Close this search box.

What Are Cannabis-Derived Terpenes?

Share with:

Cannabis-derived terpenes

The world of cannabis is as complex as it is fascinating, with each strain offering a unique symphony of scents and flavors. This richness in variety is largely due to cannabis-derived terpenes, the aromatic compounds that give cannabis its distinctive character.

In this article, we will cover what terpenes are, what effects they have, what products utilize them best, and more.

Key Takeaways

DefinitionCannabis-derived terpenes are aromatic compounds responsible for the unique scents and flavors of cannabis strains.
Location in PlantFound in the trichomes of the cannabis plant.
TypesOver 140 different terpenes, including myrcene, limonene, and pinene.
EffectsBelieved to offer therapeutic benefits like anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and pain relief.
Entourage EffectWork in tandem with cannabinoids to produce synergistic outcomes.
ApplicationsUsed in a variety of products like essential oils, edibles, and concentrates.
SafetyImportance of quality control and safety in sourcing and use.
Legal ConsiderationsVaries from state to state, based on cannabis’s legal status.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are volatile organic molecules produced in the resin glands of the cannabis plant, responsible for the diverse aromas present in various strains. They do not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or any psychoactive properties, making their role purely sensory and therapeutic in nature.

Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

Cannabis-derived terpenes differ from those found in other plants due to their unique biosynthesis and the specific environmental conditions in which cannabis thrives. They were originally created as a natural pest repellent and play a crucial role in the plant’s survival.

Types and Effects of Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

Cannabis boasts over 140 different terpenes, each contributing uniquely to the plant’s overall profile.

Types and Characteristics

  • Myrcene is known for its earthy, musky notes, often contributing to the relaxing effects of cannabis.
  • Limonene offers a citrusy aroma and is believed to uplift mood.
  • Pinene carries a distinct pine scent, potentially aiding in alertness and memory retention.

These terpenes, along with many others, combine to create the complex scents and flavors we associate with different cannabis strains, from the skunky aroma of certain hybrids to the citrus zest of sativa-dominant varieties.

The Entourage Effect

The “entourage effect” is a term used to describe the synergistic interaction between cannabis compounds, including terpenes and cannabinoids like THC and cannabidiol (CBD). This concept suggests that these compounds work better together than in isolation, enhancing the overall effects of cannabis.

Benefits and Uses of Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

Cannabis-derived terpenes are not just about pleasant aromas; they also offer a range of potential therapeutic benefits.

Potential Therapeutic Benefits

While research is still ongoing, cannabis-derived terpenes are believed to offer various therapeutic effects, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Helping to reduce inflammation and associated discomfort.
  • Anti-anxiety effects: Potentially aiding in the reduction of stress and anxiety symptoms.
  • Pain relief: Offering a natural alternative for pain management.

Furthermore, these terpenes contribute to the entourage effect, enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis as a whole.


The versatility of cannabis-derived terpenes extends to their use in a myriad of products. They can be found in:

  • essential oils
  • edibles
  • concentrates

Cannabis-derived terpenes not only provide flavor and aroma but also potentially contribute to the desired effects of these products.

Considerations and Cautions

If you’re looking to incorporate any of these products into your life, it’s crucial to make informed decisions, especially regarding the safety, quality, and legality of cannabis-derived terpenes.

Safety and Quality

The purity and quality of cannabis-derived terpenes are paramount. Consumers should prioritize sourcing terpenes from reputable suppliers who provide lab-tested products. This ensures the absence of harmful contaminants and guarantees the integrity of the terpenes’ profiles. It’s important to note that while terpenes themselves do not carry psychoactive properties, their interaction with cannabinoids can influence the overall effects of a cannabis product.

Quality control is a critical aspect, particularly in regions like the United States and Canada, where the cannabis market is rapidly evolving. With the FDA setting standards for cannabis-derived compounds in pharmaceuticals, similar quality standards are expected to trickle down to other cannabis products, including those containing terpenes.

Individual Variability

An aspect often overlooked is the individual response to cannabis-derived terpenes. Just as each strain’s profile is unique, so too is each individual’s reaction to these compounds. Factors such as body chemistry, tolerance, and even concurrent use of other medications can significantly influence the effects of terpenes. Therefore, users are encouraged to start with lower concentrations and gradually adjust based on personal experience and preference.

Legal Considerations

The legal landscape surrounding cannabis-derived terpenes is as diverse as the compounds themselves. In states where cannabis is legal, terpenes derived from it typically share the same legal status. However, in states with stricter cannabis laws, the legality of these terpenes can be more complex, often tied to the source of the terpenes (hemp vs. marijuana) and the overall THC content of the product they’re used in.


Cannabis-derived terpenes are not just a cornerstone of the plant’s allure but are also believed to play a significant role in its therapeutic effects. From their aromatic diversity to their potential health benefits, these compounds are a testament to the complexity and utility of the cannabis plant.

As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, keeping up-to-date on the latest research and legal developments is crucial for safe and effective use. Stay tuned to 420CanNews for more in-depth, accurate, and engaging content on all aspects of cannabis and cannabis culture.


What Are Cannabis-Derived Terpenes?

Cannabis-derived terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis plants. They give each cannabis strain its unique scent and flavor profile but do not contain THC or have psychoactive properties.

Where Are Terpenes Found in the Cannabis Plant?

Terpenes are produced in the resin glands of the cannabis plant, specifically in the trichomes, which are the sticky crystals on the leaves and buds.

How Many Types of Terpenes Exist in Cannabis?

There are over 140 different terpenes identified in cannabis. Each contributes to the plant’s unique aromatic and flavor characteristics.

What Are the Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis-Derived Terpenes?

Cannabis-derived terpenes are believed to offer therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and pain-relieving properties. They may also enhance the synergistic effect when combined with other cannabis compounds.

How Do Terpenes Affect You When Smoking Cannabis?

The terpene profile of a cannabis strain can influence its smell, taste, and potentially its effects on the user due to the entourage effect, which is the synergistic interaction between cannabinoids and terpenes.

What Products Contain Cannabis-Derived Terpenes?

Cannabis-derived terpenes are used in various products, including essential oils, edibles, and concentrates, where they add flavor, aroma, and potentially contribute to the product’s overall effect.

Are Cannabis-Derived Terpenes Legal?

The legality of cannabis-derived terpenes varies depending on geographic location and local cannabis laws. In regions where cannabis is legal, terpenes typically share the same legal status.

How Do You Find Out the Quality of Terpenes?

Try to source cannabis-derived terpenes from reputable suppliers who provide lab-tested products. This ensures purity and safety, especially since terpenes can influence the effects of cannabis products. Quality control is essential, particularly in regions with evolving cannabis markets.

Does Everyone Experience Terpenes Differently?

Yes, individual responses to cannabis-derived terpenes can vary significantly due to factors like body chemistry, tolerance levels, and interaction with other medications. It’s recommended to start with lower concentrations and adjust based on personal experience.