An Introduction to Cannabis Terpenes

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Cannabis has been the recreational drug of choice for many people over the years, but recently it’s been gaining increasing popularity for its medicinal benefits. Once only known as something to be smoked, cannabis products now come in a wide variety of forms, including live resin extracts. Cannabis extracts made from live resin are prized for higher concentrations of cannabinoids like THC, and they are also regarded for their high terpene content. But what exactly are terpenes, and what makes them so special? In today’s blog from Desert Extracts, we’re going to discuss these prized aromatic oils. Keep reading to learn more.

What Are Terpenes?

In the most simple terms, terpenes are the organic compounds responsible for giving cannabis plants their distinctive aroma. They are secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids like CBD and THC. However, terpenes aren’t specific to cannabis. They can actually be found in all kinds of plants from pine trees and hops to rosemary and blueberry bushes.

More Than Just Smell

Each plant has its own complex bouquet, which is why many cannabis connoisseurs can appreciate the unlimited number of choices they have when it comes to flavor and aroma. However, terpenes aren’t just about aroma — they actually play a very important role in the medicinal effects of cannabis.

Similar to the way cannabinoids like THC and CBD work, terpenes also provide therapeutic benefits by binding to endocannabinoid receptors in the body. These receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system — a biological system composed of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes that is responsible for maintaining homeostasis. This is the reason why cannabinoids and terpenes can elicit a wide range of effects, including pain relief, muscle relaxation, mood elevation, and increased energy. The effect of ingesting cannabis can differ depending on which receptors the endocannabinoids bind to.

The Entourage Effect

Terpenes have also been found to work synergistically with the hundreds of cannabinoids also in the cannabis plant. This is a phenomenon named the “entourage effect.” It means that terpenes and cannabinoids like THC and CBD will produce different effects on their own compared to when they are all working together. In fact, it is thought that terpenes can intensify or even reduce the effects of some cannabinoids.

Common Cannabis Terpenes

It is estimated that there are more than 100 different terpenes in cannabis, all with distinctive flavors and traits, although some are more common than others. Here are just a few of the most well-known terpenes in cannabis:


As you would expect, this terpene is found in pine needles, but it’s also found in other plants such as rosemary, dill, and parsley. It’s known for boosting energy and memory and can help with asthma.


As the name indicates, this terpene is found in lemons and other citrus fruits. It’s also found in other plants that you might not expect, such as peppermint and juniper. Limonene is an antifungal, and has been known to relieve depression, heartburn, and is good for overall stress relief.


This terpene is found in a variety of plants from hops and lemongrass to thyme and mangoes. It’s a great antiseptic and it’s also known for reducing inflammation, providing pain relief, and being a mild sedative. Unlike some of the other terpenes, its name doesn’t give any indication of how it smells. Most would describe it as having a musky, herbal aroma.


This terpene has been described as having a combination of aromas ranging from floral to spicy. It’s commonly found in citrus as well as lavender and birch. It’s best known for its ability to relieve anxiety, as well as its pain-relieving and sedation properties.


The sweet, woody smell of this terpene is often found in nutmeg, parsley, and celery. Its benefits include having antibacterial, anticancer, and antioxidant properties.

As we mentioned above, there are more than one hundred different terpenes that have been identified in the cannabis plant, and these are just a few of the most common ones. When you consider the endless number of cannabinoid and terpene combinations in cannabis, it’s easy to see why there is still much to be learned about the potential uses and benefits of this amazing plant.

Why Choose Live Resin Extracts

We are only just beginning to understand all of the medicinal benefits that cannabis may be able to provide. However, one thing seems clear — cannabinoids and terpenes play an important role in its therapeutic effects. Whether you’re using it to relieve pain, reduce anxiety or depression, or just relax at the end of the day, choosing cannabis products with the most cannabinoid and terpene content will provide the most benefits.

The traditional process for drying and curing cannabis also destroys many of the desirable organic compounds. For this reason, products made with live resin extracts are usually preferred. The process of making live resin extracts is more complicated and uses specialized equipment to flash-freeze the cannabis right after harvest. Because heat destroys terpenes and cannabinoids, this process is the best way to ensure you’re preserving those prized materials.

Choose Desert Extracts for Your Wholesale Cannabis Extracts

If you own a dispensary in Oklahoma, you want to source the best products your customer will ask for by name. At Desert Extracts, we process our own live resin extracts using only the best, and freshest cannabis for the highest potency and a clean high. If you’re interested in selling only the best — ask about our Slow Burn line of extracts. Give us a call to learn more!

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