Terpene Analysis: Unveiling the Aromatic World of Cannabis


In the realm of cannabis, a fascinating aspect that often goes unnoticed is the presence of terpenes. These organic compounds not only contribute to the distinctive scents and flavors of different cannabis strains but also offer a range of potential therapeutic benefits. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of terpene analysis, exploring its significance and shedding light on how it can enhance your understanding of cannabis. Cannabis has a long history of being credited with centuries of healing powers for millennia. The cannabis plant is a rich source of cannabinoids and terpenes. Each cannabis chemovar exhibits a different flavor and aroma, which are determined by its terpene content (Ibrahim et al 2022).

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic molecules found in various plants, including cannabis. They are responsible for the captivating fragrances and tastes we associate with different strains. In addition to cannabis, terpenes can also be found in fruits, herbs, and spices. By analyzing terpenes, researchers gain insights into the chemical makeup and composition of cannabis strains. Terpenes are natural unsaturated hydrocarbons with the formula (C5H8n) (Birenboim 2022).

Terpene Analysis: The Key to Understanding Cannabis

Terpene analysis is a crucial process that involves identifying and quantifying the terpenes present in a cannabis sample. By analyzing the specific terpene profile, researchers and cannabis enthusiasts can determine the unique characteristics and potential effects of a strain. This information allows consumers to make informed choices based on their desired aroma, flavor, and therapeutic benefits.

Aroma and Flavor Profiles

Terpenes play a vital role in defining the aroma and flavor of cannabis strains. For instance, the terpene myrcene contributes to the earthy and musky scent often associated with indica strains. On the other hand, limonene imparts a citrusy aroma, commonly found in sativa strains. Through terpene analysis, cultivators and consumers can identify the dominant terpenes in a strain, providing valuable information about its sensory attributes.

Therapeutic Potential

Beyond their olfactory appeal, terpenes may also possess therapeutic properties. Research suggests that certain terpenes, such as linalool and beta-caryophyllene, may offer anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic effects. Terpene analysis allows scientists to explore the potential synergistic interactions between terpenes and cannabinoids, like THC and CBD, and their impact on human health.

Strain Customization

Terpene analysis empowers cultivators to tailor cannabis strains to specific preferences and desired effects. By understanding the terpene profiles of different strains, breeders can selectively crossbreed plants to enhance or modify their aromatic profiles. This customization opens up a world of possibilities for developing new strains with unique flavor profiles and therapeutic potential.

Quality Control and Consumer Safety

Terpene analysis also plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and quality of cannabis products. By analyzing the terpene content, producers can identify potential contaminants or deviations from expected profiles, which could indicate poor cultivation practices or adulteration. This helps maintain consumer trust and ensures that products meet regulatory standards.

The Future of Terpene Analysis

As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, so does the field of terpene analysis. Technological advancements and increased research efforts are expanding our understanding of the complex interactions between terpenes, cannabinoids, and human physiology. This growing knowledge will drive innovation in strain development, product formulation, and personalized cannabis experiences.


Terpene analysis is a powerful tool that allows us to explore the intricate world of cannabis aromas, flavors, and therapeutic potential. By understanding the terpene profiles of different strains, we can make informed decisions, enhance strain customization, and ensure the safety and quality of cannabis products. As the cannabis industry progresses, terpene analysis will remain at the forefront, guiding the development of new strains and unlocking the full potential of this remarkable plant.

Commercial strain names like Girl Scout Cookies, Gorilla Glue and Blue Dream abound, giving consumers the impression that if you buy it in one place, you’ll get the same product, or at least the same effect, if you buy it elsewhere.

While marketers generally must disclose dosage of the psychoactive compound THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) on the label, they are not obliged to include information about other compounds, including terpenes, which can influence not only the smell but also—via a hypothesized synergistic effect called the entourage effect—the way a product makes you feel (Marshall 2022).

References & Citations

Elsayed A. Ibrahim, Mohamed M. Radwan, Waseem Gul, Chandrani G. Majumdar, Ghada M. Hadad, Randa A. Abdel Salam, Amany K. Ibrahim, Safwat A. Ahmed, Suman Chandra, Hemant Lata, Mahmoud A. ElSohly, and Amira S. Wanas

November 2, 2022

Quantitative Determination of Cannabis Terpenes Using Gas Chromatography-Flame Ionization Detector


Matan Birenboim, Daniel Chalupowicz, Dalia Maurer, Shimon Barel, Yaira Chen, Elazar Fallik, Tarin Paz-Kagan, Tal Rapaport, Alona Sadeh, David Kengisbuch, Jakob A. Shimshoni,

Multivariate classification of cannabis chemovars based on their terpene and cannabinoid profiles, Phytochemistry, Volume 200,

August 2022

Multivariate classification of cannabis chemovars based on their terpene and cannabinoid profiles


Lisa Marshall

May 19, 2022

What’s in your weed? The label doesn’t tell you much, study suggests