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What are Terpenes?

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Terpenes are responsible for the smell of Cannabis. They are composed of a five-carbon isoprene compound. Terpenes are also responsible for this difference in flavor among different strains.

Just like cannabinoids, there are over 100 terpenes present in the Cannabis sativa plant. However, there are six key terpenes that are most potent in the plant itself.

First, Myrcene terpene; this terpene is the primary one found in cannabis plants, making up to “65 percent of their terpene profile made up by myrcene alone.” (Jacobs, 2020). In fact, the amount of Myrcene affects whether or not a strain is Indica or Sativa. More than 0.5% is considered an Indica strain, while any less than that can be viewed as a Sativa strain. This terpene also has relaxing effects and is found in strains such as White Widow (Jacobs, 2020).

The terpene that follows in high amounts is the Limonene terpene. As the name suggests, this terpene is responsible for many plants’ citrusy smell. This terpene has been known to be associated with strains common for reducing stress, such as Sour Diesel and OG Kush.

The Pinene terpene is typically found in conifers (i.e., pine trees). This terpene gives the plant a piney smell and can be found in the Blue Dream.

Linalool is a terpene that has the classic lavender aroma. Many use this particular terpene for its stress-reducing properties as well. Strains include Special Kush and OG Shark.

The beta-Caryophyllene terpene is responsible for a distinct wood-like smell and is found in cinnamon. This is prevalent in strains such as Skywalker and Super Silver Haze and has been used for depression and reducing anxiety.

Finally, the Humulene terpene is responsible for an increase in appetite and helps with nausea. Found in hops and basil, this terpene has slightly bitter notes and can be found in Girl Scout Cookies and Sour Diesel.

So when making infused products, how do you determine the amount of concentration of a terpene? When working in a laboratory setting, you will need to produce a Certificate of Analysis or COA. Your COA will include Sample information, Test information, and Final Approval.

You will need to include details such as the batch ID, report date, and methods used for cannabinoid potency levels. For testing information, you want to isolate the following data: Cannabinoid Potency, Terpene Profile Analysis, Residual Solvent Analysis, Microbial Contamination, Pesticides, and Heavy Metals (“How to read your CoA,” 2020).