Terpenes in Medical Marijuana: An Overview
Medical Cannabis Doctor

Terpenes in Medical Marijuana: An Overview

THC and CBD are the two cannabinoids most often brought up in discussions of medical cannabis plant. The Therapeutic Products Administration of Australia recognises only cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as an API for medical marijuana (TGA). Despite the TGA’s view, more and more medical professionals are acknowledging the use of terpenes in cannabis treatment.

What are the benefits of terpenes? Patients typically want “Cannabis sativa” when they want something energising to help them feel less drowsy and more capable of dealing with discomfort all day long. Most individuals believe that knowing whether or not a medication is Sativa or Indica will influence how the treatment will feel (the mood of the drug), but in reality, it is the terpenes that make all the difference.

The more you learn about terpenes, the more you could wonder if a non-isolate product is consistent from batch to batch if the terpene profile is different (or measured).

In this post, you will get an understanding of terpenes sufficient to begin considering terpene profiles when selecting a medical cannabis product. The second part of this series will include more general information regarding terpenes, including their uses, dosages, and effects. Our terpene chart also includes vaporisation temperatures for each terpene.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are the molecules of aromatic hydrocarbons that give different plants their distinctive aromas. Terpenes may be present in cannabis at relatively high concentrations. Leaves, flowers, fruit, and sap are all ways in which plants communicate their messages. Protecting plants against predators and environmental changes, as well as attracting pollinators, is the task of terpenes.

Terpenes are responsible for the perfume and scent of plants like cannabis, among other functions in the plant.

Rose is not an isolated aroma. Terpenes such as citronellol, geraniol, linalool, farnesol, a-pinene, b-pinene, limonene, camphene, b-caryophyllene, and others are all part of this blend. Equally true of cannabis strains.

Terpenes are not only responsible for giving plants their distinctive aromas, but are also thought to be the “effect-drivers” of cannabis. Therefore, the terpene profile of a plant is more relevant than the plant’s Indica or Sativa status.

Where Can You Find Terpenes?

Terpenes occur naturally and in great quantity. Somewhere between 200 and 20,000 unique terpenes have been found, with just a small fraction expressed in the cannabis plant. Terpenes may be found in all plants and, unexpectedly, are produced by a small number of mammals. The same terpenes that give cannabis its distinctive aroma and flavour can be found in a wide variety of other plants and spices.

Terpenes found in cannabis are not unique. In the same way that a pinch of lavender on your pillow, a sunny afternoon at the florist, a breath of pine forest air, or the aroma of lemon in cleaning products all give you an idea of what terpenes in cannabis are like, these experiences all give you a sense of what it’s like to smoke the herb.

Which Type of Cannabis Products Include Terpenes?

Terpene-based cannabis catalyzers

Terpenes are present in certain cannabis products, but unfortunately not all. However, not all manufacturers keep track of terpene concentrations in their batches, even when they sell items with terpenes.

Knowing the various product categories might help you identify those that contain terpenes. The three most common forms of cannabidiol delivery are:

•         Full-spectrum

•         Isolates

•         Broad-spectrum

Terpsolates, which have been trending internationally for a while and have just lately made their way Down Under, are another option.

Terpenes are included in full spectrum products.

Pure, full-spectrum extracts have all the beneficial properties of the plant they were made from, including the terpenes. Fats, waxes, and other fibrous elements are stripped away in the production of full-spectrum, making it distinct from the whole plant.

Certificates of Analysis should always indicate terpene content since the terpene concentration of an extract is often dramatically reduced throughout the extraction process.

It’s also worth noting that several manufacturers use terpene mixtures into their final products. The presence of the plant’s natural terpenes is a prerequisite for labelling a product as full-spectrum.

All-Purpose Formulations – Often Include Terpenes

In essence, broad-spectrum cannabis products are just full-spectrum ones with some of the less desirable components eliminated. As a rule, THC is the component that is being taken out. Unfortunately, the absence of narrow-specificity in broad-spectrum suggests that something was taken out.

Isolates Don’t Contain Terpenes

In contrast to extracts, which often include many compounds, isolates contain just one. Among these, you may find THC and CBD isolates. There are no terpenes or other cannabinoids in these products. There is a common misconception that these products are not as effective as a full spectrum option.

Terpene-Containing Isothiocyanates 

To clarify, Terpsolates are just isolates that have had a terpene or terpene mix added to them. There aren’t any authentic terpenes left in the plant, therefore they have to be reintroduced back in. This is a novel concept, however there are already items on the market that fit this description in Australia.

The Effects of Terpenes on The Human Body.

Terpenes, like other cannabinoid compounds, affect several bodily systems. To varying degrees, terpenes can act on the following receptors. Receptors for gamma-aminobutyric acid, adenosine, serotonin, PPAR-y, and cannabidiol

Although present in medicinal cannabis at relatively modest quantities, their bioactivity is greatly enhanced by the inhalation method. Not only that, but many terpenes have many functions and are thus viewed as “promiscuous” compounds.

It has been established that terpenes enhance the pharmacokinetics of THC via increasing vasodilation of alveolar capillaries, so facilitating greater absorption of THC by the lungs, and by increasing permeability of the blood-brain barrier.

Terpenes, like limonene, which is also present in citrous, appear to have agonistic actions on receptors for serotonin (5HT1A), adenosine (AdoR), and dopamine (DAT) (Ref 1, Ref 2, Ref 3). Perhaps this explains why citrus-scented chemovars of cannabis are so highly regarded by those who use it to lift their spirits.

The “Entourage Effect” postulates that the synergistic effects of the plant’s compounds are greater than the sum of their parts. The role of terpenes in the entourage effect has been hypothesised but has not been experimentally confirmed.

Do Terpenes Have the Potential to Induce Inebriation?

No. In and of themselves, terpenes do not have the capacity to induce intoxication or other psychoactive effects.

Do Terpenes Have Any Negative Effects?

Natural or synthetic, there is always the chance of unintended consequences when using chemicals. Though terpene side effects aren’t unheard of, they’re not very prevalent either. For those with a heightened sensitivity to terpenes, there may be some negative reactions.

Extremely high concentrations of some terpenes can have immediate hazardous consequences as skin irritation, allergic responses, nausea, and headaches. These amounts, however, are well beyond what anyone could safely consume from cannabis products.

Each individual will respond best to a different combination of terpenes. A universally effective product is as elusive as a perfect cannabis strain. In order to determine which terpenes or terpene combinations work best for a certain patient, it is generally necessary to conduct a series of trials with varying concentrations and ratios of these compounds.


Terpenes are the aromatic plant oils that give different cannabis strains their distinctive aromas. Terpenes have been used for herbal therapy for thousands of years, although there is little clinical data supporting their use.

The expanding corpus of research on the entourage effect suggests that terpenes might augment the effects of cannabis, which is something to keep in mind when developing solutions for patients. Terpenes are often well tolerated and can be found in full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and terpsolate formulations.

Many manufacturers now check the terpene concentration of their oil and floral products on a consistent basis. That’s why it’s important to check certificates of analysis (CoAs) to see whether manufacturers are forthcoming about the ingredients they use and the consistency of their products from batch to batch.


We know you might be curios to find out more information and discuss medicinal cannabis uses, or where to get legal medicinal cannabis products in Australia, or who is authorised to prescribe medicinal cannabis products to you, and we know lots of people are also worried about the use of medicinal cannabis.

For all these, schedule a consultation session today with our experts at Chronic Therapy to get professional advice about any medicinal cannabis product or medicinal use of the product to maximise your benefits from it.

Related: Taking Medicinal Marijuana with Blood Thinners