List of Major Terpenes and Their Health Benefits (Chart)

You might have noticed that not all cannabis strains smell the same. Pine, berry, mint… There are more than a few distinctive fragrances in cannabis.

Cannabis has a unique smell. Some people find it unpleasant and overwhelming, while most weed enthusiasts find it very calming and enjoyable. Just like any other plant, pot has components that are responsible for its unique aroma and flavor.

Those components are terpenes, aromatic molecules secreted inside the tiny resin glands of cannabis flowers.

Terpenes chart

Terpene chart

Terpenes produce a citrusy aroma in some strains, fruity and sweet notes in others and, while some may smell and taste like lavender, others can be more earthy and pungent. Certain strains even smell like cheese. But, it’s not all about the smell.

Terpenes also produce a wide range of medical effects and there are at least 80-100 terpenes unique to cannabis—the combination of terpenes, cannabinoids and optimal dosage is responsible for the entire success of medical cannabis.

Exclusive bonus: Download a free dosage guide that will show you the exact step-by-step process Dr. Dustin Sulak used to successfully treat more than 18,000 patients with cannabis.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are organic chemicals constituents of essential oils produced by most plants, and even some animals such as swallowtail butterflies and termites. Terpenes are volatile aromatic molecules—molecules that evaporate easily.

Terpenoids are derivatives of terpenes that have additional atoms due to oxidation, which is what happens when a cannabis flower is dried and cured. The two terms are often used interchangeably and they are pretty much similar in a way.

Terpenes have two very important roles in every plant’s life: They are the primary component of resin and they protect the flowers from predators.

Many industries are using terpenes for making essential oils, health and beauty products—they are even used for making perfumes. Synthetic terpenes are used for flavoring and as food additives.

Here are a few more fun facts about terpenes: Natural rubber is made of them, as are many steroids. Maple syrup contains about 300 different terpenes, which is why it’s so yummy.

But what about cannabis?

Terpenes give each strain its unique smell and taste. Not only that but they also enhance the health effects of cannabis by influencing how we process cannabinoids.

Let’s explore this in more detail.

How terpenes influence the high

What we usually consume from cannabis are flowers.

And just like all other flowers, cannabis flowers have their own recognizable scent.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, there are about 120 terpenes in cannabis.

They are synthesized in the tiny resin glands of cannabis flowers alongside cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

Some of the common cannabis terpenes can be found in other plants, while others are exclusive to cannabis.

But, it’s not all about the smell, as terpenes also have many therapeutic properties: They interact with the endocannabinoid system and assist cannabinoids in entering the bloodstream through a process called the entourage effect.

Myrcene, for instance, increases cell permeability and allows cannabinoids to get absorbed faster than they would get on their own.

Limonene is responsible for increasing serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter in charge of our mood. This explains why different strains may have different effects on our mood. The whole cannabis experience is suddenly starting to make sense, right?

Terpenes and the “Entourage Effect” explained

The “Entourage Effect” is a term coined by S. Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam back in 1998, to represent the biological synergy of cannabinoids and other compounds like flavonoids and terpenes. (1)

Simply put, when we ingest terpenes with cannabinoids (a likely scenario when consuming a whole-plant product), they form a synergistic relationship, playing off on each other’s strengths.

This symbiosis between cannabinoids and terpenes is what gives cannabis its special powers, as it improves the absorption of cannabinoids, overcomes bacterial defense mechanisms and minimizes side effects.

At what temperature do terpenes break down?

Every terpene breaks down at a different temperature: Some smaller terpenes will start breaking down at 21°C (70°F) and others may begin to break down at 37°C (100°F).

Boiling temperatures of terpenes also vary, but generally they start boiling at 155°C (311°F). For example, myrcene boils at 166°C (330°F).

What are the proven health benefits of terpenes?

Some terpenes are very effective in relieving stress, others are great when you need to relax, and some are awesome for boosting focus. There are many options here, as you’ll have a chance to see in the next few minutes.

Take myrcene, one of the most abundant terpenes in cannabis, which is responsible for inducing sleep. Or limonene, the citrusy messenger in charge for making us feel uplifted after smoking a joint.

In recent years, cannabis terpenes have become an important subject of scientific research.

It was Jürg Gertsch who first noticed the ability of beta-caryophyllene to bind to CB2 receptors, calling it “a dietary cannabinoid”. (2)

He also concluded that all green vegetables that contain this terpene are extremely beneficial for human use.

Shortly after that, Dr. Ethan Russo published an article in 2011, in the British Journal of Pharmacology, and pointed out to the therapeutic properties of terpenes in cannabis, especially those missing in cannabis products that only contain a single molecule (CBD oil as a primary example). (3)

Dr. Russo also described the cannabinoid-terpene interaction as a “synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections”.

Further research discovered that terpenes, terpenoids and cannabinoids all have the ability to kill respiratory pathogens, for instance, the MRSA virus.

List of 15 most commonly found terpenes in cannabis

Since there are around 120 terpenes in cannabis, it would take us a while to go over each of them in great detail.

Instead, here are some of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis flowers today.


Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis, which is where it’s mostly found in nature. In fact, one study showed that myrcene makes up as much as 65% of total terpene profile in some strains. (4)

The smell of Myrcene often reminds us of earthy, musky notes, similar to cloves. It also has a fruity, red grape-like aroma.

Strains that contain 0.5% of this terpene are usually indicas, packed full of sedative effects. Myrcene is also supposedly useful in reducing inflammation and chronic pain, which is why it’s usually recommended as a supplement during cancer treatments.

Strains that are rich in myrcene are Skunk XL, White Widow, and Special Kush.

Bonus tip: If you want to experience a stronger buzz from marijuana, eat a mango about 45 minutes before smoking. Mango contains a significant amount of myrcene, so eating it before consuming cannabis will strengthen the effects of THC and increase the absorption rate of other cannabinoids.


Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in cannabis, but not all strains necessarily have it.

As the name itself says, limonene produces a citrusy smell that resembles lemons, which is no surprise as all citrus fruits contain large amounts of this compound. Limonene is used in cosmetics and also in cleaning products.

When it comes to its therapeutic purposes, limonene is a mood-booster and a stress-crusher. Researchers also found it to have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, with one study even announcing that limonene may play a role in reducing tumor size. (5)

Getting a hold of this terpene is easy — strains that have “lemon” or “sour” in their name are usually rich in limonene.

Some good examples of these are O.G. Kush, Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, Durban Poison, Jack Herer, and Jack the Ripper.


If you’ve ever wondered what makes cannabis smell the way it does, myrcene and linalool are to blame. With its spicy and floral notes, this terpene is one of the most abundant in the majority of strains out there and, together with myrcene produces that pungent and spicy scent.

Linalool can also be found in lavender, mint, cinnamon, and coriander. What’s interesting is that just like those aromatic herbs, linalool also produces sedation and relaxation.

Patients suffering from arthritis, depression, seizures, insomnia and even cancer, have all found relief with this amazing terpene.

Some well-known linalool strains are Amnesia Haze, Special Kush, Lavender, LA Confidential, and OG Shark.


Best known for its spicy and peppery note, caryophyllene is also found in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and spices like oregano, basil, and rosemary.

Beta-caryophyllene binds to CB2 receptors, which makes it an ingredient in anti-inflammatory topicals and creams. Caryophyllene is the only terpene that binds to cannabinoid receptors.

Besides its analgesic and anxiolytic properties, some studies have found that caryophyllene has a very promising role in alcohol rehabilitation.

A group of scientists performed research on mice and found that this terpene reduces the voluntary intake of alcohol. They even recommended caryophyllene for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms. (6)

Strains like Super Silver Haze, Skywalker and Rock Star are all rich in caryophyllene.

Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene

These twin terpenes smell like pine trees which is also where they can be found in large amounts. Other plants rich in pinene include rosemary, orange peels, basil, parsley and cannabis, of course.

Like many other, pinene terpenes have an anti-inflammatory effect on humans.

They also help improve the airflow and respiratory functions, while also helping reduce memory loss related to excessive THC consumption. I know that this can sound weird because we’re talking about cannabis, but if the strain is rich in alpha and beta pinene, it can actually help with asthma.

Pinene is also beneficial for patients suffering from arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and even cancer.

Strains that are great sources of pinene are Jack Herer, Strawberry Cough, Blue Dream, Island Sweet Skunk, Dutch Treat, and Romulan.


Alpha-bisabolol (also known as levomenol and bisabolol) has a pleasant floral aroma and is also present in chamomile flower and candeia tree.

This terpene found its use primarily in the cosmetics industry, but lately, it has caught the attention of researchers for its supposed medical benefits.

Alpha-bisabolol proved to be effective in treating bacterial infections and wounds and is a great antioxidant with anti-irritation and analgesic properties.

It can be found in strains like Harle-Tsu, Pink Kush, Headband, OG Shark, and ACDC.


Also known as cineole, eucalyptol is the primary terpene of the eucalyptus tree. It produces minty tones but most cannabis strains only have it in traces. On average, it makes up around 0.06% of the complete cannabis terpene profile.

Eucalyptol is extensively used in cosmetics as well as medicine. When it comes to its medical value, eucalyptol relieves pain but also slows down the growth of bacteria and fungus.

Although it is still in the early stages of research, this terpene has shown some promising effects on Alzheimer’s as well.

You can get your daily dose of eucalyptol with strains like Super Silver Haze and Headband.


This one is a secondary terpene, found mostly in flowers like jasmine, lemongrass, and tea tree oil. Its smell is a mixture of rose, lemon and apple tones, and can be described in general as both woody and citrusy.

Trans-nerolidol is best known for its antiparasitic, antioxidant, antifungal, anticancer and antimicrobial properties.

Strains like Jack Herer, Sweet Skunk, and Skywalker OG are all rich in nerolidol.


Humulene is the first terpene found in hops and its aroma is made up of earthy, woody and spicy notes.

Besides cannabis, it can be also found in clove, sage, and black pepper.

It has many medical properties. Also, it proved to be effective in suppressing appetite, which could make it a potential weight loss tool.

Furthermore, like many other terpenes mentioned above, humulene also reduces inflammation, relieves pain and fights bacterial infections.

You can find humulene in strains like White Widow, Headband, Girl Scout Cookies, Sour Diesel, Pink Kush and Skywalker OG.

Delta 3 Carene

This terpene is found in a number of plants, like rosemary, basil, bell peppers, cedar and pine. Its aroma is sweet and resembles the smell of cypress.

When it comes to its medical properties, Delta 3 carene seems to be beneficial in healing broken bones, which is a beacon of hope for patients suffering from osteoporosis, arthritis and even fibromyalgia.

Interestingly enough, Delta 3 carene stimulates our memory and helps with memory retention. This is a major point in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.


The best way to describe the smell of camphene is fir needles, musky earth, and damp woodlands. Camphene’s aroma is often mistaken with myrcene, which is that trademark marijuana smell as most of us know it.

Camphene has great potential in medicine. When mixed with vitamin C, it becomes a powerful antioxidant and it is widely used in conventional medicine as a topical for skin issues like eczema and psoriasis.

Its greatest potential, however, lies in its ability to lower the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, both of which are connected to many cardiovascular diseases.

Camphene is present in Ghost OG, Strawberry Banana and Mendocino Purps.


Borneol, with its herbal minty scent, can be found in herbs like rosemary, mint, and camphor.

This terpene is a good natural insect repellent, which makes it great for preventing diseases like the West Nile virus, which is passed by ticks, fleas, mosquitoes etc. One study even found that borneol kills breast cancer cells. (7)

Strains high in borneol are Amnesia Haze, Golden Haze, K13 Haze.


The aroma of terpineol can be described as floral-like, reminiscent of lilacs, apple blossom, and a hint of lemon. Terpineol tastes like anise and mint.

Terpineol has a pleasant scent, similar to lilac, and is a common ingredient in perfumes, cosmetics, and food.

It is a well-known relaxant and is usually the one responsible for the notorious couch-lock effect which is often connected with indica strains. Medical benefits of terpineol also include antibiotic and antioxidant properties.

It can be found Girl Scout Cookies, Jack Herer, and OG Kush.


This terpene got its name from sweet Valencia oranges — where it’s present in large amounts. With its sweet citrusy aroma and flavor, it’s also used as an insect repellant.

Even though we don’t know much about valencene, we do know that it can be found in strains like Tangie and Agent Orange.


Besides cannabis, geraniol can be found in lemons and tobacco. Its smell resembles a mixture of rose grass, peaches, and plums.

It’s usually used in aromatic bath products and body lotions.

Geraniol has shown a lot of potential as a neuroprotectant and antioxidant.

It’s present in strains like Amnesia Haze, Great White Shark, Afghani, Headband, Island Sweet Skunk, OG Shark and Master Kush.


  1. Ben-Shabat S, Fride E, Sheskin T, Tamiri T, Rhee MH, Vogel Z, Bisogno T, De Petrocellis L, Di Marzo V, Mechoulam R; An entourage effect: inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol cannabinoid activity; European Journal of Pharmacology; July 1998; 353(1):23-31
  2. Gertsch J, Leonti M, Raduner S, Racz I, Chen JZ, Xie XQ, Altmann KH, Karsak M, Zimmer A; Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; July 2008; 105(26):9099-9104
  3. Russo EB; Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects; British Journal of Pharmacology; August 2011; 163(7): 1344–1364
  4. Mediavilla V, Steinemann S; Essential oil of Cannabis sativa L. strains; Journal of the International Hemp Association, 1997, 4(2):80-82
  5. Miller JA, Lang JE, Ley M, Nagle R, Hsu CH, Thompson PA, Cordova C, Waer A, Chow HH, Human breast tissue disposition and bioactivity of limonene in women with early-stage breast cancer, Cancer Prevention Research, Jun 2013, 6(6):577-584
  6. Al Mansouri S, Ojha S, Al Maamari E, Al Ameri M, Nurulain SM, Bahi A; The cannabinoid receptor 2 agonist, β-caryophyllene, reduced voluntary alcohol intake and attenuated ethanol-induced place preference and sensitivity in mice; Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior; September 2014, 124:260-268
  7. Yang CB, Pei WJ, Zhao J, Cheng YY, Zheng XH, Rong JH; Bornyl caffeate induces apoptosis in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells via the ROS- and JNK-mediated pathways, Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 2014, 35:113–123

94 thoughts on “List of Major Terpenes and Their Health Benefits (Chart)”

  1. Very interested in this. Just not the frustrations of going to the Cannabis Clinic to sit thers for 2 hours beyond my schedualed appointment and still havent skyped eith the Dr. And to be told by the desk people that the Dr. Doesnt perscribe high doses of 18-22%. There was still 4 people that were ahead of me that still had not seen the Dr that you skype with either. I walked out very unhappy and still a 45 minute drive home….ridiculous. can you help with these problems?

    • Sandy, I’m terribly sorry that happened and hope it won’t change your mind on using cannabis. We are working on something rather interesting which should help in situations like yours, so if you haven’t already, sign up to our newsletter so we can let you know about it asap. For the time being, you can browse our website and see if there are any articles that could help you.

    • I loved your article! Bundles of very useful info that alot of patients don’t know about. It will help tremendously when trying to decide what would be the most beneficial for myself and my conditions. Everyone is unique so thank you for making it so easy to understand. After reading this the average person will have a basic idea of what they might need finally.

    • Hi Iris, beta-caryophyllene can be also found in dark leafy green vegetables like spinach and chard. Hope this helps you.

      Btw, I’m so happy you liked my article.

      • hey, first I m ganna to say u thank u for your amazing support.

        I have a question, my biochemistry teacher request me to prepare a presentation about Terpenes, so I got all information except the sources of terpenes so can u help me

  2. Thanks for the information. I knew of some of these terpenes but not their effects or which strain help with which condition. I have multiple ailments and use a variety of strains. I very much appreciate the fact that you included which strain to use for a specific ailment. If you plan to write more on the subject please consider identifying some high CBD strains with varying ratios of CBD to THC. I currently use 1:1 for pain and straight CBD, meaning very low THC levels, for irritable bowel syndrome. I also use CBD to lessen the psychoactive effects of THC, perhaps you address that as well. Thanks again,

  3. Absolutely sublime, very well written and informative. My sister (who is strictly against cannabis in every way) remained rather speechless as I read this article to her. Great job!

  4. Helena,
    Thank you for this infographic, I will share it with my members in my newsletter. Since I work alot with High CBD strains, would like to see more CBD strains listed as examples of the different terpenes…
    It gives people a good idea of the many benefits of cannabis besides the cannabinoids..just the tip of the iceberg!

  5. Thanks so much for the info Helena! Terpenes are an emerging science and it’s refreshing to see people like yourself sharing this type of information. Thanks from your pal in BC, Canada ~Bud

  6. Best article I’ve seen on explaining terpenees. I’m in Oregon in the US. I’m in my 60s & I do have a medical card. I’ve been using cannabis to reduce chronic pain and have just started exploring using terpens. I vaped a Jack Herer Terp Sauce last night & felt immediate relief and did not need my nightly THC capsule to fall asleep. My Rheumatologist is completely supportive of replacing prescription meds with cannabis. Can’t wait to try a specific terpenes with my favorite Sativa. I enjoy your articles. Thanks so much!

  7. I’d be interested in hearing about how long THC stays ‘testable’ in your body fluids.
    Here in strya, the cats out of the bag with recreational use.
    The administration is working on medical use, but first they have to grow it, then denature it, can’t have people getting high, something bad might happen…
    So I choose to self medicate without the administrations permission, it has it’s drawbacks, dealing with black market goods and suppliers.
    Now the administration has dealt an underhand prohibition, they now do roadside tests for Cannabis consumption.
    These tests only indicate presence of THC, they do not determine intoxication.
    There have been convictions where motorists have tested positive, but are not affected.
    I’d like to know a bit more about residual THC.
    Myself I’m only a very light consumer, but I have concerns of being tested and returning a positive result, even though I’m not affected.
    I believe they do a saliva test, or a mouth swab, and I think you have to actually consent, as it is invasive.
    I’m thinking of going to my doc and fessing up, to cover myself for the possibility of a positive THC result.
    Thoughts on any strains, residual THC?

  8. So what if I had a ipa beer with a load of hops added at the end of the boil (which gives the beer “hop flavor” that is coming from the terpenes of the hops)? If terpenes are so wonderful, then ipas could be medicinal!

    • Right, except that hops doesn’t have terpenes. In hops, the alpha acids that bitter beer are actually terpenoids (compounds that are derived from terpenes) called humulone.

      So, in a way you are right. If hops did have terpenes, IPAs would be medical 😀

  9. Great Reading! I think it will be very helpful trying to figure what terpenes and which kinds of cannibus I need to use to enjoy the rest of my life. With cannibus I am getting off the Opoids and feel better than I have in 20 yrs.

  10. Thank you for this very helpful article. i have shared it with my fibro groups. I have so far tried the humulene, very effective, the myrcene, very effective, and the linalool for mood, somewhat effective. I’m interested in the Geraniol for neuroprotection. But cannot find it in Canada yet. The pineen does seem to perk me up a bit as well. I’m currently adding a couple drops to cbd oil. I’m not sure if simply adding a drop or two is the right way to do this? If you have any additional info on use with cbd oil, i would appreciate any information. thanks again!

  11. Thanks so much! LOVED this informative article! Wondering if you could tell me where the ‘skunky’ aroma falls in the terp profiles?

  12. Helena, I was wondering what strains you recommend that contains Delta 3 Carene?
    It sounds like this is a terpene that will be beneficial with several co-morbidities I live with daily:
    1) To keep in my fibromyalgia flares in check;
    2) To build stronger bones, connective tissue and cartilage in the places I where need support—such as my knees, hips my and knuckles;
    3) To stop the excess buildup of bone where it’s not needed, including a painful buildup of bone spurs on the bottom of both my feet, excess calcium deposits hanging off the protruding spinal processes like stalagmites as well as on the insides of the foramen (the hole in the vertebrae where blood vessels and nerves fit safely for the entire length of the spinal column);
    4) relieve pain where the herniated discs compress the C-5/Root nerve that runs down my neck, across the shoulders and down both arms; and
    5) To help my brain access 2 1/2 weeks of memories I completely lost during the time I was undergoing Electo Convulsive Therapy to treat Bipolar Disorder along with random short-term memories from the two months preceding the ECT. The ECT failed to work because it triggered PTSD flashbacks that had been behind a mental firewall.
    According to the research I’ve done and the strains I have sampled in Nevada, California and Colorado I’m trying to choose the most effective strain for each of my diagnoses. I usually micro-vape throughout the day to get the benefit of the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes which keeps THC levels low enough it doesn’t cause intoxication.

  13. I’m amazed at all you have done on this subject I have loved pot for over 30 years and I knew it helped pain and fatigue I hope to read more from you God bless you for all your doing

  14. I can recall not so long ago when if you mentioned the word “terpene” people looked at you like you were from another planet. Glad to see terps getting the recognition they finally deserve 🙂

  15. Great info! I use doterra essential oils and have been learning a lot about terpenes. I’ve been thinking it’s best to use oils and strains that have the same terpenes for more effect. I cant find much info about this so thank you!

  16. Hey

    Is there any guide to dosage recommendations for terpenes (or any experiential info anyone wants to share)? I’m fascinated, just purhcased food grade beta-caryophyllene, am experimenting, as it is “safe at even high doses” according to the FDA.. but I see very little info on how much one might consume orally. info regarding CBD is eveywhere, terpenes still a bit mysterious to me

    Please give feedback *(anyone!) 🙂

  17. Terpenes produce a citrus aroma in some strains, fruity and sweet notes in others and, while some may smell and taste like lavender so terpenes are organic chemicals constituents of essential oils produced by most plants.

  18. Really great infographic.
    I recently read a study stating limonene could have potential as a treatment for sufferers of asthma. Is there anything this plant can’t do? 😀

  19. Great info! I use doterra essential oils and have been learning a lot about terpenes. I’ve been thinking it’s best to use oils and strains that have the same terpenes for more effect. I cant find much info about this so thank you!

  20. Great content, very well written with great information for the general public wanting to know more about terpenes and the specifics! Thank you Helena, we will be looking forward to more articles from you

  21. All real TKO cartridges use the same disposable style pen. We emailed TKO … are fake TKO cartridges? Anything TKO labeled vape cartridge that is not disposable is a fake. … any fake TKO carts. We’ll be doing a review on the real thing soon!


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