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What are Terpenes and Terpenoids?

May 27, 2020 What are Terpenes and Terpenoids?

Ever wonder what gives cannabis products, including hemp oil, their unique scent and distinct flavor? 

Enter terpenes and terpenoids.

In addition to being the most common plant chemicals found in nature, terpenes and terpenoids are defined as the essential oils that are secreted in cannabis flower’s sticky resin glands, where cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are also produced.

Currently, more than 200 different terpenes and terpenoids have been identified in the cannabis plant, although they’re not unique to cannabis. They can be found throughout the botanical world and across many other species of plants, herbs, and fruits. Many terpenes are bioactive with potential wellness benefits.

Terpenes and Terpenoids: What’s the Difference?

Terpenes and terpenoids are basically one in the same and the two terms are often used interchangeably. The difference between the two is that terpenes are organic hydrocarbons, while terpenoids contain additional atoms that have been altered during a process called oxidation, which takes place once the cannabis plant has been dried and cured. Put simply, you can think of terpenes as “damp” and terpenoids as “dried out.”

Most Common Terpenes Found in Cannabis

Each strain of cannabis has a unique terpene profile, producing its own distinct line-up and concentration of terpenes. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the terpenes that occur most commonly in the greatest concentrations in cannabis.


Described as having an herbal or earthy aroma, myrcene is the most abundant terpene produced by cannabis, sometimes composing up to 50 percent of the plant’s terpene volume. Myrcene, or β-myrcene, produces what is considered the recognizable aroma of cannabis.

Myrcene is commonly found in other plants such as:

  • Mango
  • Lemongrass
  • Thyme
  • Hops
  • Eucalyptus


As its name suggests, cannabis varieties that are high in the terpene limonene have a citrusy smell akin to an orange or lemon. Highly absorbed by inhalation, limonene assists in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin.

Limonene is also found in:

  • The peels of citrus fruits
  • Rosemary
  • Juniper
  • Peppermint


There are two main types of the terpene pinene—alpha and beta. The alpha variety, often found in pine woods and balsamic resin, produces a scent of pine needles or fir. The beta type, found in a variety of herbs, smells like dill, parsley, rosemary, or basil.


The only terpene known to interact directly with the endocannabinoid system, caryophyllene produces a scent that’s been described as peppery, woody, or spicy.

Caryophyllene is also found in:

  • Thai basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Black pepper


Found in over 200 plant species and most abundant in lavender, linalool has a floral aroma and is often infused in shampoo, soap, and candle products.

Kannaway Products that Contain Terpenes

Some of the most popular Kannaway products that feature the above-mentioned terpenes include:

Pure Gold Liquid: Features a cannabinoid-rich profile that delivers all the advantages of our robust broad spectrum hemp oil in a product that contains more than 50 mg of CBD per serving. Plant-rich broad spectrum hemp oil delivers a wide range of cannabinoids, waxes, minerals, terpenes, and essential fatty acids, all without the worry of THC.

Premium Hemp Oil: Made with a full spectrum blend of raw and decarboxylated hemp oil, this product is naturally abundant in vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, terpenes, and other cannabinoids.

Premium Hemp Oil Capsules: With 25 mg of CBD in every serving, our capsules offer a fast, convenient way for you to get an exact serving of a full-spectrum of cannabinoids, vitamins, minerals, terpenes, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Green Enriched Hemp Oil: Delivers 50 mg of CBD per serving and includes myrcene, linalool, terpinolene, lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, and other trace cannabinoids.

Blue Enriched Hemp Oil: Made with 75 mg of CBD per serving – combined with pinene, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, borneol, geranium, mint, and other powerful cannabinoids and terpenes.

Gold Enriched Hemp Oil: Contains the highest potency in our product line, providing 120 mg of CBD per serving, as well as powerhouse terpene blends like linalool, humulene, and beta-caryophyllene.

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