The Heylo Cannabis Blog

What Are Terpenes? Why Do They Matter?

What Are Terpenes? Why Do They Matter?

November 20, 2017
Terpenes are essential oils that enhance your "high" from cannabis and hold numerous medical benefits. Terpenes are transforming our understanding of cannabis.

What are terpenes and why should you care?

The very quick dirty: terpenes are essential oils that enhance your "high" and hold numerous medical benefits.

Terpenes (and terpenoids) are aromatic organic compounds found in many plants and even some insects. Plants developed terpenes to ward off herbivores that might eat them and to attract helpful predators and pollinators. Cannabis (marijuana) has naturally high levels of terpenes. "Dank" flower gets its dank stank from being rich in terpenes.

So - why do terpenes matter?

  1. They directly affect your high and contribute to The Entourage Effect of cannabis
  2. They have medical benefits
  3. They give cannabis and vape oil its natural flavor

1. Heightened Effects from Terpenes

A groundbreaking 2011 paper by neurologist and researcher Ethan Russo described the way cannabinoids and terpenes work together to boost and modulate the effects of one another in the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). For a long time THC was considered the only chemical of psychoactive importance in cannabis. Russo and team helped reveal how other cannabinoids (like CBD) and terpenes can either increase or decrease the effects of THC and other chemicals in the body that interact with the ECS.

Myrcene, for instance, potentiates (increases) the effects of THC, induces sedation (sleepiness) and provides anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and analgesic (anti-pain) effects. Limonene, on the other hand, is an energizing anti-depressant.

The difference between an energetic and uplifting high compared to a sedating and relaxing high is a factor of the terpenes within the strain.

2. Medical Benefits of Terpenes

In the same paper by Dr. Russo it was revealed that terpenes “could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.”

The essential oils revolution has brought with it scientific research and awareness of the medical benefits of terpenes and aromatherapy. Nearly all of the major terpenes in cannabis are either analgesic (anti-pain) or antinflammatory.

3. Taste and Flavors of Terpenes

In addition to being Mother Nature's medical cabinet, Terpenes are a natural spice kit. What's more, the smell of terpenes is helpful for guiding you toward the cannabis your body wants. If a variety of weed smells good to you it could be your body telling you to dose with that cultivar.

Below you'll find a high-level guide to the smell, taste and effects of major cannabis terpenes.

A note about Heylo's Terpenes

Heylo Cannabis uses only native-derived terpenes in our cannabis extracts. While non-cannabis-derived terpenes might be great, we've decided to let Mother Nature be the chef behind our extracts. We don't separate our terpenes during extraction. We go through great lengths before, during and after extraction to ensure we're maintaining high levels of terpenes that resemble the ratio of terpenes found in flower. It all starts with only using the highest-quality, terpene-rich bud in our extraction.

You can find the top 3 terpenes on every Heylo Vape Cartridge and the full analytical results including terpene-information on our website.

A few common terpenes and their effects:


The most common terpene in cannabis. It is also known as the "couch-lock" terpene for its highly-sedative effects.


Common in citrus, it is highly-energetic and a known anti-depressant.


A smokey or woody aroma that is slightly sedative, antioxidant, anti-cancer and antibacterial.


Gastroprotective and a strong anti-inflammatory with a woody, peppery taste.


Energetic and therapeutic, this terpene is common in pine needles, of course.


The main constituent of hops is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and a hunger-suppressent.

Heylo Cannabis' topicals feature Organic terpenes from True Terpenes. We recommend you check them out for any botanical terpene needs.

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