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We’ve long heard about terpenes in general plants like vegetables, flowers, and fruits. What relationship do they have with cannabis? Are terpenes cannabinoids? Would they get you high after consumption? Let’s discuss some myths and facts about terpenes and how they contribute to the cannabis industry at large.

What are Terpenes Exactly?

Terpenes are part of the natural composition of most plants including cannabis. While chlorophyll is responsible for the greenness of plants, terpenes are known to give the flavors, aromas, and sometimes coloration found in a few plant species. With cannabis, terpenes provide the  smell and taste that enables us to differentiate strains from one another. Studies also show that terpenes contribute to the therapeutic properties of cannabis.

Terpenes are present in plants primarily for protection against bugs and other predators. They are also influential in helping plant species attract pollinators for reproduction. Interestingly, they also have significant health benefits which may range from anxiety relief to helping with neurodegenerative disorders. 

What do Terpenes Do?

Just as with every naturally occurring chemical with therapeutic properties, we still have not narrowed down all of terpenes’ capabilities. It is clear that the compound is responsible for the different strains associated with cannabinoid products. Terpenes in cannabinoids explain why two products with similar THC levels would produce different user experiences.

Can Terpenes Get you High?

Terpenes would not give you the “traditional” high feeling like many cannabinoid products would. However, some terpenes have psychoactive traits. Terpenes are not primarily intoxicating but they contribute to the therapeutic effect known in THC. 

Some Facts About Terpenes

Terpenes are not Cannabinoids

Aside from the two most common and abundantly studied cannabinoids, CBD and THC, there are many others found in cannabis. Terpenes are not cannabinoids, however, just like cannabinoids, we can trace the therapeutic effects of cannabis products to them. Cannabinoids, terpenes, and other chemical compounds interact together to give the sensation and effects we experience when consuming cannabis products

Terpenes have Anti-cancer & Anti-depressant Properties

A common terpene called Beta-caryophyllene has been proven to have medicinal properties to help anxiety and depression. Beta-caryophyllene is one of the key ingredients in rosemary, cloves, and hops which are known for their relaxation and soothing effects. Beta-pinene, another common terpene, also provides the mind with the right amount of antidepressant properties.

Terpenes have Energizing Effects

Most terpenes are known for their energizing effects. Humulene, a common terpene present in ginseng, is commonly used as a traditional remedy for energizing the sick. Folk medicine has long since utilized terpenes as one of its most-effective energizing supplements.

Myths about Terpenes

You Cannot Smell Terpenes from any Cannabis Product

Contrary to what budtenders say to market their products, users can never smell the terpenes off any cannabis product. Just the same way no one can smell THC from a cannabis product, it is impossible to detect terpenes through the sense of smell. Like cannabinoids, these components are detected by lab testing. 

Not Effective in CBD oils

Due to the concentration of terpenes found in some CBD oils, many critics believe terpenes reduce the efficacy of the products. Most claim that the enormous amount of terpenes in CBD oils may reduce the cannabinoid components. Contrary to that, research has shown that quality CBD oils contain the right ratio of terpenes and other components. Hence CBD oils still retain their therapeutic pain, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, and anxiety relief benefits. 


Terpenes are generally known for playing important roles in synergistically working (entouraging) with cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are more effective when we introduce terpenes because they help eliminate the blood-brain barrier defect. With terpenes present in the cannabis composition, a person’s endocannabinoid system can now absorb more cannabinoids into the body.

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