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Exploring Terpenes

What IS a terpene?

If we look at the actual definition -


noun: terpene; plural noun: terpenes

any of a large group of volatile unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants, especially conifers and citrus trees. They are based on a cyclic molecule having the formula C10H16.


So, we’re back to where we started - what IS a terpene?


Thanks to Igor Dunaevsky, cannabis professional and author of the 2021 Rolling Stone piece “Why I Think Cannabis Leaders Should Be Talking About Terpenes,” we have an easier-to-understand explanation.


Terpenes are aromatic compounds that give many plants and herbs their smell…every terpene has a distinctive scent and flavor that impacts the experience a customer has.


Now, terpenes work in tandem with cannabinoids, which are “naturally occurring compounds specific to cannabis.” It’s important to note that “not all marijuana flower has the same cannabinoid and terpene profiles.” Dunaevsky also mentions that “variations of the compounds give different strains their unique smell and taste.”


According to this article, “the five most common terpenes are myrcene, limonene, pinene, linalool and humulene.”


Intrigued? You should be.


There’s plenty more about the characteristics of terpenes. Instead of describing it here, we’re just going to encourage you to check out Dunaevsky’s descriptions and what investing in learning more about terpenes means for the industry-at-large.



We’d be much farther along in our understanding of terpenes if federal prohibition didn’t restrict access to scientific research, which could lead us to significant discovery about the endocannabinoid system and the role of terpenes. We know there’s a lot to uncover and all evidence points to untapped potential, but it’s all been stopped by prohibition.


It’s definitely not about the plant.


Contact Elucidation Strategies for cannabis consulting services.



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