If you take a deep breath around cannabis, you experience terpenes. The unmistakable smell is part of how a connoisseur is able to distinguish and identify different strains of the plant, which in turn have different effects and benefits. Ever wonder what makes the cannabis flower so aromatic? You can thank the plant’s terpene profile.

Terpenes are aromatic oils naturally found in cannabis and other plants. They produce the complex and interesting bouquets of fragrance that may include mints, pines, berry, citrus or even cheese. In nature, these bursts of scents are used to attract bees and other pollinators and repel critters that might stop the plant’s growth. But there’s plenty for human benefit as well.

Ready to take a deep inhale? Keep reading.

What is a Terpene Profile?cannabis terpenes

Each strain of cannabis in California and beyond offers a different bouquet of scents. In fact, there are more than 100 different terpenes that have been identified in the cannabis plant. You can start to understand the origins of a hybrid based on a keen sense of smell.

Every plant has some kind of terpene profile. A lavender plant, for instance, contains terpenes called linalool. You probably know that lavender aids in relaxation, and the terpenes in cannabis can as well.

Terpenes come from the same glands on a cannabis plant that produce the well-known cannabinoids THC and CBD, along with other chemical compounds that create the botanical benefits from cannabis. These properties work together to provide the benefits you expect and enjoy.

What Do Terpenes Do?

Remember the last time you were in a forest? You likely found yourself breathing deeply. You are breathing in a type of airborne plant oil that science has shown to have impressive health-related benefits. In fact, it’s the terpenes of the forest that make the Japanese art of forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku, so popular.

In cannabis, it’s known as the “entourage effect.” The terpenes in the plant mix with the other chemical compounds, including the cannabinoids THC and CBD, to improve the overall effects of the cannabis product.

What Should You Look For in Terpenes

There is still a lot to be understood in terms of how terpenes can impact the effects of cannabis on a user, but growers and scientists are working together. They’ve discovered how growing strains in specific lighting patterns and enzyme treatments can alter the genetics to change a specific terpene profile. This opens up the market for products that are specifically targeting certain effects.

While terpenes vary dramatically with each type of cannabis, some vaping oils are becoming more consistent. In general, there are between 5 and 15% of terpenes in a vaping oil, a balance that includes good taste and a pleasant inhaling sensation.

It’s worth understanding that it isn’t just cannabinoids that make up the health benefits of the cannabis plant. Terpenes play a major role in the production of cannabis-infused products, including edibles and tonics.

As more California residents become experienced with what products and formulas work for them, the more they’ll understand the subtle refinements they can make in their cannabis consumption.