The importance of terpene and cannabinoid analysis in cannabis products


Terpenes are organic compounds that give cannabis its characteristic aroma and have properties that can influence its medicinal effects.

Being unique to each strain, terpenes help identify them and understand their potential therapeutic benefits, especially when they interact with cannabinoids in what is known as the “entourage effect.” Also known as “Synergy” within the field of Biology.

Terpene profiling in cannabis is essential to demonstrate the authenticity and quality of different varieties.

History, discovery and use of terpenes

In 1942, Simonsen and Todd were the first researchers to put terpene fractions as a separate category from cannabinoids and p-cymene was reported as a major constituent of Egyptian hashish.

Hundreds of terpenes have been identified that allude to the sensory attributes of cannabis, contributing greatly to consumer experiences and market price.

However, in the world of the cannabis industry, terpenes play a vital role in differentiating the specific flavor and aroma of particular strains.

Some terpenes can enhance the effect of cannabinoids and synergize the feeling of relaxation, stress relief, increased energy and maintenance of focus, along with their underlying pharmaceutical functions.

Therefore, a growing number of industries have shown interest in adding cannabis terpenes or plant-derived terpenes to their CBD oils and edibles.

Terpenes are the main components of essential oils and are responsible for the aromatic characteristics of cannabis. They also enhance many therapeutic benefits, especially in aromatherapy.

What are terpenes exactly?

Terpenes are hydrocarbons with small isoprene units linked together to form chains, while terpenoids are terpenes that contain oxygen.


In cannabis, three types of terpenes/terpenoids are found: monoterpenes (10C) with two isoprene units, sesquiterpenes (15C) with three isoprene units, and diterpenes (20C) with four isoprene units. To date, more than 200 volatile compounds have been reported from different cannabis genotypes, of which 58 monoterpenes and 38 sesquiterpenes have been characterized.

Among the main components of monoterpenes are limonene, β-myrcene, α-pinene and linalool, while the predominant sesquiterpenes are E-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, E-β-farnesene and β -caryophyllene.

How to ensure the quality and safety of cannabis products

Terpenes are a crucial part of Cannabis, offering a wide phenotypic diversity with around 150-200 different types.

Specific terpenes are associated with certain effects: limonene and pinene, with citrus and fresh aromas, can offer energizing sensations, while myrcene, with its earthy aroma, is linked to relaxing and calming effects.

To ensure the quality and safety of cannabis-derived products, it is necessary to perform quality control tests that include terpene analysis.

The process for analyzing terpenes in cannabis generally involves extracting the samples and preparing them properly, then separating and detecting the compounds using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, and finally analyzing the data obtained to obtain the complete terpene profile of the sample.

Terpene analysis

Terpene analysis is a crucial tool for measuring the amount of these compounds in a sample. This is especially relevant in the case of Cannabis, where terpenes not only contribute to aroma and flavor, but can also have therapeutic properties.


Terpene analysis is important for cannabis quality control, as a high-quality sample should contain a variety of terpenes. If the diversity of aromas is lacking, it may indicate that the sample is old or has not been properly grown. Therefore, terpene analyzes are increasingly requested in laboratories to guarantee the quality and authenticity of cannabis.

gas chromatography

To analyze these compounds, gas chromatography is mainly used, often combined with mass spectrometry to obtain more precise results. This technique, due to the volatility of terpenes, is essential for their determination in cannabis samples.

It is essential to establish standards in the evaluation techniques of the composition of Cannabis inflorescences and extraction procedures.

Thoroughly understanding these protocols is crucial, as those that involve preheating the flower can result in the degradation or evaporation of terpenes prior to analysis, which would affect the results.

In summary, recreational cannabis is becoming more accepted as an ingredient in the food industry, which has led to increased interest in cannabis terpenes from the industrial community.

What does Allora Labs contribute as a cannabis laboratory?

As a cannabis laboratory we are delighted to reduce harm and commit to consumer safety, especially in informing decisions about cannabis consumption.

Terpenes are a fundamental component, at Allora Labs we are dedicated to analyzing cannabis to guarantee its quality and safety in an environment of unregulated policies and we offer different types of analysis.

Our analysis profiles include the detection of 8 cannabinoids, 37 terpenes and total HHC with results available on our user portal in just 3 business days.


These terpene profiles not only reflect the unique characteristics of different cannabis strains, but can also enhance medicinal effects by interacting with cannabinoids. Our work reflects the importance of knowing what is behind each sample, empowering users and providing them with detailed information about the cannabis products they consume, allowing them to make informed decisions.

These analyzes highlight the importance of understanding terpene chemistry in cannabis and provide a detailed classification of the profiles of various commercial cannabis strains.

Our approach not only provides data, but also tools to interpret and apply it effectively.