Top Terpenes - The Next Frontier

Posted December 12 2014

Terpenes are the pungent oils that give cannabis varieties their unique characteristics, from flavors like citrus, berry, and mint, to aromas like pepper and pine.  Secreted by the same glands that produce cannabinoids, every cannabis strain tends toward a unique terpene type and composition, called a terpene profile or fingerprint.  


Terpenes, however, are not only important for flavor and aroma, but also for their synergistic relationship to other compounds in the plant, thereby directly affecting how the body's endocannabinoid receptors respond to cannabis. This is critical when cannabis is used medicinally, and why terpenes have been called "the next frontier in medical cannabis".


Since terpenes have an aesthetic as well as a medicinal purpose, the testing for terpenes becomes a critical step toward comprehensive cannabis analysis.  While over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, research points to the following terpenes as those most sought after by patients and consumers alike,  which is why we have included them in our 11 Terpene Standard Matrix.


α-Bisabolol has a weak sweet floral aroma and is used in various fragrances. It has also been used in cosmetics because of its perceived skin healing properties. Α-Bisabolol is known to have anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.


Caryophyllene contributes to the spiciness of black pepper. Beta-caryophyllene was shown to exert significant anti-inflammatory effects in mice. Has been shown to have antidepressant and anti-alcoholism properties. Beta-caryophyllene does not bind to the cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) and therefore does not exert psychomimetic effects.

Caryophyllene oxide
Woody aroma. May have anti-allergy properties, as well as anti-oxidant properties.


Known for its aromatic properties, α-Humulene has been found to produce anti-inflammatory effects, and has demonstrated potential in the management of inflammatory diseases.


Known for its citrus aroma, Limonene has been shown to be antifungal, anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, dissolves gallstones, mood-enhancer; may treat gastrointestinal complications, heartburn, depression.


Linalool provides a floral, citrus fragrance. Has a relaxing effect, and has been shown to provide anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and anti-acne benefits


Has a musky, earthy herbal aroma with notes of citrus and tropical fruit. Known for its sedating effect, myrcene is also an antioxidant, anti-carcinogenic; good for muscle tension, sleeplessness, pain, inflammation, depression.


α-Pinene and β-Pinene
Pine Scented, α-pinene and β-Pinene have been shown to increase alertness and memory retention. They also act as a bronchodilator, giving anti-asthmatic properties. It has also been shown to be an anti-inflammatory and anti-biotic.


Has a soft smoky, woody odor. Terpinolene has been used as an anti-septic for centuries, and is both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is also used to treat insomnia.


Provides a citrus, fruity aroma, geraniol is a natural anti-oxidant, and has been suggested to have cancer-prevention properties.