Terpenes, a large and diverse class of organic compounds, are what give each flower, herb, and fruit its own unique scent and flavor.
Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants; they are what enhance your “high” from cannabis and they possess numerous medical benefits. The essential oils revolution has brought with it scientific research and awareness of the medical benefits of terpenes and aromatherapy.
Two plants could have similar cannabinoid structures, but completely different terpene structures that result in two vastly differing experiences. Examples:
Sativa Terpenes Are Stimulating
Sativas, for instance, typically smell bright and have strong citrus notes. The citrus smell comes from the terpene limonene, which is found in lemons. Limonene is responsible for the uplifted feeling typically found in sativa-dominant strains.
Indica Terpenes Are Soothing
Terpenes associated with Indica strains are alpha and beta pinene, which are found in pine trees. Pinene has great anti-inflammatory properties, which helps with the pain-relieving aspects of cannabis. Linalool is also predominant in Indica strains and we can thank this floral terpene for the sedative effect in lavender.