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Can Cannabis Terpenes Really Customize or Direct Our Highs?

Most marijuana users are familiar with some standard cannabis terms, such as sativa, indica, and cannabinoids. Just a fraction of these consumers know of terpenes, another compound found in marijuana. Though this compound is present in some other plants, it is highly concentrated in cannabis.

So, do terpenes contribute to the high in cannabis? Yes. Just like THC, terpenes are responsible for the different high effects experienced after consuming the marijuana plant. Terpenes are also responsible for the various smells and tastes in different cannabis strains.

In this article, we will focus on whether the many cannabis terpenes customize or direct our highs. The article also discusses the different types of terpenes and their functions. But before we get to that, let’s start by understanding cannabis terpenes. 

What Are Cannabis Terpenes?

Terpenes are sweet-smelling compounds present in many types of plants. However, these compounds are highly concentrated in the marijuana plant; thus, most people associate them with cannabis. Terpenes bring about different scents of plants like lavender, pine, and fresh orange peel. The natural purpose of these compounds is to protect the plants from infectious germs.

Terpenes are naturally bioactive, meaning they affect the body when consumed. The effect varies with the terpenes concentration and how it’s used. Their vibrant smells are the basics of most essential oils used in different therapies like aromatherapy.

Inhaling these scents certainly affects the user’s stress level and mood. Some people believe that terpenes affect the high felt after consuming cannabis. The entourage effect is a term used to describe this high effect from the terpenes.

Do Terpenes Customize or Direct the High Effect Present in Cannabis?

If you’re a cannabis user, you can attest to how terpenes affect the body after a marijuana intoxication. Consume a pure THC product like distillate or diamonds. Then, compare the experience with a similar product that has a high terpene concentration, like vape oil or sauce.

The terpenes do make a difference. This is why most modern cannabis companies are marketing their cannabis products based on impact.

For instance, you might have noticed that various marijuana products are branded for focus, horniness, relaxation, and energy, to mention a few. These products usually contain specific terpene blends that bring about different high effects. Perhaps you have seen this in your local marijuana dispensary, where weed extracts, edibles, and even vaping cartridges are sold for their intended effect, disregarding the strain.

However, only the consumer can determine the terpene blend that gives them their desired high effects. For instance, some consumers complain that myrcene gives them paranoia, while others have reported deep soothing relaxation after dabbing the same terpene blend. 

Types of Terpenes

Types of Terpenes

There are over 200 known types of terpenes present in cannabis. However, these terpenes cannot get you high on their own, but they will impact how cannabis works in your body. Here are the most common cannabis terpenes and their effects.


Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene blend present in the flowers of a marijuana plant. It’s also present in plants like thyme, hop, and lemongrass. Throughout history, myrcene has been used to treat various health conditions such as hypertension and dysentery.

Myrcene is also known to contain various calming characteristics like anti-inflammation attributes. Besides, this terpene blend enhances the transportation of substances across the blood-brain barrier.

A particular study concludes that myrcene can protect the brain from oxidative damage after suffering a stroke. Another study says that it can be alternatively used to treat an ischemic stroke.


Limonene is recognizable by its scent, similar to that of fruits such as oranges and lemons. It’s found in the peels of citrus fruits and a wide range of cannabis plants. In fact, it’s one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis plants. This terpene blend is commonly used in the perfume and food industry. It contains anti-inflammatory and antidepressant properties.

A particular study concludes that limonene has other therapeutic properties, including antioxidant, antiviral, anti-diabetic, and anticancer. It’s also known to modulate the behaviour of specific immune cells, thus protecting the body from various disorders.



This naturally abundant terpene is available in two forms: a-pinene and b-pinene. Both are known to have several therapeutic benefits. Pinene provides a fresh and bright scent in many plants such as basil, pine needles, and rosemary.

A Japanese therapy known as Shirin-yoku involves walking in a forest to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the scent—the same scent as pinene has. This therapy has therapeutic and preventive effects on the human’s physiology.

Another study concludes that pinene is an excellent therapeutic terpene since it acts as a bronchodilator to allow more air into the lungs. In addition, its anti-inflammatory properties can help in fighting against some inhaled infectious germs.


Humulene is present in plants like hop, ginger, and clove. The cannabis plant also contains a high concentration of this terpene blend.

A certain study indicates that humulene can prevent asthma and some other types of allergic reactions. This makes it a potential natural asthma treatment in the future.

Another study indicates that humulene has protective effects against cancer on some cells. However, this is just preliminary evidence that needs to be backed up with more research.

Many plants contain terpenes, including cannabis. They are responsible for the distinct scents of these plants. Terpenes work alongside cannabinoids and other compounds present in the cannabis plant to bring about psychoactive effects.

However, research concerning this compound is still in its infancy. Therefore, it’s hard to make a definitive claim about it. The most important thing to note is that consumers experience different effects after consuming different terpene blends. For this reason, it’s important to specify to your local marijuana dealer the kind of effect you want to experience before purchasing any cannabis product.

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