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Sure, terpenes are responsible for the tastes and smells of weed, but they also directly influence the effects of individual strains. Explore our list of strains boasting high levels of the major terpenes in cannabis, so you can get a real taste for terps.

Cannabis produces hundreds of fascinating phytochemicals that draw the attention of researchers and consumers the world over. The flowers of the plant produce over 100 cannabinoids, many different flavonoids, and over 200 terpenes.

As aromatic molecules, terpenes underpin the signature scent of cannabis, as well as the scents and flavor profiles unique to individual cultivars. Terpenes are found elsewhere in the plant kingdom too. Over 40,000 of these molecules exist in nature, giving rise to the fresh aroma of pine forests, the tangy scent of orange peels, and the pleasing perfume of roses, among many other scents.

Continue reading to discover the deeper roles terpenes play, and check out strains that contain the highest quantities of individual terpenes.


Why Cannabis Terpenes Matter

Sure, every smoker loves the smell of cannabis—and we have terpenes to thank for that. However, these aromatic molecules go above and beyond merely smelling great. Recent advances in cannabis science have led researchers to discover that terpenes play a key role in the psychoactive effects of the herb.

All psychoactive strains contain THC. However, some strains cause the user to feel stimulated and elevated, whereas others induce stoning and relaxing sensations. Terpenes are believed to be largely responsible for this difference, synergizing with cannabinoids[1] through the entourage effect to produce distinct effects.

As a result, “sleepy” terpenes, such as myrcene, catalyze more of a stoning high, whereas cerebral terpenes like limonene invigorate the mind and refresh the smoker.


Out of the 200+ terpenes present in cannabis flowers, several of these molecules appear more frequently and in greater concentrations than others. Check out five of the major cannabis terpenes below alongside three strains possessing substantial quantities of each.


As the most prevalent terpene in modern cannabis[2] strains, myrcene contributes a complex taste and smell to many cultivars. The molecule imparts earthy, musky, and spicy notes, with a hint of sweetness. Myrcene also generates a deeply relaxing effect that underpins the classic “indica” high.


Despite harboring high levels of myrcene, Blue Dream produces predominantly “sativa-like” effects. She exerts a cerebral and creative effect ideal for social situations and daytime use. Her long and resinous flowers feature hues of pink and produce THC levels of around 18%. Parent strains Blueberry and Haze passed down high levels of myrcene in a terpene profile that also features hints of sweetness and lemon.




A name known all over the cannabis world, White Widow boomed in popularity during the 1990s and remains one of the most sought-after varieties in Dutch coffeeshops to this day. The variety features a perfect split between indica and sativa genetics and produces a pleasant body high. High levels of myrcene and THC synergie to create a euphoric and heavy sensation.


This iconic variety sits firmly on the pantheon of legendary genetics. Stemming from the breeding mecca of Northern California, OG Kush went on to take the cannabis world by storm. The presence of myrcene becomes more obvious with every hit, as spicy and earthy notes light up the taste buds and a stoning sensation sweeps across the body.



Limonene occurs commonly throughout nature, particularly in the rinds of citrus fruits. The terpene offers pleasant tastes of citrus and sweetness, and plays an important role as a major precursor of other terpenes in the cannabis plant. The molecule also appears to interface with serotonin receptors in the brain[2] and may help to elevate the mood.


The high levels of limonene in Sour Diesel bombard the sour taste buds situated on the sides of the tongue. A large bong or blunt hit sends a surge of energy throughout the nervous system—also courtesy of limonene’s invigorating effect. Blaze these buds in the morning to set the tone for a productive and energized day. Just be sure to take things one toke at a time—these buds are loaded with THC!




Providing that huge, unmistakable Kush flavour with bursts of mouth-watering sweet citrus tones, Do-Si-Dos ranks high in limonene content. She also packs an awesome high that effortlessly balances relaxation and euphoria. This indica-dominant strain is teeming with THC, often reaching levels of 25%, and is sure to impress all those that try her.


Another strain perfect for daytime use, limonene underpins the electrifying effects of Lemon Shining Silver Haze. This sativa serves as a wake-and-bake companion to many morning smokers. Consumed side by side with a fresh cup of coffee, she’ll clear away the cobwebs and provide you with unrelenting focus for hours to come.



Pinene is the most common terpene found in nature. The molecule is responsible for the lovely scent of pine forests and, of course, the fresh aroma of many cannabis strains. Pinene occurs in relatively low concentrations in many cannabis cultivars, yet still manages to produce distinct notes of pine and wood. The terpene appears to ease tension and may take the edge off THC[2].


Pineapple Express belongs to the prestigious Kush lineage. Her tall and dense flowers house a complex terpene profile that gives rise to tastes of fruit, sugar, and tropical goodness. High levels of pinene work to balance out this predominantly stoning strain, boosting mental clarity and alertness.




Named after the legendary cannabis activist and author Jack Herer, this sativa-dominant cultivar produces stunning buds with a broad shape and delightful hues of purple and pink. Jack Herer packs a THC content of 20% and a boatload of pinene, which converge to produce a clear-headed and functional buzz. Got a deadline to meet? Fire up some Jack Herer and get to work!


Critical Mass stems from the crossing of two indica legends: Afghan and Skunk 1. This classic strain grows to medium heights yet produces abundant yields. A hefty THC content of 22% means it only takes a few hits to feel her stoning effects. Pinene once again helps to balance out the equation with its peppy influence. Save this variety for the evening when you can really revel in her relaxing high.


Also found in lavender, rose, and basil, linalool exerts a relaxing effect[2] that helps to keep the mind at ease. Most cannabis smokers will be familiar with those strains that just seem to soothe the soul and put worries on pause for a moment. Linalool definitely contributes to a large share of those experiences.


Amnesia Haze lines the shelves of every coffeeshop in Amsterdam and takes millions of tourists on an enjoyable ride every single year. This legendary variety exerts a euphoric and energising high—almost psychedelic when consumed in excessive quantities. Linalool steers the experience into a blissful realm and augments massive THC levels of 25%.




Breeders developed LA Confidential to soothe the mind, relax the body, and temporarily erase worries and tension. This strain plunges the mind into the present moment and goes down particularly well before a session of yoga or meditation. Blaze these flowers with friends around a campfire to go deep and reset your soul.


Royal Queen Seeds’ breeders successfully resurrected old-school Kush vibes with this well-balanced variety. Her tried and true genetics catalyze a well-rounded high that ignites the mind while melting the muscles. Special Kush 1 puts out huge yields of linalool-rich flowers both indoors and outdoors, with outdoor specimens topping out at almost 3m in height.


Classed as both a terpene and a dietary cannabinoid, caryophyllene—often referred to as beta-caryophyllene—directly binds to CB2 receptors[2] of the endocannabinoid system. Aside from interfacing with this body-wide regulatory system, the terpene adds tastes of spiciness and hops to many cannabis varieties.


Good looks. Sweet taste. Fruitful canopies. This lovechild of Wedding Cake and Gelato 33 packs a terpene profile that will have your mouth watering every time you catch a whiff. Flavour aside, this strain also packs a THC content of 26%, taking users on an almost psychedelic journey of philosophical thought and creative expression.




Another legend of the cannabis world, Northern Lights remains one of the most famous cannabis strains on the planet. Her deeply stoning effect and spicy, earthy taste (courtesy of beta-caryophyllene) fueled her rise to stardom. A few hits from these flowers slows down bodily movements, puts thoughts on pause, and makes music and food sound and taste better than ever before.


Zkittlez ticks all of the boxes. This strain tastes superb, puts out massive yields, and launches the mind into the stratosphere after a couple of hits. Her bright green, trichome-laden flowers possess a highly respectable THC content of 22%. High levels of beta-caryophyllene synergize with other terpenes to unleash notes of fruit, sweetness, and sour candy. Her flavor will have you chasing hit after hit.


Previously overlooked, terpenes are now recognized as major players within cannabis. These aromatic molecules contribute massively to the colorful and diverse world of cannabis strains. Not only do they smell and taste great, but they directly influence the effects of individual strains. Enjoy the strains above to get a real taste of each of the terpenes mentioned. Happy smoking!


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