How Do Terpenes Affect Your High? The Ensemble (or Entourage) Effect

27 Apr, 2022 - by | Consumption

When searching for a strain to get specific desired effects, people often focus on indica or sativa. However, the cannabis plant contains over 100 unique cannabinoids and around 400 known terpenes, which also play a role in strains’ effects, taste, smell, and overall appeal.

Terpenes are naturally-occurring components of many plants found in nature. Terpenes produce the unique smells, flavors, and colors that are associated with any given plant. They are present in aromatic herbs, like thyme and sage, as well as citrus fruits. Terpenes exist within cannabis, but they aren’t the primary component that causes a high, like THC. However, they play a significant role in creating the ensemble or entourage effect.

The ensemble effect, also known as the entourage effect, is a synergistic phenomenon that results when all cannabis compounds work together in tandem to produce specific effects. Follow along to learn more about terpenes and their role in your cannabis consumption experience!

Why Should I Care About Terpenes?

Terpenes are responsible for the pungent smells and tastes of cannabis strains. However, studies have shown that they offer more than just taste and smell; they potentially provide health benefits!  Terpenes are the main component of essential oils, which have been used in holistic medicine for thousands of years. Lavender oil, for example, contains high amounts of linalool, a terpene that’s also found in many cannabis strains. Linalool is known to promote relaxation, which is why lavender oil is often used as a sleep aid. 

Similar to how terpenes work in essential oils, they can also assist in enhancing cannabis’ medical effects. When they enter your body, they interact with the endocannabinoid system and help cannabinoids better penetrate the bloodstream. This process is called the ensemble or entourage effect.

Whether you choose to consume flower, concentrates, or tinctures, terpenes are essential in any form. They affect our brain’s neurotransmitters, offering unique effects when paired with other compounds. While some increase cell permeability to promote faster absorption of cannabinoids, others enhance serotonin levels to influence your mood. Thus, choosing strains with certain terpenes could help you get more desirable effects.

How Do Terpenes Change Your High?

While we know that terpenes are responsible for the flavor and smell, they also work with other components of the cannabis plant, such as flavonoids and cannabinoids, to release different effects. Terpenes are primarily believed to pair best with THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid that causes a high. A 2018 study found that certain terpenes and flavonoids create neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects, which enhance the therapeutic potential of THC & CBD, the most notable cannabinoids.

Researchers believe that the components of full-spectrum cannabis work together to produce enhanced effects of cannabis. When terpenes interact with our body, they assist cannabinoids in entering the bloodstream faster. While terpenes may cause you to feel certain effects when consumed, know that they will not give you the classic “high” on their own.

Cannabis consumers often prioritize strains with higher THC content, thinking this will produce the most desirable high. However, expert cannabis budtenders recommend considering the terpene profiles of different strains rather than focusing on THC percentage.

Preliminary research also suggests that terpenes may have potential benefits for specific mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression. However, more research is still required to confirm these findings.

If you use any sort of THC or CBD isolate, you may not get the desired effects. Choosing full-spectrum products is essential to yielding the full benefits of terpenes.

What Terpenes Should I Look Out for?

Out of 400 known terpenes found in cannabis, researchers have experimented with very few of them. Since terpenes each have different aromas and tastes, there’s a combination to suit everyone’s preferences. 

Some common terpenes and their potential health benefits are:

●     Beta-caryophyllene: an active ingredient in many herbs, such as cloves, hops, and rosemary. Studies show that beta-caryophyllene could be beneficial in managing the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

●     Beta-pinene: mainly found in coniferous forests with a distinct smell that you can quickly identify. Beta-pinene has potential antidepressant and anti-cancer properties

●     Humulene: is present in ginseng, which is known to induce strong energizing effects. Humulene has been used in traditional medicine for years.

●     Limonene: identified with its distinctive citrus aroma. Like beta-pinene, limonene may have potential anti-cancer and anti-anxiety properties.

●     Linalool: has a fantastic lavender smell, which is why it’s used in aromatherapy. Linalool can help in alleviating stress

●     Myrcene: an essential component of mangoes with exceptional antifungal and antibacterial properties. Myrcene may also have sedating properties.

It is important to note that a majority of research on terpenes is still in its early stages. More extensive and quality research is required before concluding the potential therapeutic benefits of terpenes, so take everything with a grain of salt.

The Bottom Line

If you haven’t been considering terpenes when choosing your cannabis product, it’s high time you start doing so. If you want to experience a more effective high, a full spectrum cannabis product with a robust terpene profile is your best bet.


Unfortunately, some cannabis brands don’t include the terpene profiles for their products. At City Trees, we label each and every product with terpenes, so you can rest assured you know exactly what you’re consuming. Browse our selection of City Tree’s products and find your perfect match today!

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