What are Terpenes?

Cannabis’s distinct smell famously delineates this plant to both the avid user and novice partaker. Have you ever wondered what makes the aroma of cannabis so unique? The flavors, smell, and even color of weed are affected by the terpenes or terps in the plant, but what do terpenes do? 




Terpenes are not unique to cannabis. They are a natural chemical compound found in plants. If you’ve ever touched picked cannabis buds, you’ll notice a sticky substance covering the plant. These are trichomes and produce the terpenes, which are in the plants across nature and contribute to the diverse smells across botany. All plants have combinations of terpenes and are responsible for the aromas associated with individual plants. For example, lavender is in aromatherapy for anxiety, and eucalyptus is for respiratory therapy. 


For cannabinoids, terpenes are in the plant’s resin glands (these are the trichomes). Different strains of cannabis have constituencies of terpenes, and there are 3-5 main cannabis terpenes that make up common weed strains with dozens of minor terpenes included. 


So, why do these matter? When creating different strains of cannabis, developers and growers seek to identify certain terpene ratios to produce different effects. The terpenes in weed can control whether the strain is relaxing and therapeutic or has particular mood-altering effects. 


Common Types of Terpenes


If you’re looking for a chart of terpenes there are five common ones: Myrcene, Humulene, Linalool, Limonene, and Pinene. In the past, a lack of understanding and research into the effects of terpenes means they have often been lost in the cannabis extraction process. Growing awareness of terpenes and how they control a large portion of the experience has led to more sensitive extraction methods. These extraction methods are labeled as “live resin” (more on this later). 


Some terpenes are stronger than others in how they impact the cannabis you use. Combining different ratios of these terpenes within a weed strain drives different effects. Here is a list of the terpenes that seem to strongly modulate the smell and effect of weed: 

  • Caryophyllene
  • Myrcene 
  • Limonene
  • Humulene
  • Linalool
  • Pinene
  • Terpinolene 


Again, the science behind terpenes is not specific to cannabis. It is an important field across a lot of botany that demonstrates the unique therapeutic effects of different terpenes in different plants. Many people use plants to help medicinally and personally with anti-microbial qualities, memory-stimulating tendencies, memory-inhibiting abilities, and appetite-stimulating or inhibiting control. These are powerful uses outside the pharmaceutical world for therapeutic benefits.


Live Resin & Terpenes


Back to the terpenes associated with weed. We briefly touched on how our knowledge of terpenes has contributed to more sensitive extraction methods of the cannabis from the plant. Now that we know the power of the terpenes in a cannabis experience it’s important to protect these attributes in the weed. This is done by freezing the resin to protect the terpenes and provide a better cannabis experience. Live resin concentrates are made from these frozen fresh flowers. By freezing live (not dried or dehydrated), the original terpene profile is preserved and provides a dynamic experience regarding smell, taste, and effect. 


Terpenes aren’t responsible for the high associated with cannabis. Yet, they are still powerful because they can alter the sensations you experience while high. Although everyone responds differently to cannabis and the terpene ratio, there are some common effects associated with terpenes. One key attribute that a lot of cannabis users desire is stress and anxiety relief. They are also known for helping the immune system by fighting microbes and pathogens. And they can have therapeutic relief on your body. Finally, they can create the terpene entourage effect.


Heirloom Collectives Terpene-Rich Strains


Now that you know how cool terpenes are, you probably want to see how they affect you! Heirloom Collective routinely tests its strains for terpene content. A strain that has a 2% or higher content of terpenes is considered a high terpene content strain. These strains below are at least 2.5%, many at 3%, and some even at 4%. 


  • Kitchen Sink: Containing an abundant diversity of terpene expression this flower is high in both myrcene terpenes and limonene terpenes. It is even higher in caryophyllene terpenes with dozen other smaller terpenes to provide complexity. 
  • Grape Pie: With fruity complexity, this strain hits with aromas of fuel, must pine, and fruit. The terpene ratio in this strain gives a relaxed, sleepy, and happy effect. 
  • Peanut Butter Lady: A limonene dominant terpene with strong pinene influence as well. This is a potent strain great for pain relief or sleep management. 
  • Mana: A powerful, limited-edition, strain, this flower is covered in sticky trichomes exuding aromas of onions and rubber. For those looking for strong pain and stress relief, this powerful and potent strain hits right. 
  • Rawtton: As a combination of two strains, Chem D and Mandarin Sunset, this flower boasts rubber garlic notes and a sweet orange flavor. A 2:1:1 ratio of myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene terpenes is strong and smooth. Sit back for a happy, relaxed, and energizing high. 
  • Duct Tape: A pre-filled vapor tank takes this flower to the next level. Notes of pine, eucalyptus, coffee, and cocoa will create a calm, happy and energetic high. 
  • Special Handyman: A strong smoke this high ratio of limonene, myrcene, and caryophyllene is reliable and dynamic. Expect a gassy and intense-smelling bud. 
  • Zour Apple: Possessing a wide range of terpenes, Zour Apple has floral notes with chocolate and, of course, sour apples. Known for enhancing creativity and alertness, this flower is great for getting those mental endeavors done. 
  • Black Garlic: Get in your head with this hybrid. With garlic, gassy, and sour notes, this powerful strain gets you in a cerebral and relaxing space. 


Terpenes impact the cannabis experience. At Heirloom Collective, it is our goal to help you find the strain right for your needs. Stop by one of our dispensaries to learn more and always ask lots of questions!