Region: California Cannabis Business Conference
Talking Terpenes
By Kaisha-Dyan McMillan
September 24, 2019

Talking Terpenes

By Kaisha-Dyan McMillan, journalist specializing in the cannabis industry

Legalization set the groundwork for the evolution of cannabis from illicit drug to consumer product, and demand shows no signs of slowing down. While refinement of California’s regulatory framework continues and the cannabis industry sets its sights firmly on Federal legalization, multiple consumer product categories have already started to emerge with CBD leading the way

If cannabis business owners and operators have learned anything from CBD’s rising star status, it’s that consumers are more willing than ever before to explore cannabinoids for their adult-use and wellness needs. And terpenes may be the next frontier.

What Are Terpenes & How Are They Being Used?

Terpenes are the organic compounds that give cannabis  – as well as many other plants, flowers, and even some insects – its distinct aroma and flavor, and are responsible for drawing helpful pollinators and repelling harmful predators.

In cannabis, terpenes are the primary source for resin and are critical components of what’s known as the “entourage effect”, working synergistically with THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids to produce a range of effects for the user. The fact that there are over 100 known terpenes in cannabis means countless potential medical and adult uses for consumers.

From growing evidence of spicy, herbal-scented myrcene’s ability to ease inflammation and anxiety[1] , to citrusy limonene’s antibacterial and mood elevating properties[2]  and more, terpenes have already begun to stand out for their many potential benefits to consumers. Product manufacturers are taking notice and have started to add cannabis terpenes to a variety of products – including vaping liquids, edibles, beverages, skin care products, and non-psychoactive flavorings – to attract consumers seeking to benefit from their many wellness and mood-altering possibilities. 

Yet there exists no formal regulatory structure surrounding the use of terpenes in consumer products. In California, BCC rules place the development of standard operating procedures and analysis of terpene concentration in the hands of laboratories, instead of creating one set of specifications for the industry as a whole. We need only look to CBD – a category rife with fraudulent products and deceptive claims – as an example of what happens when a consumer category surfaces without the benefit of regulatory oversight. 

Let’s Talk Terpenes

Join us as we explore terpenes and their regulatory future in California during the educational session “Let’s Talk Terpenes: An Exploration of Cultural, Medical and Regulatory Implications” at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s 3rd annual California Cannabis Business Conference. NCIA offers the only association-backed cannabis trade show centering on California’s cannabis industry, and it arrives October 8-9 in Long Beach – Register Today!

Register for #CaCannaBizCon



Kaisha started journaling when she received her first diary at the age of 9. The practice of using words to document thoughts, process feelings, and weave a story was intuitive from the moment she set pen to page.

When considering a niche in 2016, she originally chose cannabis because of her experience taking it for wellness. After taking a weekend seminar at Oaksterdam University to educate herself further, it became clear that her marketing background and writing skills were how she could best help this burgeoning industry. Her favorite cannabis copywriting projects are those that reduce stigma, provide education, and help consumers understand how cannabis could be a viable holistic option for their needs. As a Gen X African-American woman, her journalistic focus is on the women and people of color doing amazing things in the industry, especially in her hometown of Oakland.

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