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Your favourite Canadian strains and their main terpenes

Terpenes are compounds found in cannabis that lend the plant its flavour and aroma. In addition to contributing to the scent of cannabis, terpenes have effects on the body and mind, too. Some cannabis users like to customize their cannabis experience by preferentially vaporizing certain terpenes, in order to alter the character of their experience. Scientists believe that terpenes modulate the effects of different cannabinoids.

Many licensed producers now provide terpene analysis profiles for their cannabis strains. More information is always better, and this may help people choose a strain that works for them, or at least, help explain why different strains have different characters.

Here are five of the most popular cannabis strains in Canada, and how their terpene profiles stack up.

Blue Dream

The sweet, berry-like Blue Dream is Leafly’s most searched cannabis strain. In addition to being so popular, it has very positive reviews, with the effects described as happy, relaxed, and euphoric.

But what about its terpenes? Its most abundant terpene is myrcene, a sedative, “couch-locking” compound that offers pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects. Experts believe myrcene “flips” the effects of THC from energizing to sedating, which explains why users describe this strain as relaxing.

Blue Dream also contains notable levels of pinene, an energizing terpene thought to produce a relaxing, yet mentally alert high. Experts believe pinene may counteract some of the short-term memory deficits induced by THC.

Sour Diesel

The pungent, gasoline-like Sour Diesel is a long-time favourite, described as uplifting, euphoric, happy, and energetic.

Sour Diesel contains high levels of limonene, caryophyllene, and the ever-common myrcene. Limonene is believed to have mood-elevating effects, and a 2013 study found that lemon oil, which contains high levels of limonene, acted as an antidepressant in mice. Limonene lends a cirtusy, lemon-like note to the complex, pungent aromatic foundation of Sour Diesel. 

Bubba Kush

Bubba Kush, a member of the ever-popular Kush family, may offer a relatively lower level of myrcene than its brothers and sisters, according to some analyses. Leafly data indicates that Bubba Kush contains significant myrcene, but this may vary according to different licensed producer’s genetics and growing conditions.

Another one of the most popular cannabis strains in Canada, this strain receives rave reviews, with Leafly reviewers recommending Bubba Kush to treat pain. The strain contains high levels of caryophyllene, a terpene with analgesic, or pain-relieving properties. Caryophyllene also lends a peppery, earthy note to Bubba Kush’s flavour profile. 

Grandaddy Purple

The deep violet hues of Granddaddy Purple are perhaps its defining feature. This top-rated strain delivers both a mind-altering cerebral high and a relaxing body buzz. 

This sweet, floral strain is described as highly sedative. It contains high levels of—you guessed it—myrcene. Myrcene is a sedative, relaxing terpene that is at least partly responsible for the famed “couch-lock” effect attributed to strains once classified as indicas.


Another household name, GSC, formerly known as Girl Scout Cookies, is a popular cannabis strain among Canadians. This potent strain is a favourite of medical cannabis users, with Leafly reviewers describing the high as happy, relaxed, and euphoric. 

GSC contains a relatively high level of humulene, one of the lesser-known terpenes, in addition to high levels of caryophyllene and limonene. Humulene gets its name from the scientific name for hops, a plant commonly used in the making of beer. It gives the strain its earthy, woody, and spicy character.

Laura Tennant's Bio Image
Laura Tennant

Laura Tennant is a Toronto freelance science writer. She has an Honours B.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Toronto. She hopes her writing will help others make better-informed choices about their health and lifestyle.

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