Cannabis Terpenes 101: Secondary Terpenes

Understanding terpene basics and why they matter​

Terpenes are aromatic molecules that give cannabis and other plants their distinct aromas. In our previous post, we got acquainted with dominant cannabis terpenes.

This time around, we’re focusing on secondary cannabis terpenes, which are typically present in much smaller concentrations. While they might not be as important as their dominant cousins, secondary terpenes still contribute to the flavors and effects of cannabis.

Strains Rich In Secondary Terpenes

Although all cannabis strains contain them, secondary terpenes rarely break into the top three terpenes by concentration. For example, linalool is the third most abundant terpene in only a handful of strains, including Do-Si-Dos, Scooby Snacks, and Zkittlez, making these strains rather unique. 

Here’s a closer look at the ten most notable secondary cannabis terpenes: carene, camphene, caryophyllene oxide, fenchol, humulene, linalool, phellandrene, beta-pinene, terpinene, and terpineol.

Carene

Also known as delta-3 carene, this terpene has a sweet smell reminiscent of turpentine. Aside from cannabis, it’s also found in pine trees, rosemary, and other plants.Studies have shown that carene has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties 1 and may support bone health.2 It’s also been shown to promote sleep by interacting with GABA receptors in the brain.3

Camphene​

Camphene is another terpene common in conifer and camphor trees, as well as valerian, nutmeg, and other plants.

It has a cooling, piney, camphor-like odor with hints of citrus. Early research suggests that it may be able to lower cholesterol and triglycerides4 and help with inflammation and pain.5

Caryophyllene Oxide​

Caryophyllene oxide is a different form of beta-caryophyllene, one of the dominant terpenes in cannabis. It’s found in the same kinds of plants, such as basil, cloves, and pepper, and has a woody scent.

Caryophyllene oxide has similar effects to regular caryophyllene, including pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiviral properties.6

Fenchol

Also known as fenchyl alcohol, fenchol is common in basil and aster flowers. It has camphor and lemon-like flavor and may have pain-relieving qualities.7

Humulene

Humulene has an earthy, woody, and spicy scent and is common in hops. It hasn’t seen much research aside from studies highlighting its anti-inflammatory properties.8

Linalool

One of the most recognized secondary terpenes in cannabis, linalool has a floral odor and is also found in lavender and coriander.

It’s been shown to have many beneficial properties, including sedative, anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, neuroprotective, antidiabetic, and pain-relieving effects.9, 10

Phellandrene

Phellandrene is an under-researched terpene that’s found in eucalyptus plants and has a complex flavor with hints of mint, citrus, pepper, spice, and wood. It may have antidepressant and antihyperalgesic (reduced sensitivity to pain) effects.11

Beta-Pinene

Beta-pinene is the lesser-known cousin of alpha-pinene, one of the dominant cannabis terpenes. It has a woody, pine-like aroma and is common in pines and some other trees.Studies suggest that it may have anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anticonvulsant, antimicrobial, anticancer, antioxidant, and gastroprotective properties.12

Terpinene

Terpinene is common in eucalyptus, citrus, cardamom, tea tree, and other plants, and has a refreshing, woody scent. It’s been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory,13 antioxidant,14 and anticancer effects.15

Terpineol

Terpineol is abundant in lilac, pine, and lime blossom, and has a lilac-like aroma. Research suggests that it may have anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anticancer, and antidepressant properties.16, 17, 18

Summing Up

Secondary terpenes contribute to the flavor and effects of cannabis, with each strain having a unique terpene profile.

While they might not play as big of a role as their dominant cousins, secondary terpenes are still important. For example, strains rich in limonene can be a good option for calming, uplifting effects.

You can search products by their terpene profile and look for specific secondary terpenes in our Producer Connect database.

1 Huang, Xia-Ling, et al. “Anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive effects of active ingredients in the essential oils from Gynura procumbens, a traditional medicine and a new and popular food material.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 239 (2019): 111916.2 Jeong, Jong‐Geun, et al. “Low concentration of 3‐carene stimulates the differentiation of mouse osteoblastic MC3T3‐E1 subclone 4 cells.” Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives 22.1 (2008): 18-22.3 Woo, Junsung, et al. “3-Carene, a phytoncide from pine tree has a sleep-enhancing effect by targeting the GABAA-benzodiazepine receptors.” Experimental neurobiology 28.5 (2019): 593.4 Vallianou, Ioanna, et al. “Camphene, a plant-derived monoterpene, reduces plasma cholesterol and triglycerides in hyperlipidemic rats independently of HMG-CoA reductase activity.” PloS one 6.11 (2011): e20516.5 Quintans-Júnior, Lucindo, et al. “Antinociceptive activity and redox profile of the monoterpenes.” International Scholarly Research Notices 2013 (2013).6 Fidyt, Klaudyna, et al. “β‐caryophyllene and β‐caryophyllene oxide—natural compounds of anticancer and analgesic properties.” Cancer medicine 5.10 (2016): 3007-3017.7 Takaishi, Masayuki, et al. “Inhibitory effects of monoterpenes on human TRPA1 and the structural basis of their activity.” The Journal of Physiological Sciences 64.1 (2014): 47-57.8 Rogerio, Alexandre P., et al. “Preventive and therapeutic anti‐inflammatory properties of the sesquiterpene α‐humulene in experimental airways allergic inflammation.” British journal of pharmacology 158.4 (2009): 1074-1087. of Medical and Biological Research 49.7 (2016).9 Pereira, Irina, et al. “Linalool bioactive properties and potential applicability in drug delivery systems.” Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces 171 (2018): 566-578.10 de Moura Linck, Viviane, et al. “Inhaled linalool-induced sedation in mice.” Phytomedicine 16.4 (2009): 303-307.11 Piccinelli, Ana Claudia, et al. “Antihyperalgesic and antidepressive actions of (R)-(+)-limonene, α-phellandrene, and essential oil from Schinus terebinthifolius fruits in a neuropathic pain model.” Nutritional neuroscience 18.5 (2015): 217-224.12 Salehi, Bahare, et al. “Therapeutic potential of α-and β-pinene: a miracle gift of nature.” Biomolecules 9.11 (2019): 738.13 de Oliveira Ramalho, Theresa Raquel, et al. “Gamma-terpinene modulates acute inflammatory response in mice.” Planta Medica 81.14 (2015): 1248-1254.14 Rudbäck, Johanna, et al. “α-Terpinene, an antioxidant in tea tree oil, autoxidizes rapidly to skin allergens on air exposure.” Chemical research in toxicology 25.3 (2012): 713-721.15 Ya-Nan, Wang, et al. “Anticancer effects of Chenopodium ambrosiodes L. essential oil on human breast cancer MCF-7 cells in vitro.” Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research 14.10 (2015): 1813-1820.16 Vieira, Graziela, et al. “Antidepressant-like effect of terpineol in an inflammatory model of depression: Involvement of the cannabinoid system and D2 dopamine receptor.” Biomolecules 10.5 (2020): 792.17 Nogueira, M. N. M., et al. “Terpinen-4-ol and alpha-terpineol (tea tree oil components) inhibit the production of IL-1β, IL-6 and IL-10 on human macrophages.” Inflammation research 63.9 (2014): 769-778.18 Hassan, Saadia Bashir, et al. “Alpha terpineol: a potential anticancer agent which acts through suppressing NF-κB signalling.” Anticancer Research 30.6 (2010): 1911-1919.

How Cannametrics Started, Where It’s Moving, and Big Plans Ahead (Part 2)

What’s being developed and a message for Retailers & Producers

My conversation with Eric continued as I kept digging into the core of Cannametrics to unveil its existence: who is it really supporting – and why? It really comes down to two essential groups within the cannabis industry ecosystem that it serves: Retailers and Producers. Eric shows me the why’s and how’s Cannametrics Producer Connect is here to help what he calls “The Holy Trinity”.

What is currently being developed that excites you the most? And what is the solution that you’re proposing to Producers and Retailers? This is a bit of a two part question.

Well, let me start the second part first. The solution that I’m proposing to Retailers, Producers, and customers is a combination of what I believe is the “Holy Trinity” of cannabis related data. 

Right now, we’re collecting product data. We’re about to launch into collecting Retail data. And then we’ll combine that with consumer data – all of a sudden we’ll have our first holistic look at the cannabis marketplace. I think what’s super important to remember is that right now we have little insight into the motivations, goals, and life-world of the consumer. What are they buying and why? What are they trying to achieve? Are they achieving it? You can’t get this from retail sales data alone. You can’t get it from production data. But it all plays a part in telling that story of “what is cannabis actually doing for people and their lives”?

So how are we going to get there? We started off with our Producer Connect platform – connecting Producers and Retailers, so that Retailers have, for the first time, access to the comprehensive information they need.

However, we have realized that this is not enough to provide people with access to information. We have to help them use this information in a useful way in their day-to-day lives. So now that they have it, what can they do with it? 

We’re putting specific, detailed product knowledge in the hands of Budtenders so that they can truly connect with their customers in a way that allows them to understand products and have a deep knowledge. And this acknowledges that it is impossible for anyone to memorize cannabinoid and terpene mixes of everything they sell – nobody can do that. But what you can do is learn which cannabinoids and terpenes are good for which use cases and then have access to that information. 

And that is Cannametrics Budtender. We’re going to put detailed product knowledge in the hands of Budtenders as well as education to help them make the most out of that information. What are the cannabinoids and terpenes, what do they do, how do we talk meaningfully to our customers about that.

From there, we’re going to collect feedback from the Budtenders. What insights can we gather from talking to consumers? What do these insights tell us about these products, about their needs and goals, what is working to connect the customer with the product, and who is that customer specifically? This is critical demographic and psychographic information that will help us understand how we’re truly connecting the dots on the sales floor. 

Then the next piece of that is putting technology into the customer’s hands to be able to record their experiences, benefit from those insights and feed that back so that Producers can know what effects their products are having on people. So Retailers can know and answer, with an evidence basis, how to connect the right people with the right products? If you are a certain type of person looking to have a specific experience, what’s most likely to work for you? By combining those three data sources, we begin to have a true look at who is buying what for which purposes. Who is being successful and how can we tailor our inventory to serve our community better? How can we create products to help people better?

What do you want Retailers to know about Cannametrics?

I want them to know that we are building the solution that they have been asking us for and that we are making leaps and bounds in our ability to provide them with information and tools. That we are absolutely on the verge of the next level of usefulness and functionality.

Retailers unequivocally asked us to give them access to the detailed cannabinoid and terpene data, to the COA data. So we did it. We built this platform for them. Retailers told us they needed better education for their staff. So we built out an evidence based content stream for them.

Now, Retailers are telling us that they want to put detailed product knowledge in the hands of their budtenders. So that’s coming. They’ve told us that they want to have insights about their particular inventory that are automatically generated through integrations. That is coming very soon. They’ve told us that they are interested in having additional insights to compare the products that are available to them on the market and that is coming as well.

I think we’re just getting started. We’ve gathered a tremendous amount of information and data thus far and now we’re starting to be able to deploy this in really exciting new ways.

What do you want Producers to know about Cannametrics?

I want Producers to know what I’ve seen from the beginning — and that
is that Retailers have screamed from the rooftops “transparency,
transparency, TRANSPARENCY!” is so important for them, their staff, and
their customers. Now I’m starting to hear from even the largest
Producers this really keen interest in being transparent, in leading the
way, and not being left behind. This is becoming a true and present
reality for Producers and that is: transparency is no longer a request,
it’s a requirement.

I want them to know that we are here to help them drive that initiative and we are so excited for our current partners who are making waves in the community through being truly transparent and that we are here to help the rest make this transition quickly, easily, and efficiently. It’s a movement that’s not going away.

Parkland Flower joins Producer Connect

Our producer list has another great addition.

We are pleased to announce that Parkland Flower has joined Producer Connect!

Parkland Flower is now sharing comprehensive batch-level product information and digital assets from these brands with you on Producer Connect.

Check out their products on the Products page or send them a message from the Messages page to connect with them directly.

From Parkland Flower

Parkland Flower Inc. is the 9th Cannabis Micro Cultivation License in Alberta. Parkland Flower has over 20 years of growing experience coupled with excellent cultivars. We are located outside of Edmonton, offering top-quality craft cannabis products. 

Parkland Flower Product Preview

Click on the image to see the Product Profile.

THC: 16-25%
CBD: 0.46%

Perfect for sea of green growers. Don’t grow it with too many main tops indoors, likes to grow as a single cola but will branch a lot if topped.

THC: 16-19%
CBD: 0.00%

Can produce up to 100-220g/plant of bud outdoors. The entire life cycle of Auto Cheese NL autoflower is between 100-105 days seed to finish. Can be planted outdoor immediately following last frost (late May early June).

THC: 17-20%
CBD: 0.8%

This mostly indica plant adapts with vigor to indoor and outdoor grows. Under lights, it finishes bloom in 50–55 days, while under the sun, it is ready for harvest by the end of September.

THC: 25-32%
CBD: >2.00%

This high potency strain may leave you feeling euphoric, creative, and silly for hours on end.