Cannabis Terpene Guide

Since The Chronicle launched in January 2021 we’ve had the chance to write about some pretty cool topics relating to weed. However, as this industry grows out of its infancy stage we are starting to notice that popular topics of conversation are shifting. For example, the never-ending debate about strain preference (Indica vs. Sativa) is changing as more strains come to the market. A huge topic of discussion that has come to fruition over the last several years is the influence of terpenes. The problem is that a lot of people (OG consumers and new cannabis enthusiasts alike) have no idea what they are. This article breaks down terpenes, their effects and the most common terps found in cannabis.

What Are Terpenes?

Have you ever wondered why weed has so many different smells? You can thank terpenes. To put it simply, terpenes are aromatic oils produced in plants which create distinctive smells and flavours. In cannabis, terpenes are secreted from the same glands that produce THC, CBD and cannabinoids. Terpenes are essential to the weed experience - some promote relaxed effects, while others promote an elevated sense of focus and acuity. We’ve collaborated with our very own Burb product specialists as well as BZAM cannabis experts to curate a list of the 7 most common terpenes and their effects.

1. Limonene

Known for its citrusy aroma, limonene is commonly found in lemon, orange, lime and other fruits. Limonene is also one of the most abundant terpenes and some of its qualities provoke focus and mind-clarity.

Kesean [Burb]: I really like this terpene profile for its great daytime effects. Limonene helps me tackle any task at hand as well as providing a really nice smoke throughout the day. L.A. Kush Cake by Natural History is one of my “go to” strains - it’s super uplifting, yet chill and functional.

Jacob [BZAM]: Take a slice of fresh lemon peel and twist it. The fragrant mist you smell comes from limonene, which is found in many of the OG cultivars (probably why I like it so much). It’s also found in juniper, pine trees, peppermint and rosemary and it has a long history of medicinal use. Limonene-dominant strains are my favourite way to end a long day because they alleviate physical and mental stress with their pleasing citrus notes and pleasant smoking experience. Be sure to drink a glass of water with a slice of lemon as you clear your mind with some limonene-heavy strains.

2. Myrcene

Myrcene is another extremely common terpene allotting for over 20% of the terpene profiles within the market - that’s huge. It’s also one of the most common dominant terpenes in flower as well. As an aroma, myrcene terps create a gassy, peppery and fruity scent that has the potential to bring on heavy, sedative effects when smoked.

Elliot [Burb]: Myrcene is really one of those terpenes that you probably love without even knowing! I’m a sucker for myrcene because of its amazing ability to mimic deep berry accents within its aroma. Strains that contain large amounts of myrcene actually FEEL stronger when smoked and its flavour really is something special - especially when you can twist one up at the end of a hard day. Try out Mango Haze by Color or Blue Dream by Simply Bare Organics and you’ll know what I mean!

Graham [BZAM]: Myrcene is one of my favourite terpenes because it makes me feel creative when I’m making music. It’s also found in Black Cherry Punch, the flower I grow myself here at our Edmonton facility, so it’s extra close to home

3. Linalool

As a terpene most commonly found in lavender and tree bark, this terp gives off an attractive floral aroma. Although not as common as limonene or myrcene, this terp is popular in essential oils and soaps due to its scent. When found in weed, linalool is relaxing, sedative and calming.

Kesean [Burb]: Linalool is great for my end of day smoke. Sky Pilot by Tantalus Labs works best for me during the evening when I’m planning to relax/unwind for the day. This terpene profile is the perfect “chill” ingredient to look for when shopping Burb gas packs.

Sabine [BZAM]: Linalool is a very recognizable terpene and one of my favourites. It’s found in our Nice Cream (Ice Cream Cake) strain and it tastes and smells floral and soft, which explains its lavender connection.

4. Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene has a spicy aroma - cinnamony, peppery and pungent. Its large molecular structure means it’s similar to myrcene or linalool however when smoked, caryophyllene contributes to an overarching calming effect which makes it popular in pain-management topicals and salves.

Elliot [Burb]: If I want some old school tasting bud, this is the one I look out for! Caryophyllene is so universal because of its ability to act similarly to CBD - something I find so interesting. Anyone looking for potential medicinal benefits like pain relief or combating anxiety can find sanctuary in this terp. You also see it in cultivars everywhere! The long-lasting high of Crescendo by Natural History has got to be my favourite for this one - it’s effectiveness in keeping me calm and focused when I’m practicing guitar is super helpful and very much a go-to cultivar.

Keith [BZAM]: Beta-caryophyllene was one of the first non-cannabinoids to show binding to the cannabis receptors and is sometimes classified as an atypical cannabinoid. This is my personal favourite terpene because of the data behind it (go on Google it), and because it hits differently due to the atypical-cannabinoid effect

5. Terpinolene

Simply put, terpinolene is woody and floral. While this terpene is found in many strains, it exists in small quantities, making it one of the harder terpenes to spot. This versatile terpene is unlike any other because its aroma is reminiscent of many different things - it can be found in lilac, nutmeg, cumin. Sometimes called the ‘jack of all trades,’ this terpene creates a euphoric, energized high.

Kesean [Burb]: I thoroughly enjoy terpinolene. This is definitely one of my top picks when I’m looking for my daily gas pack. For this particular profile I prefer to smoke Dream by Doja. Dream is a Sativa strain that works wonders with a sour citrus taste. On the same front, Dream is a great energizer that helps spark creativity for whoever smokes it. 10/10 would recommend.

Mariah [BZAM]: Terpinolene is one of my top terpenes because it is only found in some strains so it's a bit harder to grow. You can add a little terpinolene to your diet by putting nutmeg on top of your lattes.

6. Humulene

While humulene is a common cannabis terpene that exists in many strains, its presence usually contributes to a small percentage of the overall terpene profile. While it’s aroma contains notes of wood and spice, the herbaceous charm of this terp is largely due to its complementary effects when paired with other terpenes. You can usually find traces of humulene wherever caryophyllene is.

Elliot [Burb]: As a fellow beer drinker, Humulene is particularly appealing to me because of it’s hops-like aroma. I find a lot of familiarity in cultivars that have humulene present. A special quality of this terp is that it keeps the munchies under control! One of the dopest strains with this profile is Sunset from LBS. It’s a relaxing, clear-headed high that works amazingly for watching movies, and it won't keep you running back and forth from the fridge!

Keith [BZAM]: Humulene, or alpha-caryophyllene, is similar to beta-caryophyllene but without a bind to the cannabis receptor. Like other terpenes, it has been shown to have anti-inflammation and analgesic effects.

7. Pinene

As you could have probably guessed due to its name, pinene is one of the major terpenes found in pine! It’s also a common terpene found in basil and rosemary. Common effects of weed containing high amounts of pinene include alertness and increased sense of focus.

Kesean [Burb]: This terpene is definitely a “go to” for any task that requires you to actually pay attention. At the same time, pinene can sometimes be too much for some people with high anxiety as it will amplify their feelings and may cause them to feel overwhelmed. I really enjoy Pinene for its effects when I’m playing Cold War Zombies with the squad or watching Netflix with my girlfriend. I mainly smoke DoSi Pie by Tenzo. DoSi Pie is an Indica dominant hybrid that has the perfect balance of chill (but not too sedative) and uplifting effects.

Graham [BZAM]: Pinene is appealing not only because of the flavour but also because it helps keep me alert and focused. Plus, it's one of the most common terpenes found in nature so you can experience it every time you walk into a pine forest, or season your food with rosemary.

More Terpenes, More Strains

Getting familiar with terpenes is a great way to expand your weed knowledge. Check out our, "Burb's Top 10 Strains," article to read more about cultivars containing these terps. Click here to buy our cannabis products online and pick up in store!

Nadia Bortolazzo

Nadia is an MA graduate and a Digital Content Specialist at Burb. Her writing is guided by her interest in challenging and expanding the ideologies surrounding cannabis culture. Instagram: @nadiabortolazzo

Kesean Kanhai
Kesean is a one of a kind weed connoisseur at Burb. He smokes high grade strains searching for the best terpenes and effects to fit his vibe. P.S He is the best Joint Roller at Burb. Instagram: @keseanjkanhai

Elliot Langford
Elliot is the product educator/specialist at Burbs broadway location. As one of the OG’s, He is driven by his passion surrounding Cannabis cultivar variations alongside studying their historical & ancestral lineage. Instagram: @elliot_langford

Jacob Van Reet
Jacob is a Lab Technician who produces high quality distillates for BZAM. With his MSc in Chemistry, the opportunity to apply science in the cannabis industry is his Blue Dream come true.

Sabine Schwirtz
Community Manager at BZAM, Sabine is a lover of bread, breaking things down in an understandable way and watching bad TV in her spare time. Instagram: @sabine.s.z

Keith Taverner
Keith is a Lab Technician with BZAM. He has a Master’s Degree in Chemistry and loves to hike, explore and talk about science.

Graham Wise
Ex-organic food farmer, current Master Grower at BZAM. Loves a good drum session in his free time.

Mariah Munro
Production Coordinator at BZAM in charge of making sure all cannabis at BZAM’s Cedar Way facility grows up happy and healthy with good vibes. Also a big fan of London Fogs.