Terpenes (not THC levels) are the best predictors of how much you’ll like a product

Posted by Jack O'Leary on

A lot of cannabis products on the shelf these days emphasize meteoric cannabinoid content (THC/CBD), however, a recent study led by Arianne Wilson-Poe, revealed that terpenes provide a subjective appeal that determine the desirability of a particular flower or vape cannabis product.

That's right! The terpene profile of a cannabis product and the aroma in general is the most important element for folks looking to enhance their cannabis experience. 

Scientists tested the appeal of a cannabis product to an individual with a range of THC potencies (from less than 0.3% to over 30%) in nearly 300 individuals across thousands of consumption sessions.

With rising THC potency in commercially available products, one might predict that THC potency would directly correlate to the overall draw of a product, but that wasn’t the case—there was no relationship between THC potency, total cannabis dose, or total THC dose with subjective appeal. Instead, only the aroma, which comes from the terpenes, directly correlated with individuals’ appeal scores.

Therefore, a product’s smell is a better predictor of enjoyment than its THC content. These findings highlight the importance of terpenes in a product’s quality and propose that you don’t need to be overly stoned to have a pleasurable experience.  

The study that was conducted on the "The Nose Knows: Study Shows Aroma Drives Cannabis Consumer Appeal" reports that aroma is a key factor in the appeal of cannabis products. The study was conducted by the Research Institute of Fragrance Materials, in New York.


They conducted the research by conducting a survey of 823 participants between the ages of 18-65. They found that aroma was the top factor that drew consumers to try cannabis products, with "flavor" coming in a close second. The study also found that aroma played a larger role in the appeal of flower products, as opposed to concentrates and edibles. The study also found that different aroma compounds were associated with different effects, such as terpenes being associated with stress relief.

The study suggests that the aroma and flavor of cannabis products can be used to target specific consumer demographics and to better market cannabis products. Overall, the study highlights the importance of aroma in the appeal of cannabis products, and the potential for utilizing aroma to improve marketing strategies for the industry.

Terpenes are crucial in the experience of the cannabis product, hopefully we begin to see more of a focus on terpene content and minor cannabinoid content, rather than bragging about unnecessarily high THC content.

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