Keep in mind that none of this is medical advice. Please speak with your doctor if you are trying to assuage a medical condition.
This Terpene Chart Represents the Frontier of Cannabis Research
Cannabis terpenes are part of a new era of cannabis history and research. Just a few short years ago, the weed community was fixated on different types of plants. How do you compare indica vs sativa? Then, we learned that the type of plant may not matter as much as we thought: Almost everything you smoke is hybrid, so why do weed strains have different effects?
To get you started, we've included a few of the best-understood ones in our terpene chart.
After the Indica and Sativa era came a time of comparing and contrasting tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its non-psychoactive partner, cannabidiol (CBD). Do THC and CBD on their own produce stronger effects? Maybe, though some, citing the Entourage Effect, claim that compounds work better when next to one another, as they occur in nature. Plus, there are many more cannabinoids besides THC and CBD (think: CBG and CBN, for starters).
Today, we understand that terpenes also play a significant role in determining your favorite strain's effects and flavors — hence the need for a terpene chart that explains it all. It turns out that cannabis, the world's favorite crop, is a lot more complicated than we thought. Here's how to get your bearings.
A Terpene Chart To Get Your Bearings
Love skunky weed? Can't resist the sweet aroma of strawberries or pineapple emanating from your favorite weed strain? Like to keep things cool and minty?
No matter what your favorite strain tastes like, you have terpenes to thank.
There are over 100 of these compounds — that we know of. In fact, each strain has its own composition of cannabis terpenes, giving it its unique flavor and effect. Of course, strains with similar genetic makeup (think: strawberry cough and strawberry banana) smell and feel similarly because of their related terpene profiles.
In scientific terms, terpenes are hydrocarbons produced by plants (including cannabis). They exist to help plants defend themselves against disease and animals, and can even help a plant heal itself. Ever used an essential oil? It gets its benefits and smells from the same natural compounds found in a weed terpene chart.
To make matters more complex, these unique compounds may interact differently depending on which others exist in a certain strain. In many ways, we only know the tip of the iceberg when it comes to weed's potential health and therapeutic effects.
What Do Terpenes Do?
They do a lot. Some terpenes make you relax; Others energize. Some inspire creativity; Others put you to sleep. Some that do one thing with another compound function differently in a different strain.
To better understand the terpene chart above, here are some of the approximate effects produced by the best-known compounds.
Understanding A Terpene Chart: What Do Terpenes Do?
- Relaxing: Myrcene, d-limonene, Linalool, Terpinolene
- Energizing: Terpinolene,
- Mood-Boosting: Myrcene
- Creativity-inspiring: Pinene
- Anti-inflammatory: Caryophyllene, Pinene, Humulene
- Anxiety-Reducing: Pinene, Limonene, Borneol
- Pain Relieving: Humulene
- Antibacterial: Ocimene, Bisabolol, Eucalyptol, Trans-nerolidol, Geraniol
- Neuroprotective: Geraniol, Delta 3 Carene, Eucalyptol
- Insect Repelling: Camphene, Borneol, Valencene
Another terpene effect not to be underestimated is aromatherapy. Just like you can find comfort in the effects of essential oils — which, by the way, contain many of the same terpenes as cannabis — cannabis compounds may soothe or comfort.
You'll notice that many compounds in our terpene chart may produce a variety of effects. Just like your favorite strain may make you sleepy and creative, these unique natural compounds can do a lot to the human body.
A Quick Note on Terpene Chart Research
Though many states have legal weed, cannabis is still illegal on a federal level and in much of the world. This has had serious long-term consequences on cannabis research: Unlike other plants (eucalyptus or ginger, for example), cannabis has been subject to strict laws around how and when it can be studied, as well as funding restrictions.
Much of the information we've added to this cannabis terpene chart is brand-new and therefore subject to change. Do not take any of it as medical advice and speak with your doctor if you're worried about your health.
The 9 Compounds in This Terpenes Chart
In many ways, weed is like wine: The best strains feature different flavor notes, which a trained nose can identify. Its unique smells, flavors, and effects are a big part of the fun for longtime smokers.
Myrcene: This Terpene Chart's Most Common Weed Compound
- Found in: Weed, hops (beer), bay, thyme, mango, and lemongrass
- Smell: Spicy and peppery
- Effects: Calming
Wondering which of these compounds you've tasted before? Chances are, it's Myrcene, which is found in a lot of the most popular commercial weed strains. This is because Myrcene is dominant and often found in cannabis flower, the part you smoke in your silicone bong.
Some associate Indica strains with significant amounts of Myrcene, thanks to its calming effect as shown in our terpene chart.
High-Myrcene Terpene Strains
- Granddaddy Purple
- OG Kush
- Blue Dream
Use this terpene chart to take your knowledge of the herb to the next level... and potentially discover what you do (or don't) enjoy from your favorite strains.
The Limonene (d-Limonene) Terpene Is Known for Its Fragrance
- Found in: Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, weed, and juniper
- Smell: citrus
- Effects: calming, mood-boosting, tumor reducing, aids in absorbing other terpenes
Name sound familiar? Limonene, another compound found in our terpene chart, is known for smelling like lemons. That's because Limonene is also present in lemon, orange, lime, and grapefruit rinds. In addition to possessing a relaxing smell, Limonene is also famed for its antimicrobial properties. This means that it may stop the growth of microbes like bacteria, fungus, and viruses.
Ever wonder why so many natural cleaning products have a lemony scent? That's because they're harnessing Limonene's antimicrobial properties.
Not only does Limonene, one of the compounds included in our terpene chart, have a soothing smell and antimicrobial properties, but it may also be a mood booster and aid in the absorption of other terpenes. Studies also suggest that the compound may slow the growth of tumors, including breast cancer tumors according to a study published in Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology.
High Limonene Strains
- Liberty Haze
- Cookies and Cream
- Lemon G
- Emerald Jack
Not all strains that contain Limonene smell like lemons. This may be due to the prevalence of other terpenes as well, which may produce different smells and effects when combined.
The Pinene Terpene Is Found in Myriad Plants
- Found in: Pine trees, basil, weed, rosemary, citrus
- Smell: Pine
- Effects: Anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, pain relief
Named after the pine tree, Pinene is known for amplifying a smoker's high. In other words, not only does it have a comforting, nostalgic smell, but it may actually make your favorite strain's effects stronger. Like other compounds found in this terpene chart, Pinene is anti-inflammatory.
Something that is anti-inflammatory reduces swelling, pain, and redness. Not only can inflammation be painful (think: headaches, sports injuries), but it can also lead to serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease.
Since Pinene may be an anti-inflammatory, it may also reduce pain. Other potential benefits include reducing anxiety and even helping open airways. Again, please do not read this as medical advice and speak with your doctor if you're experiencing these conditions.
High Pinene Terpene Strains
- Blue Dream
- Jack Herer
- OG Kush
How Are Cannabis Terpenes Produced?
Just like THC and CBD, terpenes are secreted from trichomes: the hair-like crystals that produce the oil that makes cannabis so potent. Trichomes don't exist just for our benefit, though: Plants adapted to produce these oils to defend themselves against insects while attracting pollinators.
Every cannabis plant (and approximately 30% of plants in total) have terpene-producing trichomes. But each strain has a somewhat different composition, which makes it uniquely flavorful and potent.
Effects Vary from Strain to Strain
For a long time, we thought that Indica vs Sativa was the deciding factor when it came to strain potency and effects. Indicas are "relaxing" while sativas are "energizing."
Today, most strains you'll encounter are hybrids of the two, making this distinction increasingly murky. Beyond that, indicas and sativas actually have similar levels of THC, so it isn't like "energizing" sativas have more of cannabis' main active compound.
So what distinguishes a strain from another in terms of effects? Terpenes.
Cannabis terpenes may make a strain awakening, creativity-inspiring, relaxing, mood-boosting, stress-relieving, sleep-promoting and so much more. They may also contribute to strains' unique medical and medicinal applications: some are anti-inflammatory, while others are anti-anxiety, insect-repelling, or pain-relieving.
Understanding Medicinal Cannabis
If you have a serious medical condition, please speak to an actual doctor. Though this terpene chart suggests that certain strains may have medicinal applications, please note that none of this is medical advice and we are not doctors. Though there are many amazing applications for cannabis, the research on terpenes and other cannabis compounds is thin, at best.
A Terpene Chart and the Future of Cannabis
A few years ago, the cannabis community was fixated on the distinctions between different types of plants. Then, it became the difference between cannabinoids, like CBD, and how these determine what you feel. Today, we understand that terpenes, organic compounds produced by a variety of plants besides weed, separate one weed strain from another in terms of benefits, effects, and flavor.
The world of terpenes can be overwhelming. Though there's no need to remember them all, keep a few of them in mind if you're headed to a dispensary so you can talk about your ideal effects and favorite strains. Better yet, bring this terpene chart with you