If you are familiar with “essential oils” then you already have some experience with terpenes. Terpenes are compounds found in cannabis and many other plants, herbs, and fruits and are responsible for their aromas, flavor, and physiological effects. Though scent is what terpenes generally are known for, they play an equally important role in influencing how we feel and are known to have anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties.

What do they do?

Throughout history, terpenes have been used for a wide variety of purposes, from food flavoring, to perfumery, to therapeutic uses, but the most noteworthy role terpenes play, is in our consumption of food. Also, terpenes are widely used with cannabis concentrates, both for dabbing and vaping. They are a common component in cannabis vape cartridges.

Terpenes are found in high quantities in various essential oils. The terpenes in these essential oils are responsible to the uplifting affects you experience if you smell the rind of a lemon or walk through a pine forest.

For example, limonene is in the essential oil of lemons and limes, the familiar smell of lavender is created by linalool, and another common terpene is pinene, found in – you guessed it – pine needles.

Terpenes can be mixed with water or beverages and are safe to ingest when rated “Food Grade or GRAS”. “GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognized As Safe and refers to food additives. All of Golden Apple Cannabis Co. terpene products are steam distilled, organic, and food-grade.

Terpenes in Cannabis

From skunky, to fruity, to floral, the bouquet of smells associated with cannabis can be highly diverse and varied from cultivar to cultivar. There are over a hundred different terpenes found in cannabis, which have evolved with the cannabis plant as a defense mechanism against bacteria, fungi, insects, and other pests.

Terpenes are produced depending on external factors such as humidity, light intensity, and temperature. It is for this reason different plants have different terpenes. As such, the difference between the effects of an “Indica” versus a “Sativa” is mainly in the terpene profile of the plant.

Energizing/Uplifting Terpenes:

  • Limonene
  • Pinene
  • Terpinolene

Sedating/Relaxing Terpenes:

  • Myrcene
  • Caryophyllene
  • Linalool

Terpenes, CBD, and the Entourage Effect

The diverse palate of cannabis flavors is impressive enough, but arguably the most fascinating characteristic of terpenes is their ability to interact synergistically with other compounds in the plant, like cannabinoids.

A groundbreaking 2011 paper by neurologist and researcher Ethan Russo described the way cannabinoids and terpenes work together to boost and modulate the effects of one another in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) – phenomenon known today as the entourage effect. In case you are unaware, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body;

For a long time, THC was considered the only chemical of psychoactive importance in cannabis. Russo and team helped reveal how other cannabinoids (like CBD) and terpenes can either increase or decrease the effects of THC and other chemicals in the body that interact with the ECS.

It is this process that led people to believe that full-spectrum products are better than CBD isolates when it comes to improve your general health. In case you were leaning toward a CBD isolate, you might want to rethink that now that you know terpenes are key to the entourage effect.

What Are The Benefits of Terpenes?

Their differences may be subtle, but terpenes can add great depth to the horticultural art and connoisseurship of cannabis. Most importantly, terpenes may offer incredible medical value as they mediate our body’s interaction with therapeutic cannabinoids. A breakdown of most common terpenes found in cannabis cultivars:


Known to stimulate the immune system, reduce anxiety and depression, elevate mood, and relieve stress. Limonene can be found in citrus rinds, rosemary, juniper, peppermint, and cannabis.
Aroma : Fresh – citrus


Myrcene is known for its sedative effects, as well as a muscle relaxant, and for fighting pain and inflammation. Myrcene can be found in mangos, hops, lemongrass, thyme, and cannabis.
Aroma : Earthy


Linalool is known for its relaxing, anti-anxiety, and analgesic properties. Linalool can be found in lavender, cinnamon, birch trees, and cannabis.
Aroma : Floral

alpha pinene

This anti-inflammatory compound is also a bronchodilator, and may even aid in memory retention, and keeping focus. It can be found in pine needles, dill, parsley, basil, and cannabis.
Aroma : Woody

beta caryophyllene

This spicy terpene may be able to boost your mood while fighting inflammatory and neuropathic pain. It can be found in black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and cannabis.
Aroma : Spicy


This terpene is studied for its antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. Terpinolene can be found in rosemary, tea trees, apples, cumin, nutmeg, and cannabis.
Aroma : Herbal


While terpenes are most known for their scents and flavors, their contribution to the health-boosting effects of CBD and help in improving your general health cannot be ignored. Depending on what kind of effects you are looking for in your CBD, different terpenes may be able to help you get there. Get ready, because you are going to hear a lot of buzz about terpenes!

We partner with select cocktail bars and chefs who use terpenes in their creations for both flavor and effect. For a more in-depth look on how to use terpenes please read our Terpene and Product FAQ page and our Terpene Cocktail Recipes page. Also, check out our listed partners on our Store locator!