What are Terpenes, and Why Are They Important?


What are Terpenes, and Why Are They Important?

October 3, 2021

What are Terpenes, and Why Are They Important?

Have you ever heard about terpenes, but you’re not quite sure what these are? Cannabis-derived terpenes are used in numerous different products and are naturally occurring in cannabis and hemp plants. To this end, knowing what terpenes are and why terpenes are an important component in many cannabis supplements and products can help you select the ideal cannabis supplements for your medicinal needs.

What are Terpenes?

To begin with, we need to consider what terpenes are. Terpenes are found in many plants (and a small number of animals) and are largely responsible for their most characteristic properties – most obviously, their unique aroma. Indeed, many different plants have highly recognizable aromas due to their terpene content, such as lavender, pine, orange peel, and – you guessed it – cannabis. It is estimated that there are approximately 55,000 terpenes in existence, with approximately . However, there is the potential that scientists could discover and isolate additional, as-of-yet unknown terpenes in the future.

The Role of Terpenes in Plants

From an evolutionary perspective, plants primarily use terpenes as a means to attract pollinators or repel animals that might want to consume them. To this end, they are an important protective component of the plant and play a vital defense mechanism. Some cannabis-derived terpenes are even responsible for keeping the plant healthy and strengthening its immune system against pathogens. This effect means that terpenes are potentially beneficial for numerous health concerns. Hence, terpene extraction mechanisms are being used increasingly often to produce terpenes essential oils and other such products and supplements.

Terpenes vs. Terpenoids

Many people get confused between “terpenes” and “terpenoids,” and it’s easy to see why these could be confused. Indeed, while both terpenes and terpenoids play a similar role and have similar chemical structures, terpenoids are actually modified versions of terpenes with an additional functional group.

Terpenes vs. Cannabinoids

Many cannabis enthusiasts and medical cannabis supporters will already know about cannabinoids – but for the sake of this comparison, we’ll briefly outline what cannabinoids are all the same. Cannabinoid compounds are naturally derived from cannabis strains. These compounds are capable of joining with the cannabinoid receptors in our brains. The two most well-known cannabinoid compounds are THC and CBD. Cannabis supplement developers use both of these widely in cannabis supplements. The cannabis community often considers THC a recreational compound, as it produces psychedelic effects. By contrast, CBD is generally a medicinal compound, as it potentially provides the health benefits associated with cannabis without the psychedelic effects.

Since terpene extraction is also carried out from cannabis plants to create terpene essential oils, it can be relatively easy to confuse these compounds. However, despite the similarities, terpenes are different from cannabinoid compounds, and they typically produce more therapeutic effects.

Cannabis-Derived Terpenes: How Many Are There?

There is a myriad of different cannabis strains, and to this end, each cannabis strain’s terpene profile will also differ slightly. In total, the cannabis train terpene profile has been estimated at over one hundred terpenes, and the interactions between these terpenes within the plant alter its characteristics. For example, it’s commonly found that Myrcene is found in larger quantities in cannabis strains that produce relaxing effects. Similarly, for Terpinolene, higher quantities can be expected from an uplifting and energizing strain.

What are the Effects of Terpenes?

At this point, we’ve clarified what terpenes are and how they differ from terpenoids and cannabinoids. But what effects do terpenes actually have on the user? The exact effects will vary depending on the specific strain and terpene profile you have chosen for your supplements. Furthermore, the final terpene profile you experience may also be altered by the presence of other compounds. This is a process called the “entourage effect,” which can have a significant role in how we experience terpenes from cannabis. All the same, the best terpenes are generally highly regarded for their potential to induce therapeutic effects. Furthermore, the scientific community is expressing a growing interest in the effects that the best terpenes can have on mental and physical health, and so additional research is being carried out into terpene extraction methods and the role of CBD and terpenes. This makes terpenes essential oils a popular choice for medical cannabis users. People may often choose to take terpenes essential oils and other forms of medicinal cannabis, such as using CBD and terpenes together. Meanwhile, when customers choose terpenes essential oils and other cannabis-derived terpene supplements, they generally won’t need to worry about how different compounds interact. Indeed, most terpene supplements are available in a pure form as either a single terpene or a mixture of terpenes. The latter is commonly referred to as broad-spectrum or full-spectrum products.

The Best Cannabis-Derived Terpenes

If you’ve been looking for the best terpenes essential oils to use for your medicinal needs, then it’s worth considering that each type of terpene will offer slightly different potential effects. Fortunately, we’ve listed a few of the most popular and well-known cannabis-derived terpenes below to help you find out more about the type of terpene that might be right for you! Don’t forget, though – before buying any terpene essential oils or supplements, always check the label for the potential effects, as a high concentration of one particular terpene doesn’t guarantee certain effects and results! Furthermore, the best terpenes will vary depending on the effects you desire, so make sure you choose carefully.

Why are Terpenes Important?

So, what makes terpenes such important compounds? Well, not only do terpenes play a significant role in determining the features and characteristics of many plants, including cannabis, but they are also influential in providing potential health benefits and therapeutic effects. Their non-psychedelic nature makes them a more favorable as a choice of supplement for medicinal cannabis users than standard cannabis supplements. Furthermore, the development of precise terpene extraction technologies allows cannabis brands to provide premium terpenes essential oils that are pure and potent for their respective terpene profile. Some of the most common terpenes included within terpenes essential oils and supplements include Limonene, Myrcene, Pinene, Caryophyllene, and Terpinolene, just to name a few. Full-spectrum extracts contain these and more, helping you get the most from your supplements.


Cannabis-derived terpenes are becoming increasingly popular as supplements. Indeed, terpene extraction processes have become more effective and precise, allowing cannabis brands to provide premium-quality, pure terpenes essential oils and supplements. The unique nature of the cannabis strain terpene profile allows cannabis-derived terpenes to offer potential therapeutic benefits. As such, if you want to find out more about the benefits of terpene supplements, get in touch with a member of our team today; we’ll do our best to help you learn more about the terpene profile of effects and direct you to the ideal terpene supplements for your needs.

Medical Cannabis Educational Center