420 Pony Breakdowns: What Are Terpenes?

420 Pony Breakdowns: What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are the talk of the town in cannabis culture, but what are they? Brush up on your plant anatomy with a crash course in terpenes aka terps. Th

What’s With The Smoke Circle?
What Are The Different Parts Of Marijuana Buds: Cannabis Anatomy
What’s Your Favorite Way To Smoke Pot: The Poll

Terpenes are the talk of the town in cannabis culture, but what are they? Brush up on your plant anatomy with a crash course in terpenes aka terps. These tasty cannabis components create a flavor profile, affect the scent of each strain, and can affect your high.

What Are Terpenes And Where Do They Come From?

Terpenes are unique compounds in present in cannabis and other plants. In cannabis, terps affect the smell and taste of the strain as well as the THC potency. Potency is enhanced because of the way terps affect brain chemistry. They can and improve or alter the uptake of THC. It’s synergy, baby.

Technically speaking, these compounds are part of a larger group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons. They’re not only found in weed. Similar compounds exist in citrus and pine trees as well as hops and even mangos.


All terps are based on cyclic molecule C10H16. The term cyclic molecule relates to how the molecule forms bonds. It’s not something you need to break your brain about just to understand terps.

So these compounds called terpenes come from the hair like structures potheads have prized for decades. They’re called trichomes.

In nature, terpenes might help plants avoid being eaten. In cannabis culture, however, it’s part of what attracts us!

Some terpenes have medicinal value in their own right and are being studied for their treatment value. Terps are actually used to scent many products. Lemon and pine are particularly popular.

Terps As Medicine

Not only do terps change the taste and smell of cannabis, they affect the body in many incredible ways. They’re fat soluble which allows them to build up in your system. This is beneficial because the treatment is more consistent even after active use.

These incredible substances bond with receptors and neurotransmitters and inhibit the uptake of serotonin among other things.

Additionally, terps boost norepinephrine and dopamine levels and increase GABA. These affects relate to communication within the brain as well as mood.

Some terps aid weightloss, reduce inflammation, sedate and relax muscles, and strengthen the respiratory system.

Isolating Terps

Extracted terps are sold in the cannabis industry for a little extra kick. Terp juice, for instance, is a popular substance we profiled earlier this year.

Extracted terps may come from cannabis plants. Conversely, a lab creates them. Sadly this is not always clear.

Terp producers try to create distinct smells associated with popular cannabis strains.  They combine chemical compounds to do this, or even extract these compounds from citrus or mango plants.

Cannabis derived terpenes do come from cannabis plants and they are highly prized by consumers as well as professionals making cannabis concentrate. They are carefully extracted from real marijuana plants.

Added Terps To Cannabis? Buyer Beware

While naturally occurring terpenes in cannabis are completely safe, adding terpenes complicates things. A Brazilian study found that rats given beta carotene terpenes mixed with cannabis experienced negative effects.

Keep in mind that the scientists used cannabis smoke and did not test dabbing.

You can do your own research to weigh the benefits and potential risks. This is just some of the info that’s out there on the topic of terps.