How To Use Terpenes To Improve Cannabis And Your Life

If you’ve ever stopped to savor the crisp scent of a pine forest or the sweet aroma of a ripe orange, you’ve experienced terpenes. These naturally occurring compounds are responsible for the fragrant profiles we associate with various plants, fruits, and even some insects. In essence, terpenes are what make lemons smell like lemons, pine trees smell like pine, and roses smell like roses.

Terpenes enhance cannabis by contributing to the entourage effect, improving mood and well-being. Vaporizing cannabis at optimal temperatures and incorporating terpenes into daily life through food, topicals, and aromatherapy can significantly enrich sensory experiences and health benefits.

But terpenes aren’t just about fragrance. They play a crucial role in shaping the sensory characteristics of many products we use daily, from cosmetics to edibles. For instance, the earthy aroma of your favorite skincare product? It’s probably due to a terpene called pinene. The uplifting citrus note in your morning smoothie? Thank limonene, another common terpene.

The world of cannabis isn’t exempt from this terpene influence. Quite the contrary — it’s where these little powerhouses really shine. You see, every cannabis strain has its unique blend of terpenes that not only define its aroma but also contribute to its effects on the body and mind.

Picture this: you’re at a dispensary choosing between strains. One boasts an invigorating, peppery scent, while the other exudes a soothing, floral aroma. That distinction? It’s all down to their respective terpene profiles.

Terpenes give each cannabis strain its individual personality — whether it’s calming, energizing, or somewhere in between. They add depth to the plant’s sensory profile and amplify its therapeutic potential.

How Do Terpenes Affect Cannabis Consumption?

When it comes to cannabis, terpenes do more than just add flavor and aroma. They also play a significant role in how the plant affects us — thanks to a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.

What’s the entourage effect, you ask? Well, it’s all about synergy. You see, cannabis contains a myriad of active compounds, including cannabinoids like THC and CBD, as well as terpenes. Each of these compounds has its individual effects, but when they come together, they interact in such a way that the total impact is greater than the sum of its parts. In simpler terms, they work better together!

Let’s take limonene as an example. When consumed on its own, this terpene has mood-elevating properties. However, when it mingles with cannabinoids in cannabis, it may enhance the antidepressant effects of THC or CBD. That’s the power of the entourage effect!

How do different methods of cannabis consumption influence terpenes?

Great question!

If you’re smoking or vaporizing cannabis, heat plays a crucial role. Too high temperatures can cause delicate terpenes to degrade, altering the sensory profile and potentially diminishing some therapeutic effects. On the other hand, if you don’t heat them enough, you might not activate all the cannabinoids in your bud — remember that process called decarbing?

When it comes to edibles, things get a bit more complicated. The baking or cooking process can cause some terpenes to evaporate at high temperatures. However, others might infuse into your edible and contribute to both its flavor and effects.

Now let’s talk about decarbing. It stands for “decarboxylation,” and it’s a process that activates THC and CBD in your cannabis. You achieve this by applying heat — like when you light up a joint. But, just like with cooking edibles, high temperatures can cause some terpenes to evaporate.

So what’s the takeaway here? When consuming cannabis, it’s essential to strike a balance — enough heat to activate your cannabinoids and unlock their effects, but not so much that you lose those precious terpenes. After all, they’re part of what makes your cannabis experience so unique!

What Are The Best Ways To Use Terpenes?

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics let’s dive into how you can incorporate terpenes into your everyday life. Whether you’re a cannabis enthusiast looking to enhance your experience or just someone interested in natural wellness remedies, there are multiple ways to enjoy the benefits of these aromatic compounds.


Starting with vaporizing, this method is pretty popular among cannabis users, and for a good reason. When you vaporize cannabis, you heat it to the point where the cannabinoids and terpenes turn into vapor, but there’s no combustion. This allows you to inhale these compounds without bringing any smoke into your lungs — score!

If you’re new to vaporizing cannabis, I recommend starting with a temperature between 360°F and 380°F. This range is ideal for preserving most terpene profiles while avoiding combustion. Remember, each terpene has its boiling point, so you might need to adjust the temperature slightly to get the most out of your strain.


Next up, we have dabbing. This method involves heating a small amount of cannabis concentrate (a dab) on a hot surface and then inhaling the vapor it produces. If you’re looking to maximize terpene activation, aim for temperatures between 545°F and 570°F. Just be sure to use proper tools like a carb cap, torch, and dabber for safety and efficiency!

Oral Intake & Drinks:

Did you know that you can also consume terpenes orally? Yes indeed! You could add them to your drinks or take them as supplements. However, keep in mind that not all terpenes are water-soluble. You might need to dilute oil-based terpenes with a carrier like propylene glycol before adding them to your beverage.

Culinary Uses:

Speaking of consuming terpenes, who said you couldn’t have your cake and eat it, too? Adding extracted terpenes to your food recipes can take your culinary skills to new heights. However, remember to consider their boiling points to avoid flavor loss during cooking.

Topical Application:

Another way to benefit from terpenes is by applying them topically. Combining terpenes with carriers like coconut oil can create therapeutic skin applications that offer antiseptic and anti-inflammatory benefits. Just think of it as a DIY spa treatment!


Lastly, let’s not forget about aromatherapy. If you’ve ever enjoyed the calming aroma of lavender or the uplifting scent of citrus, you’ve experienced the power of terpenes! Using essential oils rich in specific terpenes in diffusers or spritzers can boost your mood and even provide health benefits like asthma relief.

a woman engaged in forest bathing, nature's aromatherapy

There you have it — multiple ways to weave terpenes into your daily routine. The key is to experiment and find what works best for you. After all, wellness is not a one-size-fits-all journey!

Enhancing Your Culinary Experiences with Terpenes

Ever thought of giving your culinary creations an aromatic uplift? That’s where extracted terpenes come into play. These natural compounds can add a unique touch to your dishes, introducing a whole new realm of flavorful possibilities.

Imagine starting your meal with a melon salad with fennel, subtly enhanced with the fresh, earthy notes of pinene. Or perhaps finishing off your dinner party with a lavender chamomile honey tart, its floral sweetness magnified by linalool’s soothing aroma. Doesn’t that sound scrumptious?

But before you dash off to the kitchen, let’s talk about how you can incorporate terpenes into your recipes without overwhelming your palate. It all comes down to two things: precision and understanding their boiling points.

Precision is Key:

When it comes to adding terpenes to food, less is more. A little goes a long way — we’re talking about potent aromatics here! So how much should you use? I recommend starting with a .5% concentration of the total weight or volume of your recipe. For instance, if you’re making a dish that weighs 500 grams, you’d use about 2.5 grams of terpenes.

Mind the Boiling Points:

Terpenes are volatile compounds, which means they evaporate at relatively low temperatures. Each terpene has a specific boiling point, beyond which it starts to degrade and lose its characteristic aroma.

To keep the flavors intact, consider adding them after the cooking process or in cold recipes like salads and desserts. If you must cook with terpenes, try to do so at low temperatures and for shorter periods to prevent any flavor loss.

Incorporating terpenes into your culinary experiences isn’t just about enhancing flavors — it’s also about forging a deeper connection with nature and exploring the sensory richness it offers. So, why not give it a try? Who knows, you might just discover your new secret ingredient!

The Role of Terpenes in Product Innovation

Harnessing the power of terpenes doesn’t stop at the dinner table. These unique compounds are revolutionizing a host of other industries, from cosmetics to vaping and beyond. Let’s explore how they’re introducing new dimensions to everyday products.

Terpenes in Cosmetics:

Cosmetic products are no longer just about looking good — they’re about feeling good too. And that’s where terpenes come into play. Consider body oils infused with specific terpene profiles. Not only do they smell divine, but they also offer therapeutic benefits beyond mere aroma.

For instance, a body oil enhanced with myrcene, known for its sedative effect, could help soothe your nerves after a long day. Or perhaps you’d prefer an invigorating morning pick-me-up? A limonene-infused body oil could provide just the energizing boost you need.

Terpenes in E-Liquids & Cold Vaping:

When it comes to consuming terpenes via inhalation, cold vaping is a game-changer. Unlike traditional smoking or vaping techniques, it preserves the delicate integrity of terpene profiles by preventing combustion.

E-liquids enriched with terpenes create a flavorful vaping experience while tapping into the wellness properties of these compounds. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, focus, or mood elevation, there’s a terpene-infused e-liquid out there to match your needs.

Terpenes in Cartridges & Concentrates:

The world of cannabis consumption has been significantly elevated thanks to terpenes. Consider CBD distillate cartridges mixed with specific terpene combinations — these offer customized effects tailored to individual preferences and needs.

But what about dry cannabis or concentrates like Rosin and BHO? There’s innovation happening here, too! Techniques have been developed for reintroducing evenly distributed terpene mixtures into these products. Tools such as magnetic stirrers or glass jars are used to ensure a homogenous blend, enhancing the overall consumer experience.

Understanding Specific Terpene Profiles

The world of terpenes is as diverse as it is fascinating. Each terpene comes with its unique aroma profile and potential effects on our bodies. Let’s delve deeper into the profiles of some well-known terpenes, their distinguishing aromas, and the effects they’re known for.


First up is myrcene, a common terpene found in significant amounts in cannabis, among other plants. It boasts an herbal aroma profile with notes of citrus and musk. If you’ve ever wondered why some cannabis strains make you feel more relaxed than others, myrcene might be part of the answer.

This terpene is known for its mild sedative effect. While it won’t necessarily put you straight to sleep, it can certainly help create a calming atmosphere conducive to winding down and relaxing – a perfect companion for your nighttime routine.


Next on the list is limonene, aptly named for its citrusy aroma that’s reminiscent of freshly squeezed lemons. This terpene doesn’t just smell good – it has mood-enhancing properties too.

Imagine peeling a fresh orange or lemon. That uplifting feeling you get? That’s limonene at work! It’s often associated with feelings of joy and stress relief, making it popular in products designed to elevate mood or alleviate anxiety.

Caryophyllene & Pinene:

Finally, let’s take a look at caryophyllene and pinene. These two terpenes are as different as they are interesting. Caryophyllene offers a spicy scent that ranges from pepper to cinnamon – an aroma that adds a warm depth to any product it graces.

On the other hand, pinene lives up to its name by offering a fresh, rosemary-like scent reminiscent of a walk through a pine forest. This terpene is not just about the aroma – it’s also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Both caryophyllene and pinene are versatile in their uses, enhancing flavors across different products. Whether you’re formulating a skincare product or a culinary masterpiece, these terpenes can add that extra ‘oomph’ to delight the senses.

Understanding specific terpene profiles allows us to appreciate them beyond their aromatic contributions. It’s not just about how they make a product smell – it’s about how they can enhance our wellbeing and overall experience with the product.

FAQs About Using Terpenes Safely

As we explore the world of terpenes, it’s essential to address some common questions and concerns that may arise. After all, understanding is the key to safe and effective use. So, let’s tackle a couple of frequently asked questions about terpene use.

Can you add too many terpenes?

When it comes to terpenes, less is often more. It’s not just about potency – it’s also about maintaining a balance. Terpenes are potent compounds; a little goes a long way, especially when they’re in their concentrated form.

If you’re experimenting with mixing your own products, start small – really small. We’re talking a few drops at most. Remember, you can always add more if needed, but you can’t take away once added. Don’t let the enticing aromas fool you into thinking more terps will necessarily lead to better results.

For those consuming products enriched with added terpenes, it’s equally important to be mindful. Verifying product quality, understanding the intended dosage, and adhering to it are critical steps in ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

How do environmental factors affect natural terpene profiles?

Think of terpenes as nature’s mood rings – they respond to their environment in quite fascinating ways. The scent and therapeutic effects of plants rich in specific volatile hydrocarbons can be influenced significantly by cultivation conditions.

Factors such as climate, soil type, temperature, sunlight exposure, and even the time of day can all affect a plant’s natural terpene profile. For example, lavender grown at high altitudes tends to have higher levels of linalool (a calming terpene) than its low-altitude counterpart.

The same principle applies to cannabis and other terpene-rich plants. This variability is one reason why two batches of the same cannabis strain can have subtly different effects.

Conclusion: The Future is Fragrant

As we’ve seen, terpenes are far more than mere aromatic compounds. They’re nature’s toolkit for enhancing our sensory experiences, whether it’s through the engaging flavors in our foods, the soothing scents of our cosmetics, or the therapeutic effects of our wellness products.

From the distinct notes of pinene in a forest walk to the bright burst of limonene in a citrus grove, terpenes enrich our everyday lives in countless ways. They’re integral to the entourage effect in cannabis consumption, enhancing and modulating the influences of cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Plus, they’re revolutionizing culinary arts by introducing unique flavors into everything from lavender chamomile honey tarts to fennel-infused melon salads.

But perhaps what’s most exciting about terpenes is their potential for future innovation. As we continue to understand and harness their properties, we’re likely to see even more custom blends tailored for personalized therapy or entertainment experiences. Imagine having your own signature scent profile that not only smells fantastic but also promotes relaxation, enhances mood, or boosts focus!

The possibilities are as abundant as nature itself. So next time you stop to smell the roses – or the cannabis, or the lavender – take a moment to appreciate the complex symphony of terpenes at work.

And remember: when it comes to terpenes, the future truly is fragrant!

Katie Devoe

Katie Devoe

Katie Devoe is an entrepreneur, educator, and cannabis thought leader. She has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences and developed the CannaCertified cannabis education platform.

• Cannabis and Hemp Enthusiast
• One of the first female business owners in the hemp and cannabis industry
• Co-founder of one of the largest and most established CBD manufacturers in the country
• Spent the past decade leading brands in the hemp and cannabis industry
• Developed a certification program
Connect with Katie on LinkedIn

Get a quote from Katie on your product idea today!

Katie Devoe

Katie Devoe

Katie Devoe is an entrepreneur, educator, and cannabis thought leader. She has been a guest speaker at numerous conferences and developed the CannaCertified cannabis education platform.

• Cannabis and Hemp Enthusiast
• One of the first female business owners in the hemp and cannabis industry
• Co-founder of one of the largest and most established CBD manufacturers in the country
• Spent the past decade leading brands in the hemp and cannabis industry
• Developed a certification program
Connect with Katie on LinkedIn

Get a quote from Katie on your product idea today!



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