Cannabis Terpenes: What They Are & Why They’re Important

Your alarm goes off. You rub your eyes and as you slowly wake, you realize that it’s Friday morning! You excitedly roll out of bed and head to the kitchen. You remember you have a few oranges to use, so you slice one up. Pretty soon, your whole kitchen is bright with the scent of citrus! You inhale deeply, close your eyes, and prepare to start your day. You pour yourself a cup of coffee and take your Daily Drops. Feeling elevated yet grounded, you’re ready to head out the door. 


We’re all familiar with the uplifting scent of lemon zest, the invigorating fragrance of pine needles, and of course, the unmistakable aroma of cannabis, but did you know that we have terpenes to thank for each of these experiences? If you’re familiar with CBD, you’ve likely come across the term ‘terpene’. At first glance, it may seem that terpenes are only relevant to the experienced cannabis consumer, but that’s not the case!


Cannabis Terpenes: What They Are & Why They’re Important


What are terpenes?

Cannabis Terpenes: What They Are & Why They're ImportantTerpenes are the aromatic compounds responsible for producing fragrance in plants. In addition, they are the building blocks of essential oils. Because of their volatility, they are easily vaporized in room temperature settings. Eventually, they find their way to your nose and interact with your olfactory receptors, which can lead to meaningful changes in your brain chemistry as a response! This is exactly how the delicate aroma of fresh lavender evokes a sense of calm. 


Humans have been taking advantage of the power of terpenes for centuries. The term ‘terpene’ itself is derived from ‘seqέbιmhος’, which is the Greek term for the terebinth tree. This tree produces terpene-rich resin that many across the Middle East have used as a remedy for countless ailments. 


Our ancestors were certainly onto something! Evidence suggests that terpenes have legitimate therapeutic applications in aromatherapeutic contexts. Although we are still in the early stages of applying modern scientific principles and instruments to study how this class of molecules functions within the body, we have accumulated centuries of anecdotal evidence. Therefore, it’s best to take ancient anecdotes and preliminary evidence with a grain of salt (and sniff of lavender!).


The benefits of CBD terpenes

Here are some of the most common cannabis terpenes found in cannabis plants and their observed potential therapeutic benefits in aromatherapeutic settings.



  • Aroma: Musky
  • Effects: Calming, sedative effects* 
  • Also found in: cloves, citrus, lemongrass, and mango



  • Aroma: Pine
  • Effects: beneficial to memory and alertness*
  • Also found in: pine needles, orange peels, rosemary, frankincense



  • Aroma: spicy, black pepper aroma
  • Effects: associated with a reduction in discomfort*
  • Also found in:  basil, cinnamon, oregano, and gives black pepper its fragrance 


Cannabis Terpenes: What They Are & Why They're ImportantLimonene

  • Aroma: Bright citrus
  • Effects: energizing and mood-elevating, associated with immune support*
  • Also found in: juniper berries, peppermint, and citrus



  • Aroma: allspice, piney yet floral
  • Effects: mood-elevating effects*
  • Also found in: sage, rosemary, and tea tree oil



  • Aroma: earthy
  • Effects: associated with a calming effect* 
  • Also found in: hops, sage, cloves, black pepper, and basil



  • Aroma: Complex floral
  • Effects: mood elevation and stress reduction* 
  • Also found in: lavender, basil, and rose


The importance of cannabis terpenes

Let’s circle back to our favorite plant, Cannabis sativa. These plants are masters of terpene production. Cannabis terpenes are the reason that different varieties have such different, but recognizable scents! 


Structurally speaking, terpenes are somewhat similar to cannabinoids, leading researchers to posit that these aromatic hydrocarbons work in synergy with phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids from the cannabis plant) in our bodies. It is hypothesized that cannabis terpenes play a significant role in facilitating the Entourage Effect. 


The Entourage Effect, simply put, is the result of the hundreds of naturally-occurring phytochemicals in cannabis working synergistically to enhance each other’s effects. This is why full-spectrum CBD products appear to be more effective in smaller doses than isolate (just CBD) products. 


Cannabis Terpenes: What They Are & Why They're Important


Here at Equilibria, we offer full-spectrum products, because we believe that combining the power of terpenes and cannabinoids creates the most effective CBD products we can offer. In conclusion, the next time you take your Daily Drops with your morning brew, remember that you’re not only offering your body the gift of CBD, but CBD in harmony with it’s ancient allies.



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