An Ode to Terpenes

Written by Nicholas Demski

The medical efficacy and organoleptic seductiveness of a compound found in cannabis, hops, and other flowers.

It’s been a long day.

Your boss was staring over your shoulder in the morning. During the afternoon’s team meeting with HR reminding people of how to maintain a polite and accepting atmosphere, you had to sit next to the smelly guy in the office. On the way home, a Dorito’s truck jackknifed, flipped, and blocked the highway for two hours. The late arrival home meant a microwaved dinner of a chewy piece of turkey, a tiny serving of corn, and a lava-hot brownie that crisped your tongue. To relax, you open an IPA craft brewed in your hometown and sit on your back porch smelling your lilacs.

In the next moment, you’re being tackled by police. Metal clanks around your wrists and you’re dragged to a police car where you’re being arrested for drinking terpene-laden beer and sniffing terpene-producing flowers.

When put in this scenario, it’s easy to see why terpenes–like all cannabis-derived compounds–have no reason to be demonized.

Many terpenes have a delightful, uplifting smell not only emanating from your lilacs, but also from your buds. They give the floral aroma to hoppy beers and provide them with a garden-fresh zest. Others have a calming essence that soothes the body via the nostrils and the endocannabinoid system.

Figure 1 One of many plants with terpenes.

Even more important than delighting the senses, terpenes can team up with THC, CBD, and the other cannabinoids to provide healing properties via the entourage effect. [1]

With scientific research restricted at the federal level, specific compound profiles and their medical efficacy are difficult to ascertain. However, given the vast amount of anecdotal evidence that has accumulated over the millennia, it’s safe to say that Schedule I status goes against the grain of common knowledge.

Terpenes are misunderstood by government agencies that seek to prevent their use. They don’t have the celebrity status of THC–and more recently, CBD. When hearing about them for the first time, people hear about pinene–which is found in many plants, most notably pine trees.

With their governmental suppression and a lack of consumer awareness, terpenes may appear to be doomed to fall by the wayside. Thankfully, researchers–and magazines like this one–take terpenes more seriously. Where there once stood a void of understanding, recent research brings an aura of authority.


  1. “The Entourage Effect and Terpenes.” Accessed July 3, 2018.

About the author

Nicholas Demski

Nicholas Demski's latest venture is He's a poet, author, cannabis writer, and budding entrepreneur. You can follow his travels with his daughter on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram @TheSingleDadNoma

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