The many intoxicating and attractive scents of marijuana are nearly impossible to count. Some flowers smell sweet and fruity, while other strains give off the aroma of pine, or even remind us of a citrus fruit like lemon or orange. Regardless of how a given plant smells, what is the cause of such powerful odors?

The reason behind the beautiful smells stemming from the plant (see what we did there…) is because of terpenes – aromatic oils that secrete from the same plant glands that produce THC and CBD. Terpenes are responsible for such scents as pine, fruit, citrus, and berry, to name a few. Like most other plants, terpenes were developed by the cannabis plant in order to ward off predators and to attract pollinators.Today, they can help pinpoint a specific strain of marijuana, and, even more recently, to determine the (potential) effects of a given strain (think relaxing, uplifting, focus, etc..)

For example, one of the most well-known strains, Blue Dream, contains the terpene Myrcene, the most common terpene found in commercial cannabis, which smells earthy, musky, and might remind one of cardamom or cloves. It is also present in thyme, mango and lemongrass. This type of terpene is supposedly used to create a calming, sedating effect. Other cannabis strains that contain Myrcene include Granddaddy Purple, OG Kush, and Cherry Pie.

Knowledge of terpenes opens the door to a whole new world of marijuana studies and discoveries. From associating a certain scent with a terpene, to determining which kind delivers a certain feeling or alleviate specific symptoms, there is so much that can be learned by studying and becoming familiar with this essential part of the cannabis plant. Ask your budtender for more information on terpenes and how they can help you select the right strain or product for you at your next visit!
Curious to learn more about terpenes? Check out this guide to 15 different cannabis terpenes to get started.