What Are Terpenes in Marijuana?

What Are Terpenes in Marijuana

Most cannabis users know that there are no two identical marijuana strains. From citrus smells to earthy aromas, the many flavours of marijuana can add to your experience. But you might be wondering what causes the differences in the aromas and tastes in different strains. The terpenes are the answer. 

About Terpenes

The terpenes are oils that the glands of the plant secrete. More than 100 terpenes have been identified, and each one has its own smell, effects, and flavour. For instance, the terpenes are what give Pineapple Twist its fruity, sweet taste and Sour Diesel its skunky smell. 

The terpenes are a great part of the marijuana plant, but they are not just found in cannabis. You can find them in every plant, which is why each aroma and flavour of the terpenes are named after plants. For instance, breeders have integrated the terpenes that give cherries their smell with cannabis to create Cherry OG. Plus, combining the terpenes can create unique tastes and smells, such as diesel and skunk. 

About the Chemistry

The word terpene refers to many different chemical components that can affect the smell and taste of plants, including vegetables and fruits. You can also divide terpenes into types.

Examples of monoterpenes include terpinolene, limonene, and myrcene. These are considered to be light terpenes, which can give you floral scents, such as rose, kiwi, or apple. 

On the other hand, sesquiterpenes are considered to be heavier. They can give you stronger scents, such as musk, diesel fuel, or tea tree. Examples of these terpenes include humulene and caryophyllene.

Monoterpenes can evaporate faster once the plant has been cut down. For instance, after decarboxylation and dry curing, there might be around 55 to 85 percent less monoterpenes. That means that the heavier sesquiterpenes, which remain in larger concentrations, will influence the aroma and scent more than the monoterpenes. This is why decarboxylated marijuana often tends to be more pungent since there are few, if any, monoterpenes remaining. 

Kinds of Terpenes

Kinds of Terpenes 

A common type of terpene is limonene, which offers a zesty, citrusy flavour. You can find it in tropical strains of cannabis, such as Jack Herer and Pineapple Express. Some people believe that these strains have potential depression-fighting effects. This is because of the high amount of limonene in them. 

Many medical cannabis users look for limonene. Some people use this terpene if they have cancer, want to try to lose weight, or have bronchitis. You can find limonene in many cannabis ointments and creams for the skin. 


If you have ever used a strain such as Blue Dream and fallen asleep right after, you might have experienced myrcene. Many people who have insomnia use it to try to alleviate their symptoms. Others believe that this terpene can have antiproliferative, antidiabetic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties, as well.

Because it can make you feel more sedated, myrcene often is used by those who are in pain. You can find it in nature in sweet basil, mangos, thyme, bay, hops, and parsley. If you have heard about eating mangos to try to increase your high, it is because of this terpene found in the fruit.

Delta 3 Carene

Some people use this terpene for its potential anti-inflammatory effects. Many people also believe that it has soothing properties. If you have hurt yourself, then you can use this terpene to try to dry up bodily fluids. Even taking just one hit can affect you right away. You can find this terpene in many different strains of cannabis. Plus, you can also naturally find it in the rosemary herb. 

Preserving the Terpenes

To get the most benefits out of the terpenes, you should try to ensure that the flavour is fresh. One of the most important steps is to package your cannabis properly. There are a few best practices to follow.

Avoiding Plastic

Plastic, such as plastic sandwich bags, is one of the worst ways of preserving your weed. Unfortunately, too many marijuana users choose this method for storing weed. They do not keep out cold, moisture, heat, light, or air from the cannabis. Sealable ones don’t do much, either. 

Plastic is not good for keeping your cannabis fresh because it can have a static charge. This will pull the trichomes and terpenes from the plant matter to the plastic. That will create a fine powder that will be impossible to get from the bag to your joint.

It might seem convenient and quick to store cannabis in a plastic bag. However, it will not preserve the unique flavour profile or the effects that you want. 

Avoiding Plastic

Using Glass

Glass is a much better option for storing your cannabis because it can keep the air out better. Plus, there are no potentially harmful chemical components that could attack the terpenes. When you visit a dispensary, you should bring your own glass jars, so your budtender can fill the instead of putting it in plastic bags. If you order cannabis online, you should put it in plastic bags immediately. 

Storage of Your Cannabis

You should keep your marijuana in a safe environment. If there is a lot of moisture, you might have mildew building up on the marijuana. If there is not enough moisture, however, your cannabis can dry out and will not taste very good. 

You should store your marijuana in jars in a cool and dark area to keep the terpenes in the right area. The containers should be mostly full since having extra space can allow mildew, humidity, or heat to enter the area. 

Closing Thoughts 

Knowing the right way to identify your terpenes, whether they are berry or forest-scented, you can become a more well-rounded cannabis connoisseur. If you grow your own at home, knowing more about terpenes can give you a bit more control over the way that your crop turns out. Plus, you will gain a deeper appreciation for what you are really inhaling when you smoke.

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