The Canadian cannabis landscape, rich in diversity and innovation, is rapidly evolving. This evolution is not just a cultural phenomenon but also a significant economic force. In 2023, the Canadian cannabis market is projected to reach an impressive $6.4 billion, with Ontario and Alberta leading the way in market growth. This surge is marked by a compound annual growth rate of over 20% in these regions, highlighting the burgeoning demand and acceptance of cannabis across Canada​​.

A pivotal shift in consumer behaviour has been noted, with 60% of Canadians now opting to purchase cannabis legally, a testament to the successful transition from a once-stigmatized black market to a thriving, regulated industry​​. This transition is fueled not only by changing perceptions but also by an increase in the variety of products and brands available. Since 2020, the number of distinct cannabis brands in Canada has skyrocketed by 369%, reaching 769 brands by 2023. Although the growth rate of new brands has somewhat decelerated, a notable 27.1% increase was still observed between 2022 and 2023​​.

This surge in legal sales is reflected in the spending habits of Canadian cannabis consumers, who spent C$4.52 billion on regulated adult-use products in 2022. The trend continued in 2023, with the industry witnessing a steady monthly growth and sales in August alone totaling 464.2 million Canadian dollars. This growth, however, is not without its challenges, as the industry faces a deceleration in annual growth trends​​​​.

At High Flyer Media, we recognize these trends as more than just numbers. They represent a dynamic shift in the Canadian cannabis culture – a movement towards a more informed, diverse, and quality-focused cannabis experience. It's in this vibrant landscape that the nuanced world of terpenes gains significance. Terpenes, the aromatic compounds found in cannabis, are key to understanding the unique qualities of Canadian cannabis strains. They are not just contributors to aroma and flavour but also potential players in the therapeutic effects of cannabis. This guide aims to delve into the fascinating world of terpenes, offering enthusiasts a deeper understanding of what makes Canadian cannabis truly special.


Understanding Terpenes in the Context of Cannabis Culture

Terpenes, the aromatic compounds in cannabis, are gaining significant attention in the industry, shaping not just the sensory experience but also the health and wellness aspects of cannabis consumption. In 2023, the importance of terpenes in cannabis genetics has been increasingly recognized. According to recent research, 11% of participants in the cannabis industry cited terpene profile as their most important criterion when selecting new cannabis genetics. This marks a clear shift towards a deeper appreciation and understanding of terpenes within the cannabis culture.

Leading the terpene preferences in 2023, Myrcene was named by 52% of research participants, followed closely by Limonene at 51%. Interestingly, Caryophyllene saw a significant rise in priority, with 35% of participants naming it in their top three terpenes, reflecting a growing interest in its potential effects and benefits. Pinene, although still valued, saw a decrease in preference, being named by 21% of participants, down 18 percentage points from the previous year​​.

This trend aligns with the changing aroma preferences within the cannabis culture. In 2023, nearly three-fourths (71%) of participants favoured sweet (fruity, berry, or sugary) aromas, marking a 16-percentage-point increase from 2022. Sour (citrus, lactic, or cheesy) profiles were also popular, cited by 54% of participants, and nearly half (49%) expressed a preference for chemical (bitter, sharp, dank or gas) aromas, showcasing the diverse palette of cannabis consumers​​.

At High Flyer Media, we observe these trends with great interest. The evolving preferences in terpene profiles and aromas not only reflect the diversification of the Canadian cannabis market but also highlight the sophisticated palate of Canadian cannabis consumers. This shift towards a more nuanced understanding and appreciation of terpenes signifies a matured cannabis culture, where consumers are increasingly seeking personalized and varied experiences. This evolution underscores the importance of educating consumers about the unique characteristics of different terpenes and how they contribute to the overall cannabis experience.


The Impact of Terpenes on the Cannabis Experience

The influence of terpenes on the cannabis experience is increasingly becoming a focal point in understanding cannabis potency and quality. Traditionally, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) percentage has been the primary metric for assessing these aspects of cannabis. However, this narrow focus significantly overlooks the critical role of terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in various plants, including cannabis, responsible for the distinctive smells and flavors of different strains. More crucially, they interact synergistically with cannabinoids like THC, shaping the effects of cannabis consumption in profound ways​​​​.

The concept of the "entourage effect" is central to understanding terpenes' impact. This term refers to the enhanced effects resulting from the combined action of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds in cannabis. Terpenes such as myrcene, limonene, and pinene can influence mood, relaxation, and even the specificity of the high experienced. For example, myrcene is known to potentially enhance THC’s psychoactive effects, while limonene might offer mood elevation and stress relief. This interaction suggests that the cannabis experience is far more nuanced than just the effects of THC alone​​.

At High Flyer Media, we believe that appreciating the role of terpenes is key to a richer, more personalized cannabis experience. While THC percentage has long been a standard for measuring cannabis potency and quality, it fails to capture the complex interactions that truly shape the cannabis experience. Terpenes, with their unique ability to modulate the effects of cannabinoids, play a vital role in determining the overall quality and therapeutic potential of a cannabis strain. An educated consideration of terpene profiles, alongside cannabinoid content, offers a more holistic approach to understanding and appreciating the diverse and intricate world of cannabis​​.

This section underscores the importance of educating cannabis consumers about terpenes. By understanding the specific terpenes present in a strain and their potential effects, consumers can make more informed choices and tailor their cannabis experience to their individual preferences and needs. As the Canadian cannabis market continues to evolve, the focus on terpenes will likely become more prominent, offering exciting possibilities for both consumers and producers alike.


Identifying Common Terpenes in Cannabis Strains

Canadian cannabis strains boast a rich array of terpenes, which are essential to their diverse flavour and scent profiles. With over 100 different terpenes present in cannabis, understanding the most common ones can greatly enhance the consumer experience.

  • Myrcene is often the most abundant terpene in cannabis, known for its earthy notes. It's prominently featured in strains like Sugarbud's Mule Fuel, a cross between GMO and Lurch, providing a strong earthy essence. Supporting terpenes in this strain include caryophyllene, limonene, and pinene, which contribute sweet floral and citrus touches​​.
  • Limonene is another key terpene, found in high concentrations in many strains. For instance, the White Runtz strain by Simply Bare showcases a terpene profile with 1.7% limonene, offering a sweet vanilla and citrus aroma. Other terpenes in this strain include trans-caryophyllene, linalool, and beta-myrcene, contributing to its complex scent profile​​.
  • Caryophyllene, terpineol, and pinene are also significant terpenes, contributing to the overall aroma and flavour of Canadian cannabis. These terpenes combine to create diverse sensory experiences, ranging from creamy and dank to a funky, almost-licorice flavour​​.

At High Flyer Media, we emphasize the importance of these terpenes in enhancing the cannabis experience. By understanding the specific terpenes present in each strain, consumers can select cannabis products that align with their desired aroma and flavour profiles. This knowledge not only enriches the consumer experience but also reflects the sophistication and diversity of the Canadian cannabis market. As the industry evolves, the role of terpenes in differentiating strains and providing unique experiences will likely become even more prominent.


Terpenes and Their Therapeutic Potential

Terpenes in cannabis are not only responsible for the unique scent and flavor profiles of different strains but also play a significant role in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis. These naturally occurring aromatic compounds are found in various plant species, many of which have been used in traditional medicine for their healing properties. In the context of medical cannabis, terpenes add depth and dimension to the sensory experience and interact with other compounds to modulate and enhance overall therapeutic effects​​.

Key Terpenes and Their Therapeutic Properties:

  • Myrcene: Known for its earthy and musky aroma, myrcene is the most abundant terpene in cannabis. It's often associated with relaxing and sedating effects and has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
  • Limonene: This terpene, with a fresh, citrusy aroma, is often found in citrus fruits. Limonene is associated with uplifting and mood-enhancing effects and may have anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, and anti-tumour properties.
  • Pinene: Recognizable by its distinctive pine scent, pinene is common in conifer trees and is the most commonly occurring terpene in nature. It's linked to anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, and memory-enhancing effects.
  • Linalool: Known for its floral and sweet aroma, often present in lavender, linalool is reported to have calming, sedative effects, as well as potential analgesic and anti-epileptic properties​​.

The concept of the "entourage effect" is crucial in understanding the therapeutic potential of terpenes. This theory highlights the synergistic relationship between various components in cannabis, including cannabinoids and terpenes. According to this theory, the therapeutic effects of cannabis are not solely dependent on specific cannabinoids but are also enhanced and modulated by the interplay of these compounds with terpenes. This interaction can result in a more tailored, well-rounded experience that offers a range of potential benefits, depending on the unique combination of cannabinoids and terpenes in a particular strain. In some cases, the presence of certain terpenes can mitigate potential adverse effects of THC, like anxiety or paranoia, or enhance the absorption of other cannabinoids, improving their overall bioavailability​​.

At High Flyer Media, we recognize the importance of understanding terpenes in cannabis, not only for their sensory contributions but also for their therapeutic potential. By educating consumers about the various terpenes and their benefits, we can help them make informed choices about their cannabis consumption, potentially leading to more effective and personalized experiences. As research in this field continues to grow, the role of terpenes in medical cannabis is poised to become even more significant, offering exciting possibilities for enhancing health and wellness through cannabis.


A Practical Guide for Cannabis Enthusiasts

Selecting the right cannabis strain based on terpene profiles can significantly enhance the user experience, offering targeted effects based on individual needs and preferences. Here's a practical guide to help cannabis enthusiasts choose strains by focusing on their terpene profiles:

  • Choosing Strains for Anxiety Relief:

    • For those dealing with anxiety disorders such as PTSD or social phobias, strains high in anxiolytic terpenes like linalool are recommended.
    • Examples of high-linalool strains: Lavender, Amnesia Haze, and LA Confidential​​.
  • Selecting Strains for Mood Disorders:

    • Limonene-dominant strains are a natural alternative to hormone blockers and SSRIs, beneficial for mood disorders.
    • These strains bind to endocannabinoid receptors, regulating the uptake of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
    • Examples of limonene-dominant strains: Do-Si-Dos, Berry White, and Purple Hindu Kush​​.
  • Strains for Pain and Inflammation:

    • Myrcene, known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, is popular in sports medicine.
    • It's effective in recovery balms and roll-on products, often used in conjunction with CBD.
    • Examples of high-myrcene strains: Purple Urkle, ACDC, and Grape Ape​​.
  • Strains for Sleep Dysfunction:

    • Caryophyllene-dominant strains are effective for sleep dysfunction, acting as muscle relaxants and sedatives.
    • These strains help in stress response modulation and promote optimal sleep patterns.
    • Examples: Candyland, Royal Cookies, and OG Kush​​.

At High Flyer Media, we emphasize the importance of personalizing cannabis experiences. By understanding the specific terpenes present in each strain and their potential benefits, enthusiasts can tailor their selections to their individual needs, whether it's for relaxation, mood elevation, pain relief, or better sleep. As the cannabis industry evolves, the role of terpenes in enhancing the therapeutic and recreational aspects of cannabis consumption becomes more pronounced, offering a nuanced and sophisticated approach to cannabis selection.


The Future of Terpenes in the Canadian Cannabis Industry

The future of terpenes in the Canadian cannabis industry appears promising, with trends indicating a shift towards more diverse and sophisticated consumer preferences. Here are some key predictions and trends:

  • Diversification Beyond THC and CBD:

    • The cannabis market is evolving to include more cannabinoids and plant actives, with terpenes playing a significant role.
    • Products with specific cannabinoids like CBN, CBG, and various terpenes are gaining traction. These offer unique effects like improved sleep, focus, pain relief, and creativity.
    • The consumer base is becoming increasingly knowledgeable about the benefits of these compounds, driving demand for products beyond just THC potency​​.
  • Demand for Clean, Safe, and Sustainable Cannabis:

    • Consumer education around growing, extraction, and production methods is on the rise.
    • There is a growing demand for clean, safe, and sustainable cannabis products, mirroring trends in the food industry towards all-natural and organic products.
    • This trend extends to products like edibles and vapes, made with solventless extracts and concentrates.
    • As the industry matures, there's an expectation for more stringent testing and safety standards to ensure product purity and safety​​.

At High Flyer Media, we anticipate that these trends will heavily influence the Canadian cannabis industry, especially in terms of product development and marketing strategies. The increasing consumer interest in terpenes and their effects will likely drive innovation in product formulations, focusing on creating experiences tailored to specific preferences and needs. This shift towards a more nuanced understanding of cannabis components like terpenes aligns with our mission to connect consumers with brands and products that offer unique and personalized experiences. As the industry evolves, staying ahead of these trends and educating consumers about the benefits and characteristics of different terpenes will be key to success in the dynamic Canadian cannabis market.



The journey through the world of terpenes in Canadian cannabis reveals a fascinating landscape, rich in diversity, innovation, and therapeutic potential. The Canadian cannabis market, poised to reach $6.4 billion in 2023, is not just a commercial success story but a narrative of evolving consumer awareness and preferences​​. As terpenes gain prominence, from myrcene's earthy aroma to limonene's uplifting citrus scent, they play a pivotal role in defining the cannabis experience, transcending beyond mere sensory appeal to therapeutic benefits​​.

At High Flyer Media, we view this evolving terpene landscape as an opportunity to deepen consumer connections with cannabis. The future trends, emphasizing the diversification of cannabinoids and a demand for clean, sustainable products, align with our goal to promote brands that offer unique, tailored experiences​​. As we look ahead, educating consumers about terpenes and their myriad benefits remains a cornerstone of our strategy, ensuring that Canadian cannabis culture is not only vibrant and varied but also informed and forward-thinking.

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