Without terpenes, cannabis would be very bland.

THC and other cannabinoids have little odor or taste –about as enjoyable as eating a flavorless bowl of rice. You need to spice things up a bit! Alpha-pinene, myrcene, limonene, and linalool may not roll off the tongue, but their sensory descriptors like piney, musky, fruity, tropical, spicy, floral, and citrusy immediately conjure up memories of familiar tastes and aromas. It’s then no surprise to learn that terpenes aren’t unique to cannabis – they can be found in everything from plants and herbs to fruits and spices.

Terpenes are an important component of the overall cannabis experience, not only influencing a strain’s taste and smell but also influencing its effects on the body and mind. The total effect of all of the components in cannabis is referred to as the “entourage effect.” For cannabis to be utilized to its fullest potential, understanding the interaction of cannabinoids and terpenes is essential for those seeking a well-rounded experience instead of just a high.

Education about terpenes is moving at a snail’s pace with most consumers more concerned with a product’s psychoactive THC percentage than its healing benefits. But for those familiar with the entourage effect, every particle of every strain matters when it comes to the healing process, taste, and enjoyment. Just like the term rose describes many types and hundreds of basic varieties, so does the word cannabis. Each variety or strain has its own fragrance, color, and texture.

In cannabis, terpenes can aid in the absorption of THC and other cannabinoids to help them find their way into the body’s receptors to deliver what scientists and researchers are calling building blocks to better health. Without knowledge, finding the right mix of terpenes can pose a challenge.