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  • Olivia Castro

Terpene 101: What Are They, What Do They Do & Why We Need Them

I am sure you have all heard of terpenes before. They are definitely the latest buzzword in the cannabis industry but not everyone knows really what they are. You know when you hear a confusing word so often that it ends up getting too late in the game to ask what it is? Well, that’s kind of how everyone feels about terpenes! You are not alone in your confusion.

Terpenes are actually the reason why medical marijuana can differ so drastically in taste, appearance and effect! They really are the heart and soul of cannabis. When you have a Tennessee marijuana card, terpenes can mean the difference between pain relief while you tackle your to-do list, and relaxation so deep that it borders on “couch lock”.

Both of these results can be desirable based on your treatment goals! As you learn more about your marijuana medication, it is important to have a good understanding of terpenes. This will help you find the marijuana strains that work best for you! We put together this blog for you to have a comprehensive look at terpenes that are most commonly used in medical marijuana strains.

Welcome to Terpene 101! Class is in session!

Doesn’t Indica and Sativa Cover All Marijuana Strains?

The simple answer is not even close! Indica and sativa are general groupings of marijuana strains that have similar broad effects. At the most basic level, the different types of cannabis plants are indica and sativa.


Indica plants are produced with a greater amount of CBD and a lower amount of THC. Indica strains are typically used for increased mental relaxation, muscle relaxation, decreased nausea, decreased acute pains, increased appetite and increase of dopamine levels. Indica strains are most often used to help treat insomnia.


Sativa plants are produced with greater amounts of THC and less CBD. Sativa medicinal strains are best for daytime use. Some common uses are for anti-anxiety, anti-depression, treatment with chronic pain, increased focus and creativity and increased serotonin level.

While these two groups are helpful, they are a little too general for medicinal reference. There is so much more to medical marijuana than these two simple groups!

Getting your Tennessee marijuana card is a very exciting process! You can easily get caught up in the world wind of getting your marijuana card and forget that there is often a lot of new information that is important to keep in mind while waiting for the Tennessee medical marijuana program to be officially up and running.

You may even want to do a little research on your own. This can help you make your own treatment plan and learn more about what products you should be looking for. Some medical marijuana strains are better for treating chronic pain, some for treating multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s, others for PTSD or cancer. The list goes on and on since the differences in effect get more nuanced when you start to pay attention to terpenes and how they treat specific medical conditions!

What Are Terpenes?

That blast of fresh citrus you get when you slice open a lemon, or that relaxing sigh you take when you smell lavender, are both a result of terpenes. Your favorite candles, shower gel, and essential oils all have their scent, and resulting effect, because of terpenes!

The terpenes in cannabis contribute to the entourage effect that creates the results you experience with each individual strain. The effect of each cannabinoid and terpene on its own is one thing but in specific combinations, they take on a powerful effect!

Which Terpenes Are Found in Medical Marijuana?

The 100 or so terpenes found in medical marijuana make up just a small portion of the more than 20,000 found in the natural world! We generally focus on a dozen or fewer of those terpenes in order to understand the effects of any particular strain.

This list below will help you get to know the most commonly dominant terpenes in cannabis, and give you a good idea of what to look for when you visit a Louisiana pharmacy!


Lemons, limes, and oranges contain high concentrations of limonene, which is a natural mood elevator. Limonene gives citrus its bright, clean scent, and it can be a pick-me-up when you need a little boost of energy.

Why Should I Look for Limonene in Medical Marijuana?

Limonene has antidepressant, antifungal, and antispasmodic properties. It also kicks your immune system into gear, so using a limonene-dominant strain may also be helpful if you have a cold. Limonene is effective at helping you focus, and it may be useful in treating depression, chronic fatigue, and pain related to muscle spasms.

Limonene Dominant Strains To Look For:

Lemon Haze

Wedding Cake

Raspberry Lemonade


Myrcene is popular for its powerful pain relieving effects, but be careful! It’s also famous for causing “couch lock.” Also found in hops, basil, and mangos, myrcene is an anti-inflammatory as well as a sedative.

Why Should I Look for Myrcene in Medical Marijuana?

One thing that makes Myrcene a good choice for pain management is its ability to increase absorption of cannabinoids in the brain. This means it will be easier for your medical marijuana to do its job. It is excellent for insomnia, and many use myrcene-dominant strains as a muscle relaxer.

Myrcene Dominant Strains To Look For:

MAC n Cheese

LA Confidential

Sundae Fundae


Linalool has relaxing and anticonvulsant effects, and it has been studied in use as an anti-seizure medication. In addition to cannabis, linalool is also found in plants like lavender and coriander.

Why Should I Look for Linalool in Medical Marijuana?

Linalool is good for depression and anxiety, and it can elevate your mood while helping you relax. This means that linalool-dominant strains may be good to manage your anxiety on days tension is running high but you have things to do.

Linalool Dominant Strains To Look For:


Martian Monkey

White Sour Star


When you go for a hike in a pine forest and get that cool, relaxed feeling of being connected and grounded, that’s the result of Pinene. It has been referred to as “the miracle gift of nature” by some researchers, and its wide range of uses points to why!

Why Should I Look for Pinene in Medical Marijuana?

Pinene is good for pain that is related to inflammation. It can have clarifying effects, making it a good choice for those days you have things to do but need pain relief to make it through.

Pinene Dominant Strains To Look For:

Topanga Canyon


Vegas OG


Beta-caryophyllene is sometimes referred to as a cannabinoid because it binds with the CB2 receptors in the brain. It can be found in pepper, cloves, hops, oregano, and other spicy, woody-scented plants.

Why Should I Look for Caryophyllene in Medical Marijuana?

Beta-caryophyllene is great at reducing stress and anxiety. It is also a powerful pain reliever, and it may help your body absorb any pain medications you are already taking. This means you might be able to reduce your prescription painkillers because they are more effective when accompanied by marijuana that contains this terpene.

Caryophyllene Dominant Strains To Look For:

Tangie Cookies

New Glue

Star Haze


Humulene has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an excellent choice for pain relief. It also works as an appetite suppressant, satisfying patients who use medical marijuana but want to avoid getting the munchies.

Why Should I Look for Humulene in Medical Marijuana?

Humulene’s anti-inflammatory properties make it perfect for people who suffer from conditions that cause pain from swollen joints (pun only slightly intended), like arthritis.

Humulene Dominant Strains To Look For:

Pink Kush

Sour Diesel

White Widow

Where Is The Medical Marijuana Program At Right Now?

There is so much going on in Tennessee regarding medical marijuana. As of this moment, medical marijuana is not legal in Tennessee but there are so many steps that are being taken to get us there! Over the past year, there have been 17 different legislations in the works regarding mostly medical marijuana but also decriminalization of marijuana.

Once Tennessee’s medical marijuana program is ready, the best way to try and get these terpenes for yourself is to open up a conversation! Simply calling your local dispensary and asking about what products they have available is a great place to start. It can also help save you a trip to the dispensary if they are out of stock of something that you are looking for.

How Can I Get a Tennessee Marijuana Card?

Here at Tennessee Marijuana Card, we're excited to help you get approved for medical marijuana as soon as Tennessee finalizes rules for a medical marijuana program. It shouldn't be much longer!

In the meantime, reserve your appointment by completing the form here, and you'll receive $25 off your evaluation!

You can also call our compassionate Patient Support Staff that are here to help you every step of the way at (833) 781-5611!

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