Terpene Potency Testing: Why and What to Test For

In this post:

  • Why test for terpenes?
  • Beta-Myrcene
  • Limonene
  • Caryophyllene
  • Linalool
  • Alpha-Pinene & Beta-Pinene
  • Terpene Testing

Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons that naturally occur in hemp, cannabis and other plants. Terpenes fend off harmful predators and lure helpful pollinators to ensure optimal growth while delivering the plant’s unique flavor and aroma. In hemp and cannabis, terpenes also synergize with cannabinoids like THC and CBD to make up the plant’s entire therapeutic profile.

This is known as the “entourage effect;” which means that cannabinoids and terpenes interact to intensify each other’s benefits and counteract potential side effects. While they are largely beneficial, terpenes may also exhibit toxic and irritating effects at when infused in extractions at unusually high concentrations. That’s why it’s important to know precisely what your product contains.

At ACS Laboratory, we test hemp and cannabis flowers and extracts for 38 terpenes to help determine the flavor, safety and best usage.

Why Test for Terpenes?

Regardless of the strain you harvest, it’s impossible to know what the product’s final terpene profile will be until you submit it for testing. Terpenes exist both in hemp and cannabis plants but their potency can change from plant to plant based on factors such as climate, soil type and age of the crop. Moreover terpene profiles may differ depending on whether they are present in flower or an extract.

Terpenes that are present in flower may yield more predictable potency results. However when cannabis is heated through the extraction process, the final product often demonstrates a significant reduction in terpenes, leading to an end-product that lacks the whole-plant phytochemical profile.

Since the whole plant profile may be what your customers needs to relieve their symptoms, you’ll want to know precisely what your finished product or flower contains. This will allow you to highlight the terpenes on your marketing materials and educate customers about why they should try your product or avoid it based on potential allergies. While cannabis contains approximately 100 identifiable terpenes, some of the most potent agents are myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene, linalool and pinene.

Here we highlight the unique benefits, flavors and potential risks that each one can contribute.


Myrcene is the most prevalent terpene in cannabis products. Oftentimes more than 65% of a single strains’ terpene makeup, consists solely of myrcene. It can also be found in high concentrations in mangoes, hops, lemongrass and thyme; which explains the slightly tangy and earthy smell it provides.

Myrcene is associated with relaxation qualities and anti-inflammatory effects, which can support someone suffering from conditions such as sleep deprivation and pain. Finally, myrcene naturally synergises with THC and CBD, allowing the body to more easily absorb these important cannabinoids.

Potential Dangers

Even though myrcene is the most common terpene in cannabis plants, it may not be 100% safe at high concentrations. For example, California included beta-myrcene on its Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer. While many argue that Prop 65 is too stringent and doesn’t account for the difference between isolated chemicals and natural components, it is still important to be aware of this warning.

Therefore, it’s important to test for beta-myrcene to determine your plant’s safety and compliance.  


Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in cannabis. Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges are also rich in this terpene as well as plants like mint, rosemary and juniper. Limonene is said to elevate moods and has been used for people with stress, depression and anxiety, all while providing a citrusy flavor that’s strong but refreshing.

Limonene is known to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, which is why it can also be found in household cleaning products.

Potential Dangers

While limonene is extraordinarily beneficial, there a minor dangers associated with high concentrations of this citrus-scented terpene. Firstly, allergies to limonene are common. Additionally when limonene is exposed to sun or air, it can oxidize and become very irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory system. Generally this is more of a danger to those who work with extractions rather than to consumers who ingest them, but it's still important to understand when testing your strain.


Caryophyllene is a unique terpene in that it also acts like a cannabinoid. Not only does caryophyllene deliver aromatic, flavorful and anti-inflammatory effects, it also binds to receptors in the body to yield more direct medicinal benefits. Caryophyllene can be found in black pepper and cinnamon, which explains its spicy, peppery scent.

Caryophyllene strains of cannabis can help alleviate pain, reduce stress and help those with anxiety. It is also known for its anti-cancer properties. Moreover several studies on caryophyllene has shown its capacity to exhibit neuroprotective effects. Approved by the FDA for use in food and supplements, caryophyllene is considered a safe substance that you’ll want to consider marketing to your customers.


If you’ve ever enjoyed the calming, soothing aroma of lavender, you’ve experienced the terpene Linalool. When linalool interacts with cannabinoids, it creates strains that are known for stress-relief and soothing relaxation. Studies have also considered linalool to be an analgesic, meaning it can support pain reduction.

Finally, linalool is known for anti-inflammatory qualities.

Potential Dangers

Similar to limonene, linalool is extraordinarily beneficial and not generally known as a toxic agent. However, linool can also cause minor allergic reactions and may also become irritating to the skin and eyes and high concentrations above 57%. It’s important to determine your strains extract linalool profile so that you can keep customers informed.

Alpha-Pinene & Beta-Pinene

Pinene as the name suggests provides the wonderful scent of pine needles. It is also one of the most prominent terpenes in the natural world. The primary difference between alpha-pinene and beta-pinene is the aroma they give off; alpha is more known for the pine scent while beta is the pleasant scent given off by plants like rosemary or parsley. Pinene is considered a bronchodilator, which means it helps open airways and can benefit people who have respiratory illnesses like asthma.

Pinene has also been shown to increase energy and boost cognition by counteracting short term memory deficit caused by THC. Finally, pinene has known anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to enhance its medicinal value.

Testing With ACS Laboratory

To determine your cannabis product’s precise terpene profile, you’ll want to work with ACS Laboratory--an ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accredited facility known for our award winning accuracy. We maintain the highest quality standards and work with customers to guarantee the safety and quality of their finished product. In addition to terpene testing, we also test for cannabinoid potency as well as potential toxins and much more.

Visit our website and contact us with any questions you may have.

The Cannabinoids Guide

This complete cannabinoid guide covers major and minor cannabinoids, how they work in the body, and highlights the top compounds brands and operators must test for today.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

The Cannabinoid Guide

The definitive resource on leading major and minor cannabinoids, how they work in the body, and what to test for.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Related Blogs

May 24, 2023

Cannabinoid Report: A Guide to CBD Extraction, Storage, Price, Benefits & More

CBD research indicates could relieve symptoms of anxiety, pain, inflammation, and insomnia, without psychoactive effects.

Elena Schmidt

April 27, 2023

Amanita Muscaria vs. Psychedelic Mushrooms (Psilocybin): What’s the Difference?

Here we explore the main differences between Amanita muscaria and other psychedelic mushrooms, examining where they grow, active ingredients, medicinal value, and legality.

Masha Ty

December 8, 2022

Companies Producing Edibles Containing CBD and Delta-8 THC Receive New Warning Letters from the FDA

FDA recently issued new warning letters to companies that produce CBD and Delta-8 THC edibles.

December 14, 2022

Visit the New and Improved ACS Laboratory Website

Enhanced education, intuitive navigation, mushroom program launch, compliance updates, and more!

Elena Schmidt

January 5, 2023

Functional Mushrooms: Exploring Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and Reishi Benefits & Uses

Reviewing functional mushroom benefits, research, and top products, with a focus on reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps.

Masha Ty

December 20, 2022

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Camphene Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Research suggests that camphene possesses anti-microbial and antiviral properties, provides coughing relief, and may even be able to prevent heart disease.

Elena Schmidt

December 9, 2022

INTERVIEW: Live Rosin Delta-8: How It's Made, Effects, Safety & Quality

Live rosin delta 8 is a cannabis concentrate made from frozen plant material and manufactured delta-8 extract. Learn more.

January 25, 2023

Comparing Exotic Cannabinoids: Delta-9 THC vs. Delta-8, Delta-10, HHC, HHCP, THC-O (THCOa), & THCP

The main difference between exotic cannabinoids and Delta-9 THC is their molecular structures, psychoactive intensity, and legality.

Elena Schmidt

January 19, 2023

Amanita Muscaria Part II: Active Ingredients, Effects, Nutrition & Legality

Exploring amanita muscaria’s psychoactive effects, toxic potential, edible preparation, and legality in the US and Canada.

Masha Ty

December 29, 2022

A Guide to Delta-8 vs. HHC: Extraction, Products, Safety, Legality, Testing & More

Delta-8 THC is a mildly euphoric psychoactive isomer of Delta-9 THC. HHC belongs to a completely different chemical class known as hexahydrocannabinol. Learn more.

Elena Schmidt

February 14, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need To Know About Fenchyl Alcohol Flavor, Fragrance, And Health Benefits

Everything you need to know about fenchyl alcohol benefits, aromatic profile, and how it impacts your favorite cannabis strains.

Elena Schmidt

December 16, 2022

Amanita Muscaria (Fly Agaric): History & Toxicology of the Most Misunderstood Mushroom

Amanita mushrooms are fully legal in the United States and have a long history of use. Discovery Amanita mythology and toxicology in this ACS blog.

Masha Ty

January 3, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Farnesene Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Farnesene is a cannabis terpene known as sesquiterpenes and is thought to have sedative and regulating effects on the human body and mood.

Elena Schmidt

February 2, 2023

A Guide to Delta-8 vs. THCOa: Extraction, Products, Safety, Legality, Testing & More

Comparing Delta-8 THC and THCOa’s chemistry, effects, potency, and extraction methods.

Elena Schmidt

February 20, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Ocimene Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

As a cannabis terpene, ocimene offers strains potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-viral, anti-seizure, and anti-inflammation.

Elena Schmidt

February 24, 2023

Flavonoid Friday: Everything You Need to Know About Orientin Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Orientin is a flavonoid prevalent in cannabis, bamboo leaves, and various teas is. Its impact as an antioxidant extends into numerous human therapeutic benefits.

Elena Schmidt

March 7, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Valencene Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Valencene is a rare terpene found in cannabis. It exudes an herbaceous, sweet citrus aroma with woodsy notes and is abundant in citrus fruits.

Elena Schmidt

March 15, 2023

Understanding Amanita Pantherina Mushrooms: Appearance, Effects, and Legality

The Amanita pantherina, or the Panther Cap, is a relative of the Amanita muscaria mushroom. Its cap features ochre brown dots with white spots. It's a delirium rather than a psychedelic, and it's legal!

Masha Ty

March 23, 2023

Flavonoid Friday: Everything You Need to Know About Vitexin Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Vitexin fans praise it for everything from benefiting the brain and heart to fighting diabetes and helping maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Elena Schmidt

March 20, 2023

Terpene Tuesdays: Everything You Need to Know About Sabinene Hydrate Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits

Sabinene Hydrate is a vital component of various plant essential oils, including cannabis. It displays antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial uses.

Elena Schmidt

April 11, 2023

Psilocybin Guide: Effects, Benefits, Risks, and Legality

In this blog, we will explore the history, science, and potential benefits of psilocybin and its potential risks and legal status.

Elena Schmidt

April 12, 2023

H4 CBD Guide: Experience, Legality, Products & Benefits

This guide examines H4-CBD from every angle, explaining its effects and chemical structure, user reviews, comparison to CBD and THC, and commercial products.

Elena Schmidt

May 3, 2023

A Complete Guide to THCH: Research, Products, Potency & Effects

THC-H’ is a unique minor cannabinoid whose chemical structure allows it to readily attach to receptors in the brain, making it notably stronger than Delta-9 THC.

Elena Schmidt

May 10, 2023

A Complete Guide to THCB Research, Potency & Effects

Preliminary research suggests THCB may have a range of potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anticonvulsant properties.

Elena Schmidt

May 18, 2023

Psilocin Guide: Effects, Benefits, Risks, and Legality

This guide compares psilocin to psilocybin, highlighting differences and similarities in how they work in the body, their effects, strength, benefits, and legality.

Masha Ty

February 17, 2023

DEA Says Delta-8 and Delta-9 THCOA (aka THCO) Falls Under Controlled Substances Act, not Farm Bill

According to the DEA's interpretation of the law, THCOA doesn’t fall within the Farm Bill's definition of hemp because hemp plants don’t naturally produce the cannabinoid.

Elena Schmidt

March 28, 2023

The Powerful Benefits of Beta-Glucans in Functional Mushrooms

Beta-glucan is a soluble fiber located primarily in the cell walls of mushrooms and whole grains, known to lower blood sugar, defend against infections, and even kill cancer cells.

Elena Schmidt

April 5, 2023

ACS Laboratory Launches the First Premium Hemp “Bored Gummy” COA on the Blockchain

New collection of Bored Gummy, Launches April 7 in the Automatic Slims Metaverse Marketplace

Elena Schmidt

January 30, 2023

ACS Laboratory Receives 82 Emerald Badges for Exemplary Hemp and Cannabis Test Results, More Than Any Laboratory in the USA

Recently Awarded 21 Emerald Test Proficiency Badges for 2022, ACS has Reaffirmed its Position as the Most Trusted Third-party Hemp and Cannabis Testing Provider

ACS Laboratory