Why pot lovers need to be talking about terpenes

There’s so much more than indica and sativa.

Dec 24, 2017
Turpentines Dispensary Man Smelling Cannabis

BELLINGHAM, WA – JULY 8: Jaime Henifin smells the marijuana strain ‘Opal OG Kush’ while shopping at Top Shelf Cannabis, a retail marijuana store, on July 8, 2014 in Bellingham, Washington. Top Shelf Cannabis was the first retail marijuana store to open today in Washington state, nearly a year and a half after the state’s voters chose to legalize marijuana. (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Imagine walking into a dispensary and, instead of interacting with a budtender who is telling you their personal experience with different strains, actually scrolling through a menu based on conditions.

Having strains and products organized by terpene profile, rather than indica and sativa, could do just that. Visiting the dispensary would become a place to learn, ask specific questions, and then be directed to products just for you.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are responsible for the amazing aromas that cannabis strains produce. The varying terpenes a plant has are dependent on its parent plants and its environment (i.e., climate, light, the nutrients in the soil). Biologically, they’re secreted by the same glands that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD.

Terpenes play a role in cannabis’ effect

Girl Scout Cookies 1 Why California is important for ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S.

More than ever before, scientists are researching cannabis terpenes. In addition to creating some of the most iconic cannabis scents, they have been found to play a larger role in the cannabis experience.

As an example, let’s examine the terpene profile of popular strain Girl Scout Cookies.

Girl Scout Cookies contains four terpenes. Each of them has unique health properties.


Caryophyllene – Pepper

Caryophyllene is responsible for the peppery and somewhat nutty flavor in many popular cannabis strains. Caryophyllene interacts specifically with the CB2 receptor in the endocannabinoid system. This terpene has been found to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Research also suggests that Caryophyllene is an antioxidant, neuroprotectant, and can help provide relief for those with mental health conditions.


Humulene – Hops

This skunky-smelling terpene is found in numerous strains. Research has shown that it has potent anti-inflammatory properties. One study even found it could play a role in killing certain kinds of cancer cells.


Limonene – Lemon

Limonene is the terpene responsible for the citrus aromas in some of your favorite strains. Additionally, limonene has been found to have many beneficial effects. Research shows that limonene is good for fighting allergies and inflammation. The team at the University of Arizona also found that limonene could have anti-cancerous properties.


Pinene – Pine

Strains containing pinene remind us all of the forest. And there’s nothing like reconnecting with nature when enjoying cannabis, right? Pinene has been found to have anti-allergy and anti-amnesia effects. Those suffering from asthma have found that strains containing pinene help them considerably.
When consuming Girl Scout Cookies, users are not benefitting from its cannabinoid content, but also its terpenes. While the benefits of cannabinoids are well-known, its terpenes can help users refine and cater their cannabis experience like never before.

The role dispensaries play in educating consumers on terpenes

Dispensary Why California is important for ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S.
DENVER, CO – JANUARY 1: Kelsey K., left, smells a strain of marijuana as Austin Labry, both from New Orleans, Louisiana, looks on at Denver Kush Club in Denver, Colorado on January 1, 2014. The first legal sales of marijuana in the world took place in Colorado on Wednesday morning. (Photo by Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Dispensaries are the primary place for cannabis education. For users and patients alike, dispensaries play a critical role in helping consumers with strains, among other cannabis products. But budtenders rarely discuss terpenes and the strong influence a strain’s terpene profile has on a user’s cannabis experience.


The staff at Infinite CBD finds the lack of discussion regarding terpenes troubling, especially due to the amount of research being published on the benefits of them. When asked about their frustration, they responded saying, “Dispensaries are only talking about indica and sativa. The only reason companies aren’t discussing terpenes is because ‘they don’t make us high.'”

Terpenes don’t make us high, but they do benefit the body.

Dispensaries need to be talking more about terpenes

As the liaisons between users and cannabis, it’s the responsibility of dispensaries to talk about terpenes. Not only would this help educate the cannabis community, but it would help users to refine their cannabis experience. If it truly is all about the patient, dispensaries need to be giving users all of the information—not just a small portion of it.

Dec 24, 2017