List of the Major Flavors & Fragrances Cannabis Produces
A quick guide to the herb’s deliciously diverse realm of aromas and tastes.
The delicious scent of coffee or wine can be intoxicating before a single drop touches our taste buds. The same can be said when discovering the fragrance of a terpene-rich strain of cannabis: it can enliven us into the mood to consume.
Discovering new aromas and flavors of cannabis can be exhilarating, and with the vast amount of terpenes found in cannabis, there’s a combination out there to please everyone’s tastes.
The Source of Scents & Taste
Terpenes! They’re the organic hydrocarbon compounds found in most plants and some insects that emit a scent and produce a taste for evolutionary purposes (attracting pollinators, deterring predators). Concerning cannabis, the most can be found in female cannabis flowers before senescence (deterioration due to age).
They’re believed to work synergistically with cannabinoids to produce both physical and cognitive effects, however more research is still needed to show us how. There are hundreds of terpenes out there, around 140 so far found in differing cannabis plants and the number continues to rise.
To learn more about Terpenes, view our article: Understanding Cannabis Terpenes
6 Prevalent Flavors & Fragrances of Cannabis
You’ll come across many strains that produce a piney aroma and taste usually accompanied with other earthy or fruity undertones. The terpenes responsible for pine are alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. As a comparison, both rosemary and dill contain such terpenes along with pine needles and basil. The eucalyptus tree contains both.
Pinene Effects: Counteracts THC’s short-term memory loss, improved alertness, anti-inflammitory
Here’s a delicious flavor that puts a bit of tang on your tongue. Lemony flavors and scents are produced by the terpene limonene which can also be found in juniper, peppermint, rosemary, and citrus rinds. Depending on the other terpenes found in the strain, this lemony terpene can be either sour or sweet.
Limonene Effects: Stress reducer, elevated mood, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal traits, aids absorption of other terpenes
3. Tropical Clove
A plethora of strains have an earthy, spicy, almost tropical scent and taste to them due to the terpene called myrcene. It’s found in mangoes, hops, lemongrass, thyme, and sweet basil along with various cannabis strains. In fact, hops and cannabis are part of the same family called cannabaceae (for those of you searching for a great strain to go with beer).
Myrcene Effects: Sedative, relaxation, anti-inflammatory, reduced pain, antibiotic
Occasionally you’ll come across some cannabis flowers that actually smell like flowers! Distinct floral aromas are due to the terpene called linalool. Lavender, birch trees, rosewood, mint, and even cinnamon all produce linalool. There are other terpenes found in cannabis that also exert a slightly floral aroma, but linalool is one of the most abundent.
Linalool Effects: Mood enhancer (anti-depressant & anti-anxiety), sedative, anti-inflammatory, pain reducer.
The spicy strains that smell like an herbal kitchen will usually have the terpene named caryophyllene. It’s found in cinnamon, black pepper, basil, oregano, rosemary and cloves as well as cannabis. Often this terpene is used in salves for the skin for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Caryophyllene Effects: Anti-inflammatory, craving-reducer (alcohol), mood enhancer (anti-depressant, anti-anxiety)
6. Spicy Wood
Though there can be pine-like scents and flavors in cannabis, some can be similar to trees and freshly churned earth that aren’t quite pine. One of the terpenes responsible for earthy, woody, spicy aromas and tastes is humulene. It can be found not only in cannabis but clove, sage, ginsing, and basil. Instead of increasing hunger like many strains are known to do, humulene actually suppresses it.
Humulene Effects: Appetite suppressant, pain-reducer, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative (inhibits cancer growth)
Besides these six, there are more terpenes that plunge into intoxicating aromas and tastes. There’s well over a hundred, each of them exerting their own distinct flavors and tastes. Each strain has its own terpene fingerprint, and the combination of several create truly unique aromas. Here are a few other common terpenes found in cannabis:
Floral - Alpha Bisabolol - anti-inflammatory
Earthy Pine - Delta 3 Carene - dries fluids like runny nose; tears
Camphor - Borneol - ani-insomnia
Spicy - Eucalyptol - couch suppressant
Clove & Pine - Terpineol - antioxidant
Have you tried any strains recently that are truly memorable regarding scent or flavor? If you could have an ideal taste and aroma, what would they be?