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Terpenes and Terpenoids: What You Need to Know

    By the year 2025, experts estimate that legal marijuana sales will reach $23 billion just in the United States. Clearly, a lot of people are consuming marijuana on a regular basis.

    Even though marijuana use has grown in popularity, there’s still a lot of confusion over the different compounds found in the cannabis plant. For example, many people don’t know the difference between terpenes and terpenoids.

    Are you in this camp yourself? If so, keep reading. Explained below is everything you need to know about terpenes and terpenoids.

    What Are Terpenes?

    First of all, it’s important to note that terpenes exist in more than just the cannabis plant. All plants contain terpenes.

    A terpene is an aromatic compound that gives a plant its distinct smell. They also play an important role in keeping plants alive and thriving, though.

    Because of the specific smell that they have thanks to certain terpenes, plants are able to attract certain types of pollinators to them. This, in turn, helps the plant to be able to reproduce.

    Terpenes can act as a repellent, too. When they have a particular smell, plants can repel insects, foraging animals, and other predators.

    Terpenes also protect plants by helping them recover from damage. They can also keep away germs as part of plants’ immune systems.

    What Are Terpenoids?

    Some people use the term terpene and terpenoid interchangeably. There are some key differences between them, though.

    Terpenes are the compounds that exist in a plant and give it its scent when it is alive. When the plant has been dried and cured (which happens when cannabis is prepared to the consumed or sold), the terpenes oxidize. After they go through this oxidation process, they become terpenoids.

    Terpenes And Terpenoids Vs Cannabinoids

    If you’re a regular cannabis consumer, chances are you’ve heard of cannabinoids. Cannabinoids (cannabidiol or CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol or THC are two of the most well-known) are another plant compound found in the cannabis plant.

    While terpenes and terpenoids give plants a distinct smell, cannabinoids play a different role. They activate certain receptors within the human body’s endocannabinoid system.

    Cannabinoids are primarily responsible for many of the positive health effects associated with regular cannabis consumption. Some terpenes can act on the endocannabinoid system as well. For the most part, though, it is the cannabinoids that are responsible for these effects.

    Health Benefits Of Terpenes And Terpenoids

    In addition to serving a slew of important purposes to the plants from which they originate, terpenes and terpenoids are also very beneficial to humans. The terpenes and terpenoids found in cannabis, for example, are known to have some significant health-boosting properties.

    The following are some of the most well-known health benefits associated with terpenes and terpenoids:

    Reduced Inflammation

    Many terpenes are known for their inflammation-reducing properties. They have antioxidant effects and can minimize the damage caused to the cells of the body by free radicals. This, in turn, brings down and swelling inflammation in a natural way.

    Reduced Pain

    Because they help to reduce inflammation, terpenes and terpenoids can be beneficial when it comes to relieving pain, too. This is the reason why so many people experience a reduction in pain when they consume cannabis that is rich in certain types of terpenes.

    Improved Sleep

    Some terpenes, including the ones found in the sedative-like forms of the cannabis plant, are known for having calming effects. They can help people to feel more relaxed and less anxious. This, in turn, makes it easier for them to fall asleep and stay asleep.

    Entourage Effect

    Finally, we can’t talk about the benefits of terpenes and terpenoids without talking about the entourage effect. Terpenes and terpenoids can be beneficial on their own, but their effects are the most noticeable when they’re consumed alongside other plant compounds, including cannabinoids.

    Plant compounds seem to be the most effective when they’re consumed together rather than when they’re isolated. This strength in numbers is often referred to as the entourage effect. It explains why people often notice better results from the cannabis plant than cannabis extracts, or from a full-spectrum hemp oil rather than a CBD-isolate product.

    Most Common Terpenes And Terpenoids

    Now that you’ve had a chance to learn more about terpenoids and terpenes and the benefits they offer, you might want to find out which of them are the most well-known and most beneficial. The following are some popular varieties found in the cannabis plant:


    Myrcene has a musky, earthy scent. It’s the most abundant terpene that appears in the cannabis plant and is associated with calming, sedative-like effects. Myrcene is also found in mangos, thyme, eucalyptus, and lemongrass.


    As its name suggests, limonene has a strong, citrusy scent. It’s reminiscent of a lemon or lime and has some mood-boosting effects. Limonene occurs in the rinds of citrus fruits, as well as in rosemary and peppermint.


    Pinene has a pine-like smell and is another common terpene found in cannabis plants. Pinene has anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also present in herbs like rosemary and basil.


    Linalool has relaxing and calming effects. It’s known for being a great sleep aid and plays a role in the formation of vitamin E. It’s potent in herbs like lavender as well as certain varieties of cannabis.


    Caryophyllene is a terpene that also acts on the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. It has a peppery, spicy scent and helps to minimize pain and inflammation. You can find caryophyllene in Thai basil, cinnamon, and black pepper.

    Learn More About Terpenes And Terpenoids Today

    With all this information available to you, you’re well on your way to becoming an expert in the subject of terpenes and terpenoids. Do you want to continue learning more about these plant compounds, as well as other compounds found in the cannabis plant?

    If so, we have plenty of other articles available on our site. Check out some of our other marijuana-related resources today for more information.