Everything You've Ever Wanted To Know About Terpenes

Cannabis 101: Terpenes

Have you ever wondered what gives cannabis its potent scent? The answer is both simplistic and deceivingly complex – Terpenes.

Terpenes are oils that give off a strong fragrance often found is coniferous plants. Many flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables contain terpenes, which give them their signature smells. There are over 100 terpenes that have been identified in cannabis, many of which are unique to the plant.

Though cannabis is generally recognized by the musky, sour scent often called ‘skunky’, as it vaguely resembles the scent of a skunk, there are a wide array of scents which can be found in various cannabis strains.

The five terpenes most commonly found in cannabis are


Some scientists have theorized that terpenes may play a role in the effects cannabis has after consumption, due partially to the fact that so many plants and herbs which shares these terpenes can be used in naturopathic and therapeutic remedies.

This is called the ‘entourage effect’. It implies that these various terpenes are working with cannabinoids found in all strains of cannabis to give different strains not only their unique, varying scents and flavours but also their diverse effects after being consumed.

At this time, this is only a theory, but it is worth noting that scientists are still trying to determine why different strains of cannabis have wildly different impacts on us as human beings.

Though we may not have all the answers yet, understanding terpenes and their impact on different cannabis strains is an important part of helping consumers find the strains of cannabis which are right for them.

Terpene scents can be anything from peppery or spicy to earthy and wood-like to fruity and floral, allowing one strain to smell like fresh berries or candy and another to smell like pine cones. The scent is determined by which terpenes are present in the plant, the amount of each and which terpenes are dominant.

To make matters even more confusing, terpenes can have numerous aromatic profiles, and levels of individual terpenes can vary from crop to crop. This can lead to strain scent inconsistencies, and difficulties in identifying the terpenes present without expensive measuring equipment.

Everyone has preferences for tastes and smells, so having a strong understanding of the different varieties of terpenes can assist consumers with choosing a strain of cannabis. It will not only help you find a strain of cannabis that offers the desired effects you’re searching for, but also offers pleasant, tasty experience while using it.

Here are some examples of the different terpene scent profiles and some other recognizable plant life which contains them.


Citrus and Tangy Cannabis Terpenes


Sweet Fruity and Floral Cannabis Terpenes


Leafy and Herbal Cannabis Terpenes


Spicy Cannabis Terpenes