Terpenes are chemical compounds produced in plants that contribute to the plants’ flavors and smells. Terpenes protect cannabis from environmental stressors such as excess moisture, mold, penetrating sun, and pests. Terpenes can also attract beneficials (helpful insects such as ladybugs). Like cannabinoids, terpenes interact with a multitude of receptors in the body. Many of the benefits associated with essential oils are due to their high terpene contents. Two common terpenes in cannabis are alpha-pinene and D-linalool (also found in pine trees and lavender, respectively). Alpha- pinene has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, bronchodilating, and antibiotic properties. Of special interest to cannabis researchers is alpha-pinene’s ability to inhibit the breakdown of acetylcholine, which mitigates the short-term memory degradation associated with THC. D-linalool has been shown to have anticonvulsant, anxiety- reducing, and sedative effects. D-linalool also seems to have local anesthetic effects comparable to that of procaine and menthol, which would be relevant in topical applications of cannabis. 

To read more about terpenes purchase Cannabis Primer: An Introduction to Cannabis for Consumers, Producers, Providers, Policy Makers, and Health Professionals