhibits the growth of fungal infections outside the human body, particularly those arising from candida. It also displays potential anticonvulsant and sedative effects. 


Characterized with a strong, sweet, and herbal aroma, ocimene is found in various plant life, including cannabis , mint, basil, mangoes, and orchids. It may act as an anti-inflammatory agent and display potential antiviral and antifungal properties.  


Nerolidol Terpene

You will recognize it in specific cannabis flower strains, like the Cat’s Meow CBD Flower, by its woody aroma. It’s also present in higher concentrations in full spectrum cannabis CBD tinctures and concentrates. Nerolidol is used in a range of cosmetic and cleaning products. 

Researchers studied this terpene for its potential anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Aside from these potential benefits, nerolidol may act as an effective topical delivery agent that helps other drugs penetrate the skin. 


Terpinolene terpene

You’ll recognize it in cannabis for it’s fresh herbal-citrus aroma. It’s also present in various plants known for their pleasant fragrances, including rosemary, lilacs, conifers, and apples. To experience it in nature, sniff a pine cone and let the fresh woody aroma overwhelm you. A potent antioxidant in humans, terpinolene has also shown sedative properties in animals. It’s commonly found in classics like Sour Space Candy and Suzy Q cannabis Flower.