The Role of Terpenes in Cannabis Flowers and Their Effects

Cannabis flower is available in a wide range of potencies and styles. Consumers can choose from loose flowers, pre-rolls, or cannabis concentrates.

The trichome glands of the cannabis plant create terpenes, which are organic chemical substances. They produce unique smells and flavors that dabbers can enjoy. They also help to deliver therapeutic effects via the endocannabinoid system.


Myrcene is the terpene found in cannabis plants most frequently. You can get this from WholesomeCo; it has a low boiling point and a piney, earthy smell. When taken orally, it might contribute to a calming and drowsy effect. Additionally, myrcene may have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in hops and cloves.

Myrcene interacts with the TRPV1 receptor in the brain to reduce anxiety and pain. It can act as an analgesic and can be combined with THC to provide a synergistic effect. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and can even help prevent cancer.

Myrcene is a monoterpene, a type of hydrocarbon made from two or more isoprene units linked together (Scheme 1). Various microbial transformation reactions can convert it into a diol or a sesquiterpene. In the cannabis plant, it can also oxidize to myrcene acid, a precursor to the production of THC and CBD (Scheme 2). The oxidation reaction is aided by the cytochrome P-450 isoenzymes, a powerful generator of reactive oxygen species in the cell (Scheme 3).


This terpene is a potent anti-inflammatory known as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene (also pineal). It’s abundant in pine trees, conifers, orange peel, dill, rosemary, and basil. Scientific studies have demonstrated that it is a bronchodilator, making breathing easier and improving lung function. It may help those with asthma. It has been reported to boost focus, personal satisfaction, and energy levels. Studies have also shown that it inhibits viral activity in cell culture, reduces airway hyper-responsiveness, and can be an effective treatment for bronchitis.

When combined with THC, pinene increases the strength of its effects. This terpene may decrease the memory loss caused by THC and helps with anxiety and depression. It is also a natural insect repellent with strong antibacterial properties, making it an essential ingredient in many cleaning products. It can help ease respiratory ailments and has been found to improve strep throat. For a good dose of this terpene, inhale the aroma from a pine forest, or practice shinrin-yoku, the Japanese tradition of taking in the healing scents of nature.


One of the terpenes found most frequently in cannabis plants is limonene, also called lemon oil. With a zesty citrus aroma, this terpene produces uplifting effects that help to combat anxiety. It is thought to promote focus and mental alertness and reduce stress.

Like the other terpenes, it is produced in the plant as a defense mechanism and helps to keep pests away. It is often used as a fragrance in cosmetic products, household cleaners, and more. It has many beneficial properties, including its ability to reduce depression, lower blood pressure, and increase appetite.

Limonene is most commonly extracted using supercritical CO2, allowing large quantities to be recovered compared to traditional extraction methods. However, genetics, growing conditions, and curing will all affect the concentration of limonene in a strain. The highest amounts of limonene are found in plants with high sun exposure. This terpene can reduce symptoms of inflammation such as acne, psoriasis, and arthritis in humans.


Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) is a spicy and musky terpene that gives strains with high levels of this terpene a distinct peppery scent. In nature, it’s mainly found in black pepper, basil, cloves, oregano, hops, and cinnamon. It is responsible for the pungency you may notice when smelling cracked pepper.

This bicyclic sesquiterpene is unique because it contains a cyclobutane ring and a trans-double bond in a 9-membered call, both rare in the natural world. It’s also a larger molecule than other terpenes, such as myrcene and limonene, which allows it to act as a cannabinoid itself by binding to CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

Just like humulene, beta-caryophyllene is known to help ease anxiety and reduce pain and inflammation. When applied topically, it also helps relieve skin itch and irritation.

Pinene Oxide

The aromatic terpene pinene is responsible for the pine and fir tree scent found in many cannabis strains. It is believed to promote relaxation and boost appetite. It also appears to be a potent anti-inflammatory.

Isomerization of aa-pinene oxide has been extensively studied theoretically and experimentally over various heterogeneous catalysts in different solvents. The reaction yields two main value-added products, amphoteric aldehyde, and trans-carveol, used in perfumes and flavors. A generic first-order kinetic model which describes parallel routes and consecutive route formation has been developed.

Zeolites (especially zeolite USY) are popular catalysts for this isomerization due to their high conversion and selectivity. It is attributed to the numerous highly dispersed Lewis acid sites and good porosity, facilitating solvent accessibility. However, the isomerization rate is affected by temperature, which influences the product distribution. Solvent basicity and polarity are also essential factors that influence the isomerization reaction.