Let’s Talk Terpenes

July 21, 2020
Are you interested in what brings unique flavours and scents to your cannabis? Let’s dive into terpenes.

The aromatic oils which give cannabis flower and products their unique properties. These special oils go way beyond THC and CBD.

Unique and Multifaceted

Terpenes are considered the essential oils of the cannabis flower, secreted in trichomes (the same hard-working glandular structures that produce cannabinoids like THC and CBD). There are over 30 terpenes found in cannabis in significant quantities. Terpenes are the “choose your own adventure” of cannabis — each one contains their unique expressions of colour, olfactory, and flavour profiles. These Terpenes can make your Blueberry Kush taste and look like blueberry and your Lemon Haze taste like lemon.

Did you know that terpenes aren’t just found in cannabis? There are 200+ existing terpenes found in most flora and even some insects. Certain terpenes in spices and fruit can enhance or reduce the effects of cannabis.


Are you wondering how these scented little wonders evolved? Terpenes were developed in organisms to attract pollination and repel potential predators by causing a negative olfactory sensation. Translation: nasty smelling plants would have a higher survival rate. However, this defense mechanism backfired when humans discovered cannabis, and these distinguishing characteristics became highly sought after by cannabis enthusiasts.


Mother Nature may have made terpenes, but humans have perfected them. Terpenes are naturally occurring, and many variables play into the development of terpenes, including genetics, age, climate, spectrums of light, soil type, and fertilizers used. Years of careful cannabis cultivation have led to the isolation and cross-breeding of popular terpenes resulting in mashups such as Sour Tangie (Cross between East Coast Sour Diesel and Tangie). It’s interesting to note that while cross-breeding has isolated terpenes, breeders were intentionally isolating physiological characteristics and effects of the plant, not terpenes themselves. As our understanding of genetics and terpenes grows, so will our library of terpene dominant strains.

Team Players

Terpenes are team players! Much has been said about the Terpenes Entourage Effect, which refers to the way that cannabis compounds interact with each other. Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work together and help to amplify the overall effects of cannabis through feeling, flavour, and scent. Terpenes are truly greater than the sum of their parts.

Now that you know a little more about these personality-fueled compounds, we recommend researching the strains you like (and the ones you don’t) to discover what terpenes are present. The first step to choosing your canna-fit starts with your sense of smell. Check out the top five most dominant terpenes found in cannabis to get to know your bud better:


Scent: Herbal, Earthy, Musky

You can find this terpene in parsley, thyme, mango and lemongrass.


Scent: Pine

You can find this terpene in pine needles, basil, dill, and rosemary


Scent: Spicy, Woody, Peppery

You can find this terpene in cloves, cinnamon and black pepper


Scent: Citrus, Fruity

You can find this terpene in lemons, oranges, limes


Scent: Floral

You can find this terpene in lilacs, sage, cumin, nutmeg and apples


Interested in learning more about terpenes? Speak to a Cannabis Advisor at your local NewLeaf and shop our selection of flower shop our selection of flower today..