What Are Terpenes in Weed and How Do They Taste?

In recent years the question of what makes weed so tasty so what are terpenes in weed and how do they taste? Some weed consumers have a natural nose and sense for the subtleties of taste, while others have only a general and vague sense of flavour. If your palate is not advanced then don’t worry, this guide to the main terpenes will at least give you something to talk about in the presence of a cannasseur!

What are terpenes in weed?

Consider terpenes as nature’s essential oils. They are produced throughout nature by trees and plants and are basically secretions (from the resin glands in weed strains), which manifest most evidently in the human senses in the form of the aroma given off by a cannabis plant. It is estimated that there are in excess of 150 terpenes present in cannabis flowers, but some will inevitably dominate the profile of a particular cannabis cultivar and start that cannasseur nose twitching!

What’s the difference between terpenes and terpenoids?

This is a question that is frequently asked, but the answer will probably only make sense if you have an active interest in science. For the casual cannabis user the simple answer to the difference between terpenes and terpenoids is atoms . Essentially terpenes are what the living plant/buds produces, while terpenoids are terpenes with additional atoms which arrive once the buds have been dried (thanks to oxidation).

Why are terpenes and terpenoids important?

In addition to giving the cannabis consumer a heady dopamine hit as their nose locks onto the aroma of a weed plant – from the citrusy spice of a classic Haze to the classic stinky dead skunk smell of the strain with the same name – terpenes and terpenoids have recently been recognized as having a more significant impact, combining with other cannabinoids (such as THC, CBD, CBG, CBN) to create an overall or ‘entourage’ effect for the consumer. Their therapeutic properties have also received much attention, prompting obvious interest amongst those using medical cannabis for self-treatment. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly found terpenes in cannabis.

What are the main terpenes in weed?

Smell: Earthy, fruity, musky.
Taste: Spicy, earthy, musky.

This is perhaps the most commonly found terpene in cannabis strains such as Wappa, with Skunk at its core. ( Leafly estimates that 40% of commercial cannabis strains sold legally over the counter in the USA are dominated by this terpenoid). Therapeutic claims surround its use as a sleep aid (influenced by its presence in hops and Myrcene heavy traditional sleep remedies, such as lemon grass tinctures) and a pain reliever as well as its anti-microbial and anti-oxidant qualities. Some people also claim that a Myrcene rich weed strain will also bring on the giggles…


Smell: Spicy, peppery,

Taste: Sweet, spicy, musky.

This is another common terpenoid found in a high percentage of dried bud yields from a range of different cannabis strains – particularly amongst the Cookies family of hybrid cannabis plants and is the dominant terpene in a strain such as Apricot Candy . Its flavour is sometimes referred to as ‘funky’ (the mix of musk and spice, fuel and diesel). It has been picked out for its potential medical properties as it is unique amongst terpenes, binding to CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system, activating pain relief, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Smell: Lemony.
Taste: Lemony, citrusy.
Another prominently found terpene, as the name suggests this terpene brings a citrusy essence to the aroma and flavour of sativa cannabis strains such as Delahaze and Jacky White . Nevertheless, it isn’t quite so straight forward. It has also been identified as a mood booster and energy giver which makes it popular with medical cannabis consumers seeking to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Pinene (Alpha and Beta)

Smell: Pine.
Taste: Pine, herbal.

As the name suggests, this terpene brings with it the essence of pine in the grow room and is split between alpha-pinene (which is the predominant cannabis terpenoid in Chocolate Wafflez and White Berry dried buds) and beta-pinene. Pinene is the most plentiful terpene found in nature and also familiar to the human nose in herbs such as basil and parsley. It has been linked with being beneficial for medical conditions marked by respiratory problems.


Smell: Floral.
Taste: Spicy, floral, citrusy.

This terpene is another of the more common found in cannabis and is associated with the aroma of lavender, but is present in a number of strains which are defined by a floral spiciness, such as L.A. Amnesia. It’s associated with relaxation stress reduction and it has also been linked to pain relief and medical research has suggested its potential use to treat the symptoms of Alzheimers .

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