The term terpene refers to any of a large group of aromatic organic compounds, specifically isomeric hydrocarbons, identifiable by the formula C10H16, responsible for the scent given off by plants.
Fragrances given off by peppermint and lemongrass, for example, can be traced back to the terpenes limonene and myrcene. Linalool, a terpene found in lavender, tends to have a calming effect.
More than 200 types of terpenes have been identified so far. A small number of them are believed to have useful therapeutic properties.
A growing number of companies in the cannabis space are mixing and matching various terpenes to appeal to the interests and tastes of customers.