What Are Terpenes? Discover Nature’s Aromatic Powerhouses

When we talk about the magic of hemp and cannabis, the spotlight often falls on cannabinoids like CBD and THC. However, there’s another cast of characters that are equally vital – Terpenes. These compounds are responsible for the unique aroma of various plants, including hemp, and have the potential to contribute significantly to their beneficial effects. So, what exactly are terpenes and how do they differ from cannabinoids?

Understanding Terpenes

Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds found in a wide range of plants, and they give each plant its distinctive smell. From the refreshing scent of mint to the calming aroma of lavender, terpenes are behind them all. But terpenes aren’t just about pleasant smells. They also play a crucial role in influencing our mood, behavior, and overall well-being.

Unlike cannabinoids such as CBD or THC, which interact directly with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce their effects, terpenes work indirectly. They modulate how our body reacts to cannabinoids, often enhancing or modifying their effects – a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect”.

Types of Terpenes

There are numerous types of terpenes found in plants, including hemp, and their unique characteristics define not only the aroma and flavor of a plant but also the potential therapeutic benefits. Two important groups of terpenes are monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes.


Monoterpenes, prevalent in hemp, contribute to the lighter, fresher aroma profiles and are often associated with potential health benefits. Below are a number of popular Monoterpenes you’ll often find in our Hemp CBD Products.

  • Limonene: Extracted from hemp, limonene offers a sweet and citrusy aroma. In addition to brightening the scent profile, limonene from hemp is being studied for its potential to alleviate stress and anxiety.
  • Pinene: Pinene, a common monoterpene in hemp, gives off a crisp and refreshing pine-like scent. More than just its aroma, pinene from hemp is also explored for its potential memory-enhancing effects.
  • Myrcene: Myrcene in hemp contributes to a rich, earthy, and slightly fruity aroma. Known for its potential calming effects, myrcene from hemp is also being studied for its possible anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.


Sesquiterpenes, another important group of terpenes in hemp, are heavier and contribute to the depth of aroma with their earthy, spicy, and woody profiles. Listed below are the sesquiterpenes that are commonly found in our Hemp CBD Products.

  • Beta-Caryophyllene: Sourced from hemp, beta-caryophyllene imparts a warm, spicy aroma. Unique among terpenes, it is capable of interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, and is being studied for potential anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits.
  • Humulene: Extracted from hemp, humulene contributes an earthy, woody scent to the overall aroma profile. Beyond its scent, humulene from hemp is also studied for its potential anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Farnesene: Present in hemp, farnesene gives off a green, apple-like aroma. It is being researched for its potential antioxidant properties and calming effects.

By understanding these terpenes, we can better appreciate the depth and complexity of the scent profile of hemp, and possibly, the entourage of potential benefits that each of these terpenes can bring to our well-being when derived from hemp.

The Effects of Terpenes on Humans

Scientific research into the effects of terpenes on humans is still in the early stages, but the findings are promising. A notable takeaway from Dr. John Streicher’s 2021 research is the potential pain-relieving properties of terpenes, which appear to act through the endocannabinoid system in the brain.

Dr. Streicher’s study revealed that common terpenes can produce cannabimimetic behavior – behaviors akin to those induced by cannabinoids, including pain relief, sedation, and reduced motor activity. Crucially, his work also lent further credibility to the concept of the “entourage effect”, suggesting that the various components of the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids and terpenes, can work together to create a unique effect different from what any single component can produce alone.

For more on this research, check out the original article.

Hemp-Derived Terpenes vs Botanically-Derived Terpenes

When it comes to sourcing terpenes, they can be derived from different types of plants. However, at Fern Valley Farms, we derive our cannabis terpenes directly from the organic hemp we cultivate. We believe in the power of the “entourage effect” and its potential to provide superior benefits when compared to botanically-derived terpenes, which lack the synergy of hemp’s various compounds.
If you’re curious to learn how we extract our Live Resin Terpenes, visit our post “The Art of Extracting Hemp Derived Live Resin Terpenes at Fern Valley Farms“.

Further Exploration

Terpenes are a fascinating and complex topic. To learn more about the various types of terpenes, how they impact our bodies, and the role they play in our products, we invite you to explore our “Terpene Talks” series. Here, we delve into the intricacies of individual terpenes, offering you in-depth insights to enhance your understanding of these potent plant compounds. You can find this series under the “Terpene Talks” category on our blog.

Terpenes, nature’s aromatic powerhouses, are an essential piece of the hemp puzzle. As we continue to unlock their mysteries, we invite you to join us on this aromatic journey.

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