Terpene Analysis and Testing: Unlocking the Secrets of Aromatic Delights


Terpenes, the aromatic compounds found in various plants, have been captivating scientists and enthusiasts alike for their remarkable properties. From providing captivating scents to offering potential health benefits, terpenes play a significant role in our lives. In this blog post, we delve into the fascinating world of terpene analysis and testing, exploring its importance, methodologies, and how it contributes to a wide range of industries. Testing labs report results on a Certificate of Analysis (COA). The COA says whether the batch passes or fails testing for each substance (Department of Cannabis Control California 2023).

Understanding Terpenes

Terpenes are organic compounds found in plants, responsible for the captivating aromas and flavors we encounter every day. These compounds are not only limited to the world of fragrance but are also present in cannabis, herbs, fruits, and many other natural sources. Terpene analysis and testing allows us to identify and quantify these compounds, shedding light on their unique properties and potential applications.

Importance of Terpene Analysis and Testing

Terpene analysis and testing provide valuable insights into the chemical composition of plants, enabling us to understand their characteristics and potential benefits. For instance, in the cannabis industry, terpene analysis helps identify the different terpene profiles present in strains, which in turn influences the strain’s aroma, flavor, and potential therapeutic effects. Similarly, in the fragrance industry, terpene analysis assists in creating captivating perfumes by accurately identifying and measuring specific aromatic compounds. Multiple studies have demonstrated that THC potency is a primary factor in determining pricing for Cannabis flower, so it has an outsized role in the marketplace (Schwabe et al 2023). 

Methods of Terpene Analysis and Testing

Several methods are used for terpene analysis and testing, each with its own strengths and applications. Gas Chromatography (GC) is a commonly employed technique that separates and analyzes terpenes based on their vaporization properties. Liquid Chromatography (LC) is another effective method, particularly for compounds that are not easily vaporized. Additionally, mass spectrometry techniques such as GC-MS and LC-MS can provide detailed information about terpene structures, allowing for more precise identification. Whilst cannabinoid analysis is commonly performed by both GC and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), the volatility of terpenes makes GC a much more suitable tool for the analysis (James 2019).

Applications of Terpene Analysis and Testing

Terpene analysis and testing find applications in a wide range of industries. In the cannabis industry, it helps breeders, growers, and consumers understand the unique qualities of different strains, facilitating informed choices. In the essential oils and fragrance industries, terpene analysis assists in quality control, ensuring the desired aromatic profiles in products. Moreover, terpene analysis also plays a crucial role in pharmaceutical research, as certain terpenes exhibit potential therapeutic properties.

The Future of Terpene Analysis and Testing

As our understanding of terpenes deepens, the field of terpene analysis and testing continues to evolve. Advancements in technology and analytical techniques are allowing researchers to discover new terpene profiles and applications. This expanding knowledge will likely lead to further insights into the relationship between terpenes and their effects, potentially opening up new avenues for natural remedies, personalized fragrances, and improved product formulations.


Terpene analysis and testing are vital for unraveling the captivating world of aromatic compounds. Whether it’s understanding the diverse terpene profiles in cannabis or creating exquisite perfumes, the insights gained from terpene analysis help various industries deliver exceptional products and experiences. By harnessing the power of terpenes, we unlock a realm of possibilities that blend science, nature, and human ingenuity.

References & Citations

Department of Cannabis Control California


Testing Laboratories


Anna L. Schwabe, Vanessa Johnson, Joshua Harrelson, Mitchell E. McGlaughlin

April 12, 2023

Uncomfortably high: Testing reveals inflated THC potency on retail Cannabis labels


Andrew James

October 25, 2019

Using Gas Chromatography for Accurate Terpene Analysis in Cannabis