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Myrcene

Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis. This powerful terpene is also found in mangoes, thyme, and hops. Its aroma is described as herbaceous, musky, and earthy.

Myrcene most often produces very relaxing sedative effects, and is the primary compound responsible for the “couch-lock” effects famously associated with cannabis. In addition to powerful sedative effects that are useful for sleep disorders like insomnia, other medicinal benefits of Myrcene include muscle relaxation, gastric protection, and anti-inflammatory action.

 
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Limonene

Limonene is a recognizable terpene found most readily in fruit rinds, particularly citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit. In addition to citrus, Limonene is prevalent in herbs like rosemary and peppermint. The scent is strongly citrusy, sweet-tart, and fresh.

Limonene typically produces mood-elevating effects, promoting stress-relief and a feeling of enhanced focus. Medicinal benefits of Limonene include gastroprotective action such as reducing heartburn, ulcers, and gallstones, as well as anti-fungal properties and useful anti-depressant effects.

 
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Linalool

Linalool is the terpene responsible for the much-beloved scent of lavender oil. In addition to the lavender plant, it can be found naturally in rosewood and sage. The aroma is floral and sweet with hints of citrus.

Linalool has long been valued for its relaxing and calming effects, and cannabis strains with high Linalool percentages typically produce relaxed body-high experiences. Apart from its usefulness for relaxation and sleep, Linalool’s medicinal benefits include immune system support, anti-convulsant properties, and anti-microbial action.

 
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Pinene

Pinene, or α-Pinene, is a well-known terpene responsible for the iconic smell of pine forests. While its most abundant natural source is pine trees, it can also be found in herbs like parsley and dill. The scent is very refreshing, earthy, and woodsy.

Pinene usually produces energizing effects and enhanced alertness, which explains why a hike through the forest can leave you feeling recharged. It has also been reported to increase creativity for some. Medicinal benefits of Pinene include improved airflow and bronchodilation (making it very useful for asthma and other respiratory conditions), anti-inflammatory action, and improved memory retention. Reports suggest that Pinene may be effective for reducing THC-induced memory loss, so consuming Pinene along with THC can be useful for combating unwanted brain fog.

 
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caryophyllene

Caryophyllene, or β-Caryophyllene, is a complex terpene found in many herbs and spices. This terpene is most prevalent in black pepper, cloves, and cotton plants. The sharp aroma is peppery, spicy, and woodsy.

β-Caryophyllene can produce calming sedative effects and is valued for its anti-anxiety properties. In fact, this terpene may be responsible for the reported relief that comes from chewing black peppercorns during acute anxiety attacks. β-Caryophyllene is the only known terpene that can directly activate the CB2 receptor of the endocannabinoid system, giving it powerful pharmacological effects - it has been reported to have anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and gastrointestinal protection benefits.

 
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Terpinolene

Terpinolene is one of the least-abundant terpenes typically found in cannabis, yet its effects on cannabis experience can be pronounced even in small percentages. Naturally found in apples, nutmeg, and tea tree oil, Terpinolene’s scent is floral and herbaceous with a refreshing piney note.

Terpinolene’s effects can vary based on its synergistic action with other cannabis compounds and the individual’s body chemistry. The terpene itself is often sedative and relaxing when used in isolation, but can act as a stimulant when used in conjunction with THC. Medicinal benefits of Terpinolene can include insomnia relief, antioxidant action, and anti-microbial properties.

 
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Eucalyptol

Also known as Cineol or Cineole, Eucalyptol is a powerfully medicinal terpene found in many plants and herbs including ginger, bay laurel, and of course eucalyptus. The aroma is refreshing, minty, and slightly sweet.

Eucalyptol can contribute to energizing, uplifting effects in cannabis strains with high percentages of the terpene. The aroma can have a refreshing effect on the lungs and sinuses, making it a popular ingredient in congestion-relieving salves. Other medicinal benefits of Eucalyptol include improved circulation, anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties, and pain relief.

 
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Humulene

Humulene is a terpene commonly found in cannabis and its plant family cousin, hops. It can also be found in cloves, ginseng, and basil. The scent is earthy, musky, and slightly spicy.

Humulene is also known as α-Caryophyllene due to its near-identical structure to β-Caryophyllene, leading to similarly relaxing effects in many cases. The medicinal benefits of Humulene have been known to Eastern Medicine practitioners for centuries; it is particularly valued as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent, in addition to showing promise as a tumor-fighting medicine. A unique benefit of Humulene may be its effectiveness as an appetite suppressant, making it useful for combating the infamous “munchies” associated with cannabis use.

 
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Nerolidol

Nerolidol is the primary terpene found in Neroli essential oil harvested from bitter orange blossom, and is frequently present in low concentrations in cannabis. Nerolidol is also found in jasmine, citronella, and ginger. The aroma is floral, with notes of citrus fruit and tree bark.

Nerolidol is typically associated with calming, relaxing cannabis effects. The most well-observed medicinal benefits of Nerolidol are anti-parasitic action, treatment and prevention of malaria, and other anti-microbial efficacies. Nerolidol is also noted for its ability to enhance the penetration of topically-applied medicines, making it a popular additive to infused topicals and lotions.

 
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Ocimene

Ocimene is a common terpene in fragrant herbs such as mint, parsley and basil, as well as many orchid flower subspecies. The scent is described as sweet, woodsy, and herbaceous.

Ocimene is often associated with uplifting, energizing cannabis effects. The terpene functions as part of the cannabis plant’s external defense system, which explains its powerful anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. Ocimene’s other medicinal benefits include antioxidant action, cough suppression, and decongestion.

 

Sources:

Russo EB, Marcu J. Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads. Adv Pharmacol. 2017;80:67-134. [PubMed]
Russo EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Aug; 163(7): 1344–1364. [PubMed]