Discover the Lesser-Known Cannabis Terpenes No One’s Heard Of
September 13, 2021 08:00 am ET
Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Interest in cannabis terpenes is ever-increasing as consumers and researchers seek to understand the compounds behind the aromatic smells and their benefits. Most people are already familiar with the terpenes known as myrcene, pinene, limonene, linalool, humulene, and caryophyllene. However, there are many more yet to be made known. That being said, let’s have a look at the following terpenes that you likely haven’t heard of.
Explore These Lesser-Known Terpenes
Terpenes are the compounds responsible for the smell which naturally occurs in plants, including cannabis plants. The terpenes are stored in the trichomes of cannabis and when we consider that there are so many different types of terpenes that can be found in the plant, it makes sense that there are so many different scents to be found. Since terpenes are also commonly found in other plants, you may easily recognize some of the smells, including aromas resembling that of lemon, lavender, mint, and many others.
According to Science Direct, Phellandrene was named after Eucalyptus phellandra since it resembles the smell and is commonly located in eucalyptus-type plants. This terpene can be found in trace amounts in the cannabis plant and smells like a combination of peppermint and citrus. This terpene has the ability to produce antidepressant effects alongside its ability to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation and inhibit tumor growth. Science Direct also explains that phellandrene was found to prevent nerve injury-induced mechanical and cold hyperalgesia.
- Aroma: peppermint, citrus, eucalyptus
- Benefits: alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, inhibit tumor growth, and prevent nerve injury
- Examples of strains that contain the terpene: Jack Herer and Trainwreck
Phytol is a terpene found in green tea with floral and balsamic aromas. Phytol has also become well known for its antioxidant properties, which are complemented by its therapeutic benefits, including relieving pain, anticonvulsant properties, and reducing anxiety and inflammation. Additionally, this terpene can also induce a sedative effect, making it a good sleeping aid. Additionally, the NIH PubChem explains that phytol is often used as a precursor “for the manufacture of synthetic forms of vitamin E and vitamin K1.”
- Aroma: floral and balsamic
- Benefits: pain relief, anticonvulsant, reduced anxiety, reduced inflammation, and sedative
- Examples of strains that contain the terpene: Cheese and Sour Diesel
Camphor is derived from the camphor tree and smells like rosemary with notes of menthol. It is also a prominent ingredient in Vicks Vaporub. It is ideal for use in creams and lotions because it is easily absorbed into the skin. Camphor’s therapeutic benefits include acting as a local anesthetic since it has the ability to produce a cooling sensation and provide a mild numbing effect. A 2018 study even found camphor balms and creams to be effective when used to heal burn wounds as long as the skin is not open. Additional benefits include improving perceived nasal airflow, improving blood flow, increasing heart rate, and suppressing appetite. While the smell can be quite strong, its variety of uses makes this terpene worthy of consideration.
- Aroma: rosemary and menthol
- Benefits: local anesthetic, numbing, improving nasal airflow, improving blood flow, increasing heart rate, healing burn wounds, and suppressing appetite
- Examples of strains that contain the terpene: AC/DC and Ghost OG
Isopulegol is found in lemongrass and geranium and has a minty aroma with hints of menthol. Its benefits include reducing inflammation, acting as an anticonvulsant agent, protecting the gastric system as well as being an antioxidant and stress reliever. Isopulegol can also be used to treat viral infections as opposed to bacterial ones. They also explain that this terpene’s cooling, minty properties make it a popular additive in cosmetic products including soaps and other personal care products.
- Aroma: mint and menthol
- Benefits: anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiviral, alleviating stress, and protecting the gastric system
- Examples of strains that contain the terpene: Headband, Kosher Tangie, OG Kush, and Headcheese
Geranyl acetate can be found in oils derived from citronella, lemongrass, sassafras, and even roses. This terpene’s aroma is floral and rosey with some fruity undertones and was even called “one of the most important natural fragrances” by Science Direct. The benefits of geranyl acetate include antimicrobial effects, meaning it can be effective in destroying or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms and cancer cells. Foreverest explains that this sweet-smelling terpene “exists naturally in more than 80 essential oils” and that this terpene is commonly used in fragrances for its pleasant smell.
- Aroma: sweet, floral, and fruity
- Benefits: antimicrobial
- Examples of strains that contain the terpene: Tahoe OG, Harlequin, Strawberry Diesel, and Amnesia Haze
Cymene is a terpene derived from the oil of cumin and thyme. This terpene’s aroma is musty but pleasant with slight notes of sweet citrus. Benefits of cymene include reducing inflammation, fighting cancer through antineoplastic properties as well as significantly reducing pain sensations due to its ability to adjust the opioid system. This terpene can be found in over 200 foods, which means it’s likely that you’ve consumed it over the past month. An interesting discovery about this terpene revealed that cymene was effective against E.coli found in contaminated and unpasteurized apple juice.
- Aroma: musty sweet citrus
- Benefits: antineoplastic, reducing inflammation, alleviating pain, and combating E.coli in bad apple juice
- Examples of strains that contain terpene: Mango Haze, Bakerstreet, and Lemon Haze
Menthol is commonly used in many products including flu medications and lozenges due to its ability to suppress coughs. This terpene has a minty smell and taste since it’s derived from the mint plant itself, which is also why it is sometimes referred to as peppermint camphor. Its therapeutic properties include providing relief from irritations, increasing pain threshold, and alleviating the pain itself. You may know this terpene from cigarettes, perfumes, and cosmetic products, but many do not know that cannabis contains this terpene too.
- Aroma: cooling mint
- Benefits: alleviating irritations, increasing pain tolerance, and alleviating pain
- Examples of strains that contain terpene: Gelato, Pink Candy Kush, and Chem Dog
While these terpenes may be available in lesser quantities in cannabis, we can see that it is not just the cannabinoids in cannabis flower that we benefit from. Cannabis not only has medicinal properties such as alleviating nausea, pain and anxiety thanks to the cannabinoids THC and CBD, but we can also benefit from the plant’s aroma—much like using aromatherapeutic essential oils.
Author, Share & Comments