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Do Terpenes Get You High?

Cannabis has lots of terpenes, but do terpenes get you high? No, but they can affect your high. Discover why terpenes won’t get you high and why they’re still important for cannabis products.

Yes, cannabis is a particularly terpene dense plant. And yes, cannabis has psychoactive properties. So, does that mean terpenes will get you high? Absolutely not! Most plants, even non-psychoactive plants like basil and apples, have terpenes in them. So, if terpenes had psychoactive properties, salads would be a lot more interesting.

However, terpenes CAN promote specific effects in both cannabis and non-cannabis products. We understand why that might be confusing, so today we’re explaining why terpenes don’t get you high and how terpenes promote different effects for a variety of products.

Reading Time - 5.5 min

Do Terpenes Get You High?

We understand why this topic is complicated. Here’s a quick rundown of the details:

  • Terpenes are the organic hydrocarbons found in most plants, spices, and more. You can think of them as the building blocks of aroma and flavor.
  • On top of creating unique scents and tastes, they also influence various receptors in our bodies to promote various effects. Some are anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and some have mood-enhancing properties.
  • No, terpenes do NOT get you high. Terpenes don’t contain THC or any other psychoactive substances. Unless you’re combining terpenes with a psychoactive compound, they won’t promote any psychoactive effects.
  • Terpenes do, however, promote various effects like the ones mentioned above plus more nuanced effects like focus, creativity, or euphoria. These effects can be utilized in a variety of non-cannabis products (aromatherapy, personal care, food & beverage, etc.).
  • Terpenes also influence the “destination” or effects of various cannabis strains. The reason why some strains give you energy while others help you fall asleep is all because of their unique terpene profiles.
  • Additionally, terpenes are necessary for the Entourage Effect (the synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and other plant compounds where their effects are altered and/or enhanced when combined). 
  • So, no, terpenes won’t get you high on their own. However, when they’re combined with cannabis, your products will provide a much more multifaceted and unique experience for consumers.

What Are Terpenes?

If you’ve been with us for a while, feel free to skip ahead. However, if you’re just now joining us, let’s cover a few terpene basics.

Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of most plants, spices, and more. For example, there are terpenes in the rinds of citrus fruits, black pepper, pine needles, and even roses. They’re pretty much the building blocks of aroma and flavor, and the world would be a less delicious place without them. 

Terpenes can actively influence receptors in the brain and affect a number of different neurotransmitters to promote various effects. Plus, a lot of these effects are very beneficial to the body. Some terpenes are anti-inflammatory, some are analgesic, and some even have mood-enhancing properties. 

Here’s a good example. If the scent of lavender makes you feel calm and a bit sleepy, that’s because of terpenes! Every plant has a unique ratio of terpene isolates that makes up that plant’s terpene profile. Lavender happens to have a large amount of the isolate Linalool. This delicate, floral-smelling terpene has sedative and relaxant properties making it particularly useful for products designed to help you unwind. 

This also makes terpenes useful for any product that needs a specific scent, flavor, or effect. Today, terpenes are used for food & beverages, personal care, and even aromatherapy. Admittedly, terpenes are particularly useful for cannabis products.  

Do Terpenes Get You High? Are Terpenes Psychoactive? 

No, terpenes do not get you high. While terpenes can promote feelings of relaxation and/or euphoria, that’s not the same thing as feeling high. Additionally, there’s no such thing as a “terpene high.” 

On their own, terpenes don’t have psychoactive properties and terpenes don’t contain THC or any other psychoactive compounds. Even cannabis-derived terpenes won’t get you high unless you’re combining them with cannabinoids like THC. However, terpenes CAN influence the effects different cannabis strains promote. Confused? We don’t blame you. Let us explain...

Cannabis is a very terpene-dense plant and different strains have unique terpene profiles. They’re generally found in the trichomes of cannabis plants and they dictate the overall aroma, flavor, and effects that different strains possess. That’s part of the reason so many people associate cannabis and terpenes

To make life a bit easier, here’s a breakdown of common cannabinoids and whether or not you’ll experience psychoactive effects when you combine them with terpenes.


Cannabinoids: Psychoactive or Non-Psychoactive?



Delta-8 (Δ8-THC)

Mildly Psychoactive







Additionally, terpenes are necessary for a phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect. Essentially, this phenomenon describes the synergistic relationship between cannabinoids and other plant compounds (terpenes, terpenoids, etc.). When they’re used together, they’re able to produce different and/or stronger effects than they could produce on their own. This is part of the reason terpenes can affect your high.

How Do Terpenes Affect Your High?

The various effects different terpene isolates have can be experienced even without psychoactive cannabis products. Aromatherapy, for example, has been helping people relax, focus, or even fall asleep with the use of terpenes for centuries. When it comes to psychoactive products, however, terpenes play a major role. A good way to understand this is by looking at Sativa, Indica, and Hybrid strains.

While the distinction between these types of strains isn’t as clear as it used to be, it’s generally understood that Sativa strains are a bit more energizing, Indica strains are relaxing, and hybrid strains fall somewhere in the middle. The reason we bring this up is because of the differences in their terpene profiles.

Generally, Indica-dominant strains tend to have large amounts of calming, sedative terpenes like Myrcene while Sativa-Dominant strains tend to have more energizing terpenes like Limonene or Alpha-Pinene. But it’s not just a difference between energizing and calming effects. Terpenes help people experience abstract effects like creativity, focus, euphoria, and more.

This is particularly important for potent extracts like distillate. The psychoactive cannabinoids in distillate help products (and customers) lift off and reach new heights. By that we mean they’ll get you high. It’s terpenes, however, that determine the destination or “effects” someone will experience. Without terpenes, you’ll JUST be high. 

Terpenes Infuse Products with Aroma, Flavor, and Effects

That’s pretty much it! On their own, terpenes are a simple way to infuse products with aroma, flavor, and effects. Even non-cannabis products will benefit from their unique properties and help you create products that customers will love.

If you have questions about our terpenes, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to answer questions, make terpene recommendations, or even help formulate an entirely unique terpene blend just for your products. Plus, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and let us know what other topics you want us to cover! 

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