Top 3 Cannabis Strains By Terpenes
5 min

Top 3 Cannabis Strains By Terpenes

5 min

Do you know your pinene from your linalool? How about your myrcene from your limonene? Sure, terpenes are responsible for the tastes and smells of weed, but they also directly influence the effects of individual strains. Explore our list of strains boasting high levels of the major terpenes in cannabis, so you can get a real taste for terps.

Cannabis produces hundreds of fascinating phytochemicals that draw the attention of researchers and consumers the world over. The flowers of the plant produce over 100 cannabinoids, many different flavonoids, and over 200 terpenes.

As aromatic molecules, terpenes underpin the signature scent of cannabis, as well as the scents and flavour profiles unique to individual cultivars. Terpenes are found elsewhere in the plant kingdom too. Over 40,000 of these molecules exist in nature, giving rise to the fresh aroma of pine forests, the tangy scent of orange peels, and the pleasing perfume of roses, among many other scents.

Continue reading to discover the deeper roles terpenes play, and check out strains that contain the highest quantities of individual terpenes.

Why Cannabis Terpenes Matter

Why Cannabis Terpenes Matter

Sure, every smoker loves the smell of cannabis—and we have terpenes to thank for that. However, these aromatic molecules go above and beyond merely smelling great. Recent advances in cannabis science have led researchers to discover that terpenes play a key role in the psychoactive effects of the herb.

All psychoactive strains contain THC. However, some strains cause the user to feel stimulated and elevated, whereas others induce stoning and relaxing sensations. Terpenes are believed to be largely responsible for this difference, synergising with cannabinoids through the entourage effect to produce distinct effects.

As a result, “sleepy” terpenes, such as myrcene, catalyse more of a stoning high, whereas cerebral terpenes like limonene invigorate the mind and refresh the smoker.

Related article

What Are Flavonoids, Terpenes, And Terpenoids?

Top 3 Cannabis Strains by Terpenes

Out of the 200+ terpenes present in cannabis flowers, several of these molecules appear more frequently and in greater concentrations than others. Check out five of the major cannabis terpenes below alongside three strains possessing substantial quantities of each.


Myrcene In Cannabis

As the most prevalent terpene in modern cannabis strains, myrcene contributes a complex taste and smell to many cultivars. The molecule imparts earthy, musky, and spicy notes, with a hint of sweetness. Myrcene also generates a deeply relaxing effect that underpins the classic “indica” high.

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Blue Dream

Despite harbouring high levels of myrcene, Blue Dream produces predominantly “sativa-like” effects. She exerts a cerebral and creative effect ideal for social situations and daytime use. Her long and resinous flowers feature hues of pink and produce THC levels of around 18%. Parent strains Blueberry and Haze passed down high levels of myrcene in a terpene profile that also features hints of sweetness and lemon.

Blue Dream (Zamnesia Seeds) feminized

Parents: Blueberry x Haze
Genetics: 20% Indica / 80% Sativa
Flowering Time: 9-10 weeks
THC: 19%
CBD: 0-1%
Flowering Type: Photoperiod

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf White Widow

A name known all over the cannabis world, White Widow boomed in popularity during the 1990s and remains one of the most sought-after varieties in Dutch coffeeshops to this day. The variety features a perfect split between indica and sativa genetics and produces a pleasant body high. High levels of myrcene and THC synergise to create a euphoric and heavy sensation.

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf OG Kush

This iconic variety sits firmly on the pantheon of legendary genetics. Stemming from the breeding mecca of Northern California, OG Kush went on to take the cannabis world by storm. The presence of myrcene becomes more obvious with every hit, as spicy and earthy notes light up the taste buds and a stoning sensation sweeps across the body.


Limonene In Cannabis

Limonene occurs commonly throughout nature, particularly in the rinds of citrus fruits. The terpene offers pleasant tastes of citrus and sweetness, and plays an important role as a major precursor of other terpenes in the cannabis plant. The molecule also appears to interface with serotonin receptors in the brain and may help to elevate the mood.

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Sour Diesel

The high levels of limonene in Sour Diesel bombard the sour taste buds situated on the sides of the tongue. A large bong or blunt hit sends a surge of energy throughout the nervous system—also courtesy of limonene’s invigorating effect. Blaze these buds in the morning to set the tone for a productive and energised day. Just be sure to take things one toke at a time—these buds are loaded with THC!

Sour Diesel (Zamnesia Seeds) feminized

Parents: Diesel x Northern Lights
Genetics: 30% Indica / 70% Sativa
Flowering Time: 10-11 weeks
THC: 18%
CBD: 3%
Flowering Type: Photoperiod

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Do-Si-Dos

Providing that huge, unmistakable Kush flavour with bursts of mouth-watering sweet citrus tones, Do-Si-Dos ranks high in limonene content. She also packs an awesome high that effortlessly balances relaxation and euphoria. This indica-dominant strain is teeming with THC, often reaching levels of 25%, and is sure to impress all those that try her.

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Lemon Shining Silver Haze

Another strain perfect for daytime use, limonene underpins the electrifying effects of Lemon Shining Silver Haze. This sativa serves as a wake-and-bake companion to many morning smokers. Consumed side by side with a fresh cup of coffee, she’ll clear away the cobwebs and provide you with unrelenting focus for hours to come.


Pinene In Cannabis

Pinene is the most common terpene found in nature. The molecule is responsible for the lovely scent of pine forests and, of course, the fresh aroma of many cannabis strains. Pinene occurs in relatively low concentrations in many cannabis cultivars, yet still manages to produce distinct notes of pine and wood. The terpene appears to ease tension and may take the edge off THC.

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express belongs to the prestigious Kush lineage. Her tall and dense flowers house a complex terpene profile that gives rise to tastes of fruit, sugar, and tropical goodness. High levels of pinene work to balance out this predominantly stoning strain, boosting mental clarity and alertness.

Pineapple Express Auto (Barney's Farm) feminized

Parents: Ruderalis x Skunk x Cheese
Genetics: Ruderalis/Indica/Sativa
Flowering Time: 10-11 weeks from seed to harvest
THC: 15%
CBD: Unknown
Flowering Type: Autoflowering

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Jack Herer

Named after the legendary cannabis activist and author Jack Herer, this sativa-dominant cultivar produces stunning buds with a broad shape and delightful hues of purple and pink. Jack Herer packs a THC content of 20% and a boatload of pinene, which converge to produce a clear-headed and functional buzz. Got a deadline to meet? Fire up some Jack Herer and get to work!

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Critical Mass

Critical Mass stems from the crossing of two indica legends: Afghan and Skunk 1. This classic strain grows to medium heights yet produces abundant yields. A hefty THC content of 22% means it only takes a few hits to feel her stoning effects. Pinene once again helps to balance out the equation with its peppy influence. Save this variety for the evening when you can really revel in her relaxing high.


Linalool In Cannabis

Also found in lavender, rose, and basil, linalool exerts a relaxing effect that helps to keep the mind at ease. Most cannabis smokers will be familiar with those strains that just seem to soothe the soul and put worries on pause for a moment. Linalool definitely contributes to a large share of those experiences.

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Amnesia Haze

Amnesia Haze lines the shelves of every coffeeshop in Amsterdam and takes millions of tourists on an enjoyable ride every single year. This legendary variety exerts a euphoric and energising high—almost psychedelic when consumed in excessive quantities. Linalool steers the experience into a blissful realm and augments massive THC levels of 25%.

Amnesia Haze (Royal Queen Seeds) feminized

Parents: Original Amnesia Haze
Genetics: 30% Indica / 70% Sativa
Flowering Time: 10-11 weeks
THC: 20%
CBD: Medium
Flowering Type: Photoperiod

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf LA Confidential

Breeders developed LA Confidential to soothe the mind, relax the body, and temporarily erase worries and tension. This strain plunges the mind into the present moment and goes down particularly well before a session of yoga or meditation. Blaze these flowers with friends around a campfire to go deep and reset your soul.

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Special Kush 1

Royal Queen Seeds' breeders successfully resurrected old-school Kush vibes with this well-balanced variety. Her tried and true genetics catalyse a well-rounded high that ignites the mind while melting the muscles. Special Kush 1 puts out huge yields of linalool-rich flowers both indoors and outdoors, with outdoor specimens topping out at almost 3m in height.


Caryophyllene In Cannabis

Classed as both a terpene and a dietary cannabinoid, caryophyllene—often referred to as beta-caryophyllene—directly binds to CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. Aside from interfacing with this body-wide regulatory system, the terpene adds tastes of spiciness and hops to many cannabis varieties.

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Gelato

Good looks. Sweet taste. Fruitful canopies. This lovechild of Wedding Cake and Gelato 33 packs a terpene profile that will have your mouth watering every time you catch a whiff. Flavour aside, this strain also packs a THC content of 26%, taking users on an almost psychedelic journey of philosophical thought and creative expression.

Gelato (Zamnesia Seeds) feminized

Parents: Wedding Cake x Gelato x Gelato 33
Genetics: 60% Indica / 40% Sativa
Flowering Time: 8-9 weeks
THC: 26%
CBD: 0-1%
Flowering Type: Photoperiod

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Northern Lights

Another legend of the cannabis world, Northern Lights remains one of the most famous cannabis strains on the planet. Her deeply stoning effect and spicy, earthy taste (courtesy of beta-caryophyllene) fuelled her rise to stardom. A few hits from these flowers slows down bodily movements, puts thoughts on pause, and makes music and food sound and taste better than ever before.

Icon%20Cannabis%20Leaf Zkittlez

Zkittlez ticks all of the boxes. This strain tastes superb, puts out massive yields, and launches the mind into the stratosphere after a couple of hits. Her bright green, trichome-laden flowers possess a highly respectable THC content of 22%. High levels of beta-caryophyllene synergise with other terpenes to unleash notes of fruit, sweetness, and sour candy. Her flavour will have you chasing hit after hit.

Terpenes: There’s More to Cannabis Than Cannabinoids

Previously overlooked, terpenes are now recognised as major players within cannabis. These aromatic molecules contribute massively to the colourful and diverse world of cannabis strains. Not only do they smell and taste great, but they directly influence the effects of individual strains. Enjoy the strains above to get a real taste of each of the terpenes mentioned. Happy smoking!

Luke Sumpter
Luke Sumpter
With a BSc (Hons) degree in Clinical Health Sciences and a passion for growing plants, Luke Sumpter has worked as a professional journalist and writer at the intersection of cannabis and science for the past 7 years.
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