The life of a cannabis connoisseur involves lots of different factors for discussion: organic vs. non-organic growing, long vs. short vegetative stages, trichome and pistil appearance at harvest, curing time …

These things require an intimate knowledge of cannabis gardening, but one thing that almost anyone who has ever tried cannabis can weigh in on is taste. Your considerations can be as simple as whether or not you like it, or as in-depth as why your brain is attracted to different flavors (which is some psychology we won’t go into, here). But however deep you feel like delving, one thing is sure: cannabis has a taste, and there’s a reason for it (whoa – shocking!). Let’s look into this a bit.

The Taste of Cannabis

Even if you’ve never tried cannabis before, you have probably heard about the different scents or tastes of everyone’s favorite quasi-legal natural product. Common descriptors include skunky, spicy, sweet, diesel, earthy, pepper, and so on. One blog post lists almost 80 smells and flavors of marijuana.

So, the first thing to discern is:

what gives weed flavor

Terpenes are primarily responsible for your favorite cannabis flavors.

Is the Taste of Cannabis the Same as the Smell?

Essentially: yes! While the method of consumption, temperature, and other ingestion factors could alter the smell and taste of your bud, it is ultimately the terpenes in cannabis that deliver this particular effect.

What Gives Cannabis Its Flavor?

Cannabis is believed to be home to more than 200 terpenes, with different strains containing different counts and quantities. Most of these terpenes occur in very small amounts, so most noses won’t pick them up (call in the super sniffers!), but some really are quite significant.

We might not always experience the individual tastes of cannabis as strongly as the smell. This could be due to the interference of those underlying terpenes, or due to the fact that taste just doesn’t live up to scent (if you’re a fan of tea, you can relate to this!).

But many cannabis users do report that the scents and flavors of their favorite strains line up. It’s probably good that a diesel-scented strain doesn’t taste like fuel on tap, but citrus, spice, and peppery scents are welcomed on our taste buds after they have graced our nostrils during cultivation and combustion.

smell of weed

Smell and taste both stem from terpenes in cannabis.

Cannabis Taste vs. Effects

Most of us know terpenes have some very legitimate therapeutic properties, from inflammation to stress relief to memory retention. I wonder – is it possible the cannabis smells and tastes that most appeal to us individually represent the medicinal benefits we require most?

As noted above, we hear more about select terpenes in cannabis primarily because they occur in the largest quantities, but different strains still hold different ratios or completely different terps. Here are top five:

terpenes in cannabis pinene

Pinene has a pine-y scent.


As you might have guessed by the name, pinene smells kind of like pine trees and is one of the most common plant-life terpenes. In particular, if you’ve noticed your strains smell like a walk in the forest, they’re probably high in Pinene.

Pinene acts as an anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, antibacterial, and can even help improve or ignite the memory.

Choose Your Strain:

linalool terpene in weed

Linalool is also found in lavender.


This terpene recalls the scents of citrus and lavender, as it is found in both these plants as well as coriander, tomato and basil.

Linalool has anesthetic (pain-relieving) properties, and can serve as an anticonvulsant and ease anxiety.

Choose Your Strain:

bety-caryophyllene terpene in pot

Beta-caryophyllene is found in black pepper.

Beta Caryophyllene

Strains with spicy, peppery notes are probably going to be high in Beta Caryophyllene (sometimes just called caryophyllene). This terpene is found in black pepper, as well as cloves.

If you want to treat your symptoms based on Beta caryophyllene, try this strain to ease inflammation and pain, and to protect and help heal the digestive tract.

Choose Your Strain:

myrcene terpene marijuana

M is for Myrcene and mangos!


This terpene could recall the scents of fragrant fruits like mango, or herbs like lemongrass, thyme and basil; it’s also prominent in hops. It’s mostly noted for its “couch-lock” effects, and some anecdotal research suggests you might be able to enhance the relaxation you get from your toke by eating myrcene-rich food beforehand!

Myrcene (or beta-myrcene) can offer sedative effects making it a useful sleep aid in addition to relaxing stiff muscles, easing inflammation, and acting as an antimutagenic (stopping or slowing cell mutation, could be useful in cancer research).

Choose Your Strain:

tepernes in cannabis limonene

No surprise that limonene tastes lemony!


Prominent in citrus fruits, peppermint and rosemary, strong limonene scents might make you think of orange-scented cleaning products; consequently, this terpene is a pro antifungal and antibacterial!

Limonene can also help enhance mood, ease heartburn and GI issues, and may act as an anti-carcinogenic.

Choose Your Strain:

Research into terpenes is booming. These compounds have also been found in noteable quantities in marijuana:

  • Humulene (antibacterial and anti-tumor)
  • Trans-Nerolidol (antifungal, antimicrobal)
  • Bisabolol (analgesic, antioxidant)

Which cannabis seed strains have you planted and harvested? Have you found certain cannabis smells can reliably predict the results and benefits of your medicine? We’d love to hear how cannabis taste and smell has enhanced your experience!

<< Vaping TemperaturesEdibles You Weren’t Expecting >>

User Review
0 (0 votes)

Related Story