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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 Louisiana 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 Louisiana 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 purchasing your medical marijuana from your local pharmacy.

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!

Limonene (LIM-o-leen)

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

Also Found In:

Fruit rinds




Myrcene (MUR-seen)

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

Also Found In:





Linalool (LINN-uh-lool)

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

Also Found In:


Birch bark

Pinene (PIE-neen)

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

Also Found In:

Pine needles





Caryophyllene (carry-OFF-uh-leen)

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

Also Found In:



Black pepper

Humulene (HYU-myu-leen)

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

Also Found In:






How Do I Find These Terpenes At My Pharmacy?

Right now, Louisiana is one of the states with a medical marijuana program that is more limited on the products that you can purchase. They also don't have "traditional" dispensaries but instead have pharmacies.

In Louisiana, you can only purchase your medical marijuana from a pharmacy. This has both positive and negative effects. The positive is that it helps break the stigma surrounding using marijuana. By having patient’s purchase medical marijuana from pharmacies, it shows they are just like any other patient getting their medication for their medical condition. On the other hand, these pharmacies were pre-existing pharmacies that converted to selling medical marijuana products. This means that these pharmacies don't have a history of serving medical marijuana patient or a background in the marijuana industry. This could put the onus on you to be able to know the right questions to ask to advocate best for yourself!

This can make it more difficult to find these specific terpenes that you need for your medical condition. The best way to try and get these terpenes for yourself is to open up a conversation! Simply calling your pharmacy and asking about what products they have available is a great place to start. It can also help save you a trip to the pharmacy if they are out of stock of something that you are looking for. This conversation can also be done in person too!

How Can I Get a Louisiana Marijuana Card?

If you are waiting to get your Louisiana marijuana card, now is the time to get on our schedule! You can call us at (833) 253-2943 or schedule an appointment online with us via your phone or computer.

While you wait for your appointment, check out our blog to educate yourself about medical marijuana. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter, to join the Louisiana medical marijuana community.

Don’t wait another day to find the relief you deserve!


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