Table of Terpenes

A selection of vaporizers and plants rich in terpenes

Researching the Cannabis Market

What Are Terpenes?

Working as a budtender in Washington State’s burgeoning cannabis industry has been a unique opportunity. I have been on the sales floor studying the consumer market for legal cannabis, and a first hand witness to the trials and successes of the industry. I work every day on understanding the latest science and laws in the cannabis industry, and I interact with all sorts of different people who all consume cannabis in some shape or form. From wealthy business executives to construction workers, preschool teachers to professors, and everyone in between, many folks are turning to cannabis for recreation and medicine.

Long gone are the days of cannabis consumers hunting for a dealer, or not knowing what they were smoking. These days, the plant is tracked from seed to sale, and consumers can reliably get test results on any plant from their local dispensary. However, the amount of options can easily be overwhelming, and there is a lack of knowledge due to the plant’s illegal status. Most consumers these days are aware of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD), but the stunning diversity of the cannabis plant is really owed to molecules we call terpenes.
Terpenes are the essential oils found in plants including cannabis. These molecules have a wide variety of effects, and cannabanoids like THC and CBD essentially powering those effects like a gas pedal in a car. This synergistic reaction is called the Entourage Effect and explains why plants that look relatively similar can have completely opposite effects. Back in the beginning of cannabis cultivation wild plants existed in various areas around the world and over time they were cross bred to enhance their psychedelic effects.  As a result, the unique terpenes found in each plant became more nuanced over time as many hybrids were produced.

In the marketplace this has become a false dichotomy of Sativa strains, which have uplifting and euphoric effects, and Indica strains, which are sedative and relaxing. The reality is much more complex than that, but it’s a good place to start. The cannabis market is in need of educational materials that are accessable to the average consumer and don’t require extensive knowledge of organic chemistry.  For me, this represents the perfect opportunity to work on this issue through a graphic solution. I designed a poster for the home, and a printable booklet for the dispensary.

Determining the Scope

The first hurdle of this design project was figuring out how much information to cover, and how to cover it properly. In my research, I identified two core needs that consumers have. The first is a functional need for something they can take with them to the dispensary to help analyze what the dispensary has to offer. The second is a desire for decoration that is informative and doesn’t employ any of the graphic sterotypes that are prevalent in the ‘stoner’ community. I aimed to create a poster that wouldn’t be out of place in someone’s home office, and elevates the idea of consuming cannabis.

I drew on five major sources for this project and cross referenced information about each terpene to ensure I could accurately fill in my chart. Once the chart was established I moved onto sketching out ideas for icons that could represent each terpene. My initial exploration involved drawing plants that the terpenes were found in, and pictographs that describe the potential effects.


Heylo Cannabis
Steep Hill Lab
Happy Healthy Green Life

  • Terpene Name
  • Smell
  • Vaporization Temperature
  • Medicinal Value
  • Strains with Known Presence
  • Molecular Mass

Chart displays variables that will be incorporated into the poster
Icon development, digging into the science of terpenes and in cannabis

Icon Development Progression


Limonene Linalool

Pinene Camphene

Layout Iterations

The first version of the poster incorporated a lot more hand done calligraphy I created with the iPad Pro, but ultimately was not as readable as I wanted. The second version incorporated the verticle axis of the thermometer and swapped hand drawn titles for simple Avenir Next. The small noses and scents as well as the main title stayed the same to add a small element of my lettering to the poster. The icons were also able to increase in size in the second version due to the colored lines that connect the icon with its description.

I produced the poster in two sizes, 12 x 18 inches, and 18 x 24 inches

The posters framed in a home environment 

Terpenes To Go

Accessibility of information is incredibly important to me. I encourage you to download the PDF I have provided and take it with you to your local dispensary. This file is printer friendly in black and white, and when you print it double sided, it folds up into a convenient booklet. Simply arrange the sheet in portrait position with the Table of Terpenes face up, then fold the sheet in half bringing the top edge down to the bottom. You should see the Cannabanoids & Terpenes panels, and after folding in half again, you will have the Terp Zine title on the cover and The Future is Full of Terpenes on the back.

The cover is a fun use of trichomes as type, and the back further develops the characters created for Limonene and Myrcene. The inside answers the most common questions people had about terpenes, and draws on the successes I had explaining these molecules to various customers. The booklet covers what terpenes are, how to consume them, how they interact with cannabanoids, and how you can spot quality products in your local dispensary. This is not intended as medical advice and due to the limited amount of quality studies on the subject, it can be very hard to verify if these effects translate correctly for you. I give you my full permission to print this out, make notes, cross things out, crumple it up in your handbag and pull it out again when you need to know that strain you were thinking of.  I hope you find this guide useful. Feel free to share this guide and spread the love of terpenes!

Front and back cover

Inside panels
Unfold to reveal

Kylie Owen 2018 — Seattle, Washington