The Difference Between Terpenes, CBD, and THC

You’ve heard of CBD and THC, but you may not be as familiar with terpenes. In this blog, we break down the difference between these three common cannabis components.


Cannabis terpenes are naturally occurring aromatic compounds found in the cannabis plant that play a role in a plant’s overall scent and flavour. These highly concentrated chemicals are produced by both female and male plants and can vary widely in their chemical composition depending on the plant strain. When you smoke or vaporize cannabis, terpenes are released and contribute to the overall experience. Unlike CBD and THC, they are not cannabinoids.

Like CBD and THC, terpenes are known to have therapeutic benefits. Cannabis terpenes can have a variety of effects on the body, from enhancing pain relief and reducing inflammation to reducing anxiety and stress and improving focus and concentration. Interestingly, nearly all plants contain terpenes, and some are known to act as natural insect repellents and have antifungal properties, making terpenes important for creating organic products like pesticides or herb rubs. In addition to cannabis, other common sources of terpenes include aromatic herbs and citrus fruits.


 The smell of cannabis terpenes is determined primarily by their chemical structure.

Cannabis terpenes produce an incredibly wide variety of smells, and you may detect different scents depending on the strain of cannabis you’re smelling, as well as other factors such as ambient temperature or humidity. They range from sweet and fruity – like berries and citrus – to pungent and earthy. Some even smell like gas or diesel! These compounds are secreted in a liquid form from the same structures that produce essential oils in plants and can be detected by smell even in minute concentrations. These compounds can smell incredible and add an extra layer of complexity to the overall scent of cannabis.


When it comes to taste, not all cannabis is created equally. The flavour of your weed is also largely determined by its terpene content. For instance, myrcene is a terpene that is often found in indica strains and is known for its musky, earthy flavour. In contrast, limonene is a citrusy terpene that is often found in sativa strains and provides a refreshing taste with hints of lemon or lime. Ultimately, whether you prefer the taste of indica or sativa cannabis comes down to personal preference. However, understanding the role that terpenes play in taste can help you choose strains that are more likely to meet your flavour preferences.

Popular Terpenes

Hundreds of different terpenes have been found in cannabis. Here are 10 popular terpenes and their corresponding scents:

Terpene Scent Terpene Scent
Bisabolol Floral Myrcene Earthy
Caryophyllene Peppery Nerolidol Woody
Humulene Hoppy Ocimene Herbal
Limonene Citrus Pinene Pine
Linalool Floral Terpinolene    Fruity


Ultimately, the best way to figure out which ratio works best for you is to experiment with different strains. Interested in trying something new? Head up to the 13th Floor and one of our knowledgeable staff members would be happy to make a suggestion!