Terpenes are active organic compounds found in different tissues of living plants. These compounds are also found in the essential oils of many plants. They contribute to the flavor and aroma of the Cannabis plant and act as biosynthetic cellular messengers. Although Terpenes are mostly known for their aromatic and flavor-producing effects they also have unique positive effects on the human body (of which we won’t be discussing here-in).
These compounds are common in numerous plants, including Conifer Trees, Perennial Flowers, Cooking Herbs, and Hemp & Cannabis plants. They are what help create unique tastes, smells, and effects across different Cannabis genetics. They also make fresh herbs in food so delicious!
Terpenes are the fragrant oils that create the unique aroma profiles of plants because of their chemical structure. Beyond the aromatics, terpenes are blended to create unique flavor profiles used in the manufacturing of Cannabis Products.
Although there are over 20,000 terpenes across all plants, there are approximately 200 terpenes detected in the Cannabis Plant today. As Cannabis becomes more mainstream, and with increasing genetic diversity, the specific Terpenes and their amounts will provide an ever increasing variety of products available to consumers.
“All Cannabinoids – CBD, CBG, CBN, THC, et cetera – are all technically Terpenes and are unique to the Cannabis plant itself!”
The following Terpenes are all found in both Cannabis Plants and other plants. We hope that their brief descriptions will help you better understand how CBD Products can use Terpenes to create flavor profiles naturally, and without artificial flavorings. The following 30 Terpenes have made the greatest impact on the manufacturing quality, and effect, of Cannabis products.
Terpenes in Review
The most common terpene found in the Cannabis Plant, Myrcene is also commonly found in Thyme, Hops, Lemongrass, Mango, Bay Leaf, and Cardamom. It has an earthy, musky, herbal, and spicy flavor profile commonly associated with cannabis, beer, and clove.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrcene
Another terpene commonly found in Hemp/Cannabis, Limonene is also found in Citrus Rinds (Lemon, Orange, et cetera), Rosemary, Juniper, Peppermints, Fennel, and some Trees (ex: Maple, Sumac, Firs, Douglas Fir). It has a Piney and Citrus flavor profile commonly associated with both Lemons and other popular citrus fruits. Limonene is also an ingredient in cleaning products for a pleasant aroma.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limonene
A terpene found in certain Hemp/Cannabis strains, Caryophyllene is also commonly found in essential oils like Clove Oil, Cinnamon, Rosemary, and Hops. It has a Woody and Peppery flavor profile associated with Cracked Pepper, Clove, Cinnamon, and Thai Basil.
The Caryophyllene compound is quite common, yet the whereabouts of its discovery remains a mystery as well as the substance that produces it. Some speculate it is a terpene while others agree that it does not meet the true definition of terpenes because it does not contain a 12-15 carbon chain.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caryophyllene
A less common Terpene found in the Hemp/Cannabis plant, Terpinolene is also commonly found in Nutmeg, Sage, Lilacs, Cumin, and Apples. It has Floral, Piney, Herbal, and Lime Citrus flavor profiles associate with Tea Tree Oil, Confier Trees, and Cardamom.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terpinene
The most abundant Terpene found on Earth, Pinene is commonly found in numerous plant organics including Pine Needles, Rosemary, Sage, Dill, Parsley, Orange Peels, and Basil giving this Terpene an Earthy and Pine aromas.
Pinene is often isolated naturally from Pine Trees or Christmas Trees and has found application as an ingredient in various natural products. Natural sources of Pinene include the resins and oils found in pine tree needles, wood, and turpentine. Pinene is isolated from plant oils from the Mexican fir tree (Abies religiosa) and the plant’s needles.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinene
A Terpene first discovered in Hops, Humulene is found in conifers, cannabis, ginseng, and black pepper. It has a fresh piney-woody scent with notes reminiscent of eucalyptus and camphor. It is also commonly found in beer and provides a long-lasting aromatic flavor.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humulene
A Terpene with growing popularity in Hemp/Cannabis genetics, Ocimene is commonly found in Mint, Orchids, Tarragon, and Parsley. It has a sweet, floral, citrusy flavor profile and is used in the manufacturing of perfume.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocimene
A terpene found in various flowering plants including the Hemp/Cannabis plant and Lavender. Linalool has a Citrus, Lavender, Mint, and Fresh Floral aroma and is used as both a fragrance and flavor enhancer.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linalool
A terpene found in a few plants including Guaiacum, Pines, and Hemp/Cannabis. Guaiol has both a fresh Rosey and Woody aroma.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaiol
Sometimes called Levomenol, Bisabolol is a less common Terpene found in Chamomile Flowers, the Candeia Tree, and the Cannabis Plant. It has a slightly sweet and floral aroma and is used within the cosmetics industry for hundreds of years.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bisabolol
Naturally found in Tea Tree Oil, Jasmine, Lavender, and Lemongrass, the Nerolidol Terpene has the aroma of Roses, Apples, Citruses, Tree Bark, and Floral notes.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerolidol
Sometimes called Cineole, Eucalyptol is the most common compound found in Eucalyptus Oil but is also found in Sweet Basil, Sage, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Bay Leaves. It has a fresh Minty, and Spicy aroma and is used in Flavor Profiles, Cosmetics, Fragrances, and Menthol Cigarettes.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptol
Naturally occurring in a variety of plants, including Basil, Bell Peppers, Cedar, Pine, and Cannabis, the Carene Terpene has an aroma that is Earthy, Sweet, Citrusy, and Musky. Some describe it as being reminiscent of walking through an Old Growth Forest.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-Carene
Naturally occurring in Holm Oak, Norway Spruce, and Hemp, the Savinene Terpene has an aroma of Black Pepper, Fir Needles, and Spice. It is aromatically similar to both Myrcene and Camphene but has a hint of Pumpkin Pie and Carrots.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabinene
The Borneol Terpene, naturally produced by Daisys, Wormwood, Rosemary, Mint, Camphor, and Cannabis Plants, has a Minty, Woody, Bitter, and Subtle Metallic flavor. One of its isomers – Isoborneol – has a Woody, Spicy aroma and flavor.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borneol
A floral Terpene with an aroma of Lilacs, Limes, Mint, and Anise Terpineol is in over 150 different plants including Pine Oil and the Cannabis Plant.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terpineol
Commonly obtained from Valencia Oranges and Olive Oil, the Valencene Terpene has a Citrusy and sometimes Fresh Cut Wood and is in certain strains of the Cannabis Plant.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valencene
Common in the Tobacco, Geraniums, Carrots, and Lemons, the Geraniol Terpene has aromas of Citrus, Stone Fruits, and Roses. It is also produced naturally by Bees to mark nectar-producing flowers and the entrance of their hives.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraniol
Having an aroma of Fir Needles, the Camphene Terpene is often mistaken as Myrcene or Sabinene. It was previously used as Lamp Fuel Oil during the early to Mid-19th century. Eventually, its use was replaced by kerosene. It occurs naturally in the Ginger, Nutmeg, Rosemary, and Hemp Plants.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camphene
Naturally occurring in Eucalyptus Dives, Eucalyptus, Dill, and Tumeric, the Phellandrene Terpene has a Peppery, Minty, and slightly Citrusy aroma.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phellandrene
Found in small quantities in the Cannabis Plant, Phytol has a faint floral and grassy aroma. Commonly found in Green Teas such as Matcha.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytol
Having a strong Peppermint Aroma, the Terpene Pulegone is often used as a flavoring agent, as well as in perfumes. It is comparable to Eucalyptol as they both are similar to their Sweet, and Minty, Aroma. It is found naturally in the Palo Santo, Rosemary, Peppermint, Catnip, and Hemp Plants.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulegone
Naturally occurring in Citronella, Chamomile, Peaches, and Lemon Grass, the Farnesol Terpene has a Floral, and Sweet aroma.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farnesol
Occurring naturally in Cedar Trees and the Cannabis Plant, the Cedrene Terpene has a Woody, Sweet, and Fresh aroma.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cedrene
Although widely associated with Cigarettes, the Menthol Terpene is naturally occurring in the Spearmint, Peppermint, and Hemp Plant. It provides a Cooling yet Minty flavor.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menthol
With aromas of Pine, Lemon, and Camphor, the Fenchol Terpene is a major flavor component of Basil and is found widely throughout nature.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenchol
Found naturally in Cumin, Thyme, and other 100 other plants, the Terpene Cymene has an Earthy and Musty aroma.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P-Cymene
Having a sweet, woody, and floral aroma, the Elemene Terpene is typically found in certain types of Ginger and Cannabis.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elemene
With its sweet and woody aroma, Eudesmol is found in certain types of Ginger and Cannabis.
Additional Info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha-eudesmol_synthase
As time goes on, more complex terpene profiles will be produced through Pheno-Hunting campaigns in the Cannabis grow rooms and farms across the US and world. There will be a time where cannabis varietals will match the wine industry in complexity and richness.
We live in a wonderful time. Enjoy the journey!
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