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Terpene Profiles: the Power of Nose

Updated: Jan 4

a sculpture of a nose on a white background

In 2007 I attended a Lavender festival in Fairfield Pennsylvania. Everything Lavender. There was even a Lavender Bonsai making class! What is Lavenders calling grace? Lavenders unique aroma. Lavender is a giant in the aromatherapy space. Known for its ability to calm ragged nerves, soothe anxiety and promote restful sleep. It is possible to ingest Lavender, but it’s mainly known for its special fragrance.

Aromas can arouse or arrest. They can provoke or in some cases cause a person to pass out. Smells and flavors can add dynamics to everyday life. Consider what the website Science had to say about the capabilities of the nose: “Understanding how people process the complex information contained in scents-or memories of smells-offers a window into how the human brain functions.”

I personally suffer with debilitating nausea. There isn’t a day that goes by without me gagging and dry heaving. Fortunately, the days where I do toss my cookies are few and far between. The cookies usually stay “in the cookie jar”. Part of this is due to Cannabis Terpenes.

In the moment when my nausea becomes too difficult to bear (mouth starts to water, stomach cramps up and I start sweating) I have started a mental exercise whereby I visualize a Marijuana Farm and imagine the smell. I also fantasize about smelling my favorite daytime Cannabis. In an emergency, this simple exercise is enough to stave off a vomiting session. This little exercise illustrates the way Cannabis terpenes can hold promise in the treatment of disease.


We don’t know it all. In fact, what we DO know leads us to believe there is much more to learn. We know that these flavors and smells are locked up in terpenoids. These terpenoids are released when a flower is agitated. Squeezing a resinous flower and at the same time inhaling is a great way to “sniff test” your medicine.

A Few Terpene profiles

A-Pinene: An anti-inflammatory-Bronchodilator-Memory-Anti-Bacterial (Found in Pine)

Linalool: Anesthetic-Anti Anxiety-Sedative

Myrcene: Anti-Inflammatory-tranquilizing-muscle relaxant

Limonene: Mood enhancing, anti-depressant, relieves nausea

Terpenes Attract

Some states allow Cannabis to be viewed in large dispensary jars. Budtenders bring these large mason jars to perceptive patients to inspect and examine. As cannabis grows become more technically advanced, the smells and new flavors is equally exciting. Cotton candy, cheese, musk, lime, lemon, grape or blueberry, the list is simply endless.


Try this: Next time you are able to smell test your medicine attempt to notice which smell makes you calm. Which smell increases your appetite or which smell gives energy. Ask questions!

Botanically Derived Terpenes vs Cannabis Derived Terpenes

Some Cannabis manufactures have begun to” reintroduce” complex terpene profiles back into distillated Cannabis products. Some of them ARE from Cannabis. Top Shelf Hemp only uses naturally sourced Cannabis Derived Terpenes. Cannabis Derived Terpenes: hereafter referred to as CDT are pulled directly from the Cannabis plant and Botanically Derived Terpenes, hereafter referred to as BDT are pulled from naturally sourced “non-Cannabis” flowers.

Health departments have become concerned w the state of flavoring in Cannabis products. The Pa health department took the historic step of recalling products with BDT. They cited the FDA as the government agency that “sets the standard” regarding inhalants. What does the future hold for BDTs is hard to say… I am quite sure that Cannabis-derived terpenes have not seen the end. For Cannabis terpenes this is probably just the beginning.


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