Bud of Cannabis surrounded by fruits

What Are Cannabis Terpenes and What Do They Do?

In Information by Caiti Sweeney

For most cannabis users, the smell of the plant is among its most distinguishing features — and one of its most attractive qualities. Even if you are not a smoker, the scent of cannabis is easily recognizable.

Still, not everyone knows that the scent of cannabis derives from substances contained in it, called terpenes. Cannabis terpenes are compounds in the plant — of which there are over 150 — that combine to give marijuana its distinct aroma. Read on to learn a little more about what weed terpenes are, how they work, and what unique benefits they can confer to cannabis users.

Where Do Terpenes Come From?

Cannabis terpenes are produced by the resin glands of a marijuana plant’s trichomes, which are the sticky glands on the surface of the plant (perhaps most notable on marijuana buds). While terpenes are most easily recognized by their smell, they have visual and taste functions, brightening the color and pigment of a marijuana plant and augmenting the plant’s flavor.

Terpenes also have functions in the wild: they act as protective compounds for cannabis plants, attracting beneficial insects and repelling harmful ones, and help to keep the plant healthy from molds and other plant diseases.

How Do Terpenes Affect the Body?

Terpenes are a vital part of the cannabis experience, contributing to the sense of well-being and stress relief that can be associated with marijuana. But terpenes have more complex effects on the body as well. Some research suggests that terpenes may have medicinal qualities, potentially fighting viruses or other microbes. In fact, evidence suggests that terpenes even have anti-cancer properties. Terpenes also appear to exhibit effects on mood, showing promise in their effect on alleviating depression and anxiety.

How Can Terpenes Contribute to the Effects of Cannabis?

In a sense, it is most accurate to think of cannabis terpenes as part of the overall effect that comes from ingesting cannabis. In other words, the different components of the plant work together to produce the effect you get from its use.

Of course, each component does have its unique role to play. In this light, terpenes have some specific attributes that can augment the overall positive effect of cannabis. For instance, you are more likely to get all the beneficial effects of cannabis — like relief from stress or other mood disorders, and potential relief from conditions like epilepsy — if taking a whole-plant formula that contains all terpenes, rather than a CBD or THC isolate.

Top Three Terpenes Found in Cannabis

There are over 150 terpenes in cannabis, and the complexity of their combination is a major part of what gives cannabis its overall effects on the body and mind. The following are three of the most potent and prevalent terpenes in the cannabis plant.


Caryophyllene is a terpene that has a pepper-like quality and in fact, is found in black pepper as well as cannabis. (It is also in cloves and rosemary, among other plants.) Caryophyllene is unique in that it binds to the endocannabinoid system’s CB2 receptor. It may have anti-inflammatory effects, anxiety relief effects, and other beneficial impacts on the body.


As the name suggests, limonene has a citrus-like scent that is extremely recognizable in the overall scent of cannabis. Limonene can give marijuana a signature “fruity” quality. Among other effects, limonene may have some immune-supporting functions for the body.


Myrcene is usually the most common of the terpenes in cannabis. It is typically considered somewhat “earthy” but also has some spicy qualities. In addition to its presence in cannabis, myrcene is found in some citrus fruits, eucalyptus, and other plants. Like caryophyllene, myrcene may have some anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Myrcene is also unique in that it allows chemicals to cross the barrier between the blood and brain, which can help cannabis affect the body more quickly.

Stop by RiNo Supply co. in Denver Whether Visiting or Local for Your Next Cannabis Experience

In Denver, Colorado, we are fortunate enough to have legalized cannabis — allowing you to derive the benefits of cannabis terpenes and all other supportive components of the marijuana plant. Of course, knowing where to start can sometimes be confusing, especially for newcomers faced with such a diverse array of products and potentially differing effects across all of them.

If you are in the Denver area (whether visiting or living) and are over 21, RiNo Supply is here to help. With an extensive array of high-quality cannabis products, we can assist you in finding exactly what you are looking for.

For more information, visit RiNo Supply online, or call (303) 296-2680.


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