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Terpenes 101

River Valley Remedies (RVR) is a modern boutique apothecary specializing in high-end cannabis products and other alternative remedies. They host educational workshops and events, making information on the science behind whole plant medicine more accessible to individuals seeking alternative modes of healthcare.
RVR interviewed Maria Worsley, co-founder of Medicine Farm Botanicals, on the subject of terpenes, their role in cannabis and Worsley’s favorites.

Terpenes have been a very popular subject lately. What exactly are terpenes?

Terpenes are the largest group of plant chemicals found throughout nature (not just isolated to the cannabis plant) and are known as the spiritual essence, which provide plants their aroma. They are the main players to aid in boosting and modulating cannabinoids for optimal human function.

Why are terpenes important to cannabis?

Terpenes are what give cannabis their flavor and not only act as a deterrent to insect predation but also protect the plant from environmental stressors. They are also found to have many health and medicinal benefits, acting synergistically with the cannabinoids found in the plant.

Do terpenes determine the effect more so than sativa or indica?

Absolutely terpenes determine the effect between the two. I am not one to lean towards the Sativa vs. Indica controversy but instead focus on the biochemical components of the plant itself. It’s just not this simple. It’s hard to look at a tomato plant and determine which plant will yield more of the carotenoids necessary for optimal health benefits, similar to the sativa or indica controversy. What interests me are the full terpene profiles, including cannabinoids. These profiles help determine which plant, edible or topical will be better suited for your own needs. Hopefully we’ll get away from the sativa or indica mentality and move towards a more comprehensive approach.

What is your favorite terpene?

I can’t specify which terpene is my favorite just like I can’t specify which herb or spice is my favorite. I use a combination of terpenes during various stages of my life. Given my own personal experience with creator’s block or when I feel stuck, unable to concentrate, I seek out flowers, edibles or topicals with limonene. Even the aromatherapeutic effects of limonene, found in some topicals, have also shown to keep me alert. Insomnia tends to get the best of me at times, therefore a plant, edible even a topical (to rub on the base of my spine and temples) with beta-myrcene and linalool will help me stay asleep. Then there are some flowers and edibles with a high content of alpha-pinene that tend to exacerbate my anxiety levels through the roof but a small amount is beneficial to keep me focused.

Where can I learn more about this subject?

Patients Out of Time is a 3-day national clinical conference focused on educating health professionals, attorneys, and the public on Cannabis research. In my opinion, this is one of the best conferences to attend if you’re interested in the medical side of Cannabis use. They bring together world-renowned doctors and professionals doing amazing work in the Cannabis field. These doctors are many years ahead in their research and doing incredible work with the aging population. Then there is the incredible Dr. Ethan Russo who is currently leading the research in Cannabis in this country. He’s breaking down barriers and super excited to see the outcome of his research.

In the 20+ years researching cannabis, I’ve found information on complete opposites of the spectrum. It went from hardly any research to complete nonsense. Please be mindful that there is currently quite a bit of misinformation coming out, for whatever reason. Always evaluate the credibility of your website and content during your own research on Cannabis.

I will be hosting a Terpene Series beginning April 29 at River Valley Remedies. The series will focus on individual terpenes starting with the most prevalent cannabis terpene: Beta-Myrcene. If you would like to learn more about terpenes, you can register for the event at

For those new to Cannabis use, I highly recommend keeping a journal to record your own experiences. I have kept journals for many years to record my intake of flower, edibles and topicals used for various ailments. It’s important to recognize and understand which terpene does what to you. Everyone has a different chemical make-up, so what works for you may not necessarily work for the other person. Only you know yourself best.

Do not operate a vehicle or machinery under the influence of this drug. For use only by adults 21 years of age and older. Keep out of reach of children.


Terpenes 101

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