What Are Cannabis Terpenes, and Do They Matter?

A quick guide on terpenes and the five most common terpenes found in cannabis

About Cannabis Terpenes

What are “terpenes”?

Terpenes are chemical hydrocarbon compounds that grow naturally in plants, and play a significant role in cannabis plants. Terpenes are responsible for the smell and flavour associated with various vegetation types. Regarding cannabis, terpenes primarily make certain strains smell and taste differently from others. 

Research has found that terpenes may do much more than just affect a strain’s taste and smell. It is held that certain terpenes can contribute to cannabis’ wide range of mind and mood-altering effects.

Terpenes In Cannabis

Cannabis research has identified over 200 different terpenes in cannabis plants. Some terpenes are more commonly found than others and are more widely researched. 

Here are the top 5 cannabis terpenes to keep in mind when choosing what cannabis strain is best suited for you:


The widely researched terpene “Myrcene” is the most commonly found terpene in cannabis plants and is usually the most dominant in many strains. 

Myrcene is also found in thyme, hops, and lemongrass and produces a peppery, spicy, and earthy aroma. It is also believed to have calming effects, and herbal medicines include myrcene-containing products as sleep aids. 

Some Myrcene-dominant strains include Granddaddy Purple, Balanced, and Orange Kush.


The terpene Limonene is a fruity terpene that produces a citrusy fragrance. Limonene can also be found in orange and lemon rinds and juniper. 

Early research indicates that limonene could potentially help with relaxation and mood elevation. Research has shown that inhaling limonene vapour increases dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. 

Limonene is found in strains such as Tahoe OG, Berry White, Stargazer, and Wedding Cake


Pinene is a terpene that smells like pine! It is the most common terpene found in nature and can also be found in pine needles, rosemary, and basil. Pinene is usually a secondary terpene in cannabis and is known to have many relieving effects.

Some pinene-dominant strains include White Rhino, Green Cush, and Cotton Candy Kush. 


Caryophyllene is present in many herbs and spices, including black pepper, basil, and oregano. Cannabis strains with high levels of Caryophyllene deliver a spicy, warm fragrance similar to cinnamon or cloves.

Caryophyllene has been identified as a “stress-relieving” terpene, among other benefits.

Some caryophyllene-rich strains include Girl Scout Cookies (GSC), Super Silver Haze, Gelato, and Sour Diesel.


Terpinolene is a versatile terpene that smells piney, floral, and citrusy. It is also found in lilacs, nutmeg, and cumin. 

Terpinolene as an essential oil is believed to have antifungal and antibacterial properties and is often added to hand soap and lotions. Research also suggests that it may be able to repel pests.

Some terpinolene-rich strains include Jack Haze, Sage n Sour, and Dutch Treat.

At Purple Moose Cannabis, our Educators are happy to answer all your questions about terpenes and help you identify the cannabis strains with the terpenes that are of interest to you, so your cannabis experience will be a most positive one.

Laval Dr

Oshawa SmartCentre South
575 Laval Dr Unit #400, Oshawa, ON, L1J 6X2

Oshawa SmartCentre 
575 Laval Drive, Unit #400

Lawrence Ave W

SmartCentre North Park Plaza
1383 Lawrence Ave W

North York, ON M6L 1A4

SmartCentre North Park
1385 Lawrence Ave W

Bathurst St

Cedarcroft Plaza
5984 Bathurst Street
North York, ON M2R 1Z1

Bathurst & Cedarcroft
5984 Bathurst Street

Are you 19 or older?

Purple Moose Cannabis requires you to be 19 years of age or older to view this content. Please verify your age, or click "Exit" to leave.