Any of a large group of volatile, unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants, especially conifers and citrus trees. They are based on a cyclic molecule having the formula C10H16.
The key word in this definition is 'volatile.'
Terpenes are responsible for many of the unique flavors and aromas found in cannabis. The reason you can taste and smell terpenes is because they break down readily with the atmosphere surrounding them. As the organic breakdown takes place, the terpene molecules make their way to your taste buds and nostrils.
Beyond adding sensory character, terpenes also have an impact on the effects of a given strain of cannabis. Each strain has a unique terpene profile, and this blend determines whether you feel sleepy or active (Indica vs. Sativa), what happens to your mental and physical body, as well as the general state of mind that you can be put in.
Check out one of our many blog entries regarding terpenes for further information!