The Power of Terpenes: Exploring Aromatherapy & Cannabis

If you walk into any Massachusetts recreational cannabis dispensary, you may have heard a budtender mention “indica, sativa, or hybrid.” These terms may categorize the baseline effects or expectations in most cannabis strains, but the classification goes way further.

Terpenes are a powerful aromatic compound that is found in most plant species. Although the talk of terpenes has recently become a hot topic in cannabis, the truth is terpenes are relatively common in many plants we interact with every day.

Learn about the power of terpenes and the aromatherapy and effects they provide – in cannabis strains and everyday plant species.

Defining Terpenes 

Go for a walk outside and take a deep inhale, you’re bound to smell the natural essence of terpenes all around you.

Terpenes are a diverse group of organic compounds that are highly volatile and found in a large variety of plant species. Found mainly in herbs, fruits, and flowers, terpenes are aromatic molecules that captivate specific scents and flavors.

Not only will terpenes hold an abundance of unique scents and flavor profiles, but these molecules act as a natural defense mechanism against herbivores or unwanted pathogens. On the contrary, terpenes can also attract pollinators by producing such sweet, alluring scents.

Overall, there are thousands of terpenes in existence. Each one acts as a unique fingerprint in how it holds a unique aromatic profile that produces therapeutic effects.

The Role of Aromatherapy 

Considering the immense benefits that terpenes provide, therapeutic practices and methods often revolve around plant-derived essential oils.

Aromatherapy is the practice of incorporating essential oils, filled with terpenes and aromatic compounds, to experience various physical and psychological benefits. By inhaling or applying these oils to the skin, the scent of these terpenes elevates and alleviates humans and their well-being.

From essential oil diffusers to massage therapies, aromatherapy leverages these terpene-rich oils to impact the senses.

How Do Terpenes Work in Cannabis? 

In the realm of cannabis, terpenes contribute significantly to the plant’s unique chemical flavor profile. Each strain of cannabis has a distinct combination and concentration of terpenes – this terpene profile is made up of its aroma, taste, and overall experience when consumed.

While the common categorization of hybrid, sativa, and indica has been a general determining factor for cannabis consumers, it’s not the only one! Terpenes, like cannabinoids, play a huge role in the overall effects and experience of consuming cannabis. Together, both of these powerful and potent compounds are what give us a unique high experience.

If cannabinoids are the car, terpenes are the driver. While cannabinoids such as THC or CBD will provide specific signals and psychoactive responses, terpenes will steer you into the therapeutic effect or alleviation felt.

What are the Common Terpenes in Cannabis?

There are many common types of terpenes found in cannabis. From the terpenes discovered in cannabis, there are individual therapeutic benefits and effects expected from each. However, when consuming the whole ensemble of cannabinoids and terpenes in cannabis, users experience the Entourage Effect. This is the synergistic manner in which all cannabis compounds interact and influence together through their absorption and activity in the body.

Check out some of the most common terpenes you’ll find in cannabis, and what to expect from the effects of each:


Known as the most abundant cannabis-derived terpenes, myrcene has a smooth and earthy flavor. Along with cannabis, hops, mangoes, and lemongrass, all contain high levels of myrcene. Myrcene is known to contribute to the sedated couch lock effects but can be uplifting and invigorating in smaller doses.


Found in most citrus plants and dill weed, limonene has an aroma extremely similar to lemon rinds. With a subtle hint of spice, limonene is often found in cannabis cultivars with more uplifting effects. Limonene has been studied for impacting neurotransmitter pathways – making high-limonene strains and plants helpful in treating depression.


The smells of a walk in the forest, or a decorative festive holiday wreath are aromatic examples of the terpene pinene. Conifers, rosemary, parsley, and most trees have an abundance of pinene – it’s a terpene rich with an earthy, musky, and peppery scent. Pinene has been found to reduce inflammation, aid memory, and even act as an antimicrobial agent.


Tea trees, apples, nutmeg, and cumin share the fresh scent of terpinolene. With a spicy, peppery, and earthy combination of aromas, terpinolene’s strong therapeutic effects have been noted to inhibit tumor growth or positively impact cardiovascular health.


Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene that is rich in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and oregano. When prominent in cannabis strains, this cannabis terpene has a strong, spicy, peppery aroma that has been proven to act as an anti-inflammatory aid – it’s the only terpene to bind directly to CB2 receptors in the Endocannabinoid System. 


While this may be one of the more rare terpenes found in cannabis, linalool is also widely known for its fragrance in lavender and lilac flowers. Linalool is often considered a “spa terpene” used for its relaxing, calming, and soothing properties in aromatherapy. In cannabis, strains high in linalool have been noted to help reduce muscle spasms, relieve pain, and treat anxiety. 

Terpenes, through their interaction with the endocannabinoid system and other physiological pathways, contribute to the overall complexity and variability of the cannabis experience, making each strain unique in its effects and potential health benefits.

Full Harvest Moonz: A Terpene-Rich Cannabis Experience

Exploring cannabis goes beyond indica, sativa, or hybrid! Give yourself time to explore the wide variety of cannabis strains and learn the unique terpene content of each, taking note of what feels good for you.

Cannabis’ diversity in terpene profiles not only influences the sensory aspects of cannabis consumption, it also contributes to the entourage effect – meaning the interaction between cannabinoids like THC and CBD, along with terpenes, can enhance or modify the overall therapeutic effects.

By gaining a better understanding of the role terpenes have in your overall cannabis experience, you can harness the therapeutic powers of each for a more personalized high experience.

Want to talk more terps? Come visit our Lowell or Haverhill recreational dispensary locations to chat with a budtender on all things terpenes! To explore the exclusive menu of terpene-rich cannabis strains, visit the Full Harvest Moonz dispensary menu and order for pick-up today!

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