Terpenes: What Are They and What Do They Do?

Most weed has a strong, often skunky, and pungent smell that you can usually sniff even before you see that someone is smoking. That is thanks to terpenes. 


But what are really terpenes? 


Marijuana has more than 150 various types of terpenes in it. Terpenes are highly aromatic compounds that give the characteristic smell of certain flowers and herbs. It is also what gives the scent of cannabis strains that you can probably smell around the local coffee shops in Amsterdam


Although they are barely even there, the ones that are more prominent are joined to create a specific scent profile of a certain strain. That is why Sour Diesel weed in Amsterdam has a very pungent smell and others like the Bubblegum marijuana strain smell sweet. 

But, terpenes not only give the characteristic smell, yet they have many important functions in the plant. 


How do terpenes affect us?


You know the feeling when you put lavender oil behind your ears and suddenly you feel more relaxed? Well, that is because of terpenes. People have been aware of terpenes and their amazing properties for thousands of years now. The most common way they are used is for creating essential oils. But terpenes are even more than that.


Nowadays, terpenes are an essential part of cannabis medical research. Although, until recently, the focus was primarily on THC and CBD, with the advancement of cannabis medicine, it becomes more and more apparent that terpenes have a plethora of medical benefits such as antibacterial properties, which help combat pathogens and microbes. 


Suggested Read: Can Cannabis Be Used For Stress Relief?


What are the medical benefits?


Although terpenes haven’t been in the spotlight for long, some studies on animals have proven the therapeutic possibilities that terpenes offer. Keep in mind that this research is very new, and more research needs to be concluded to help us better understand the effect of terpenes. But for now, here are some of the medical benefits that terpenes offer.




As mentioned earlier, some terpenes have antiviral and antibacterial properties that can kill viruses. These terpenes include caryophyllene, camphor, carcone, and alpha-and-beta-pinene. 


Pain relief


Some terpenes have the power to mimic cannabinoids that can create a pain relief effect on the body. In one study, when terpenes were paired with cannabinoids, there was an increase in pain-relieving effects and no change in negative side effects. These include humulegene, geraniol, linalool, and beta-pinene. 


Fights cancer cells


Some terpenes that can be found in marijuana have been found to suppress cancer by inhibiting the activity and growth of cancer cells. One specific terpene like that is limonene as well as camphor, terpinene, beta-myrcene. Interestingly, these terpenes had no effect on the healthy cells or caused any side effects, something that is not common for cancer treatment.

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