The Hidden World of Terpenes, CBD, and Cannabis; Everything You Need to Know
Think back to a favorite scent. It might be freshly cut grass, the zest of citrus fruits, or pine needles. Those scents are caused by terpenes, which are naturally occurring compounds that account for a plant’s unique flavor, smell, and even colors.
And importantly, they’re found in cannabis extracts, accounting for up to 5% of the dry weight of the hemp plant.
When it comes to CBD oil, terpenes are often overlooked in favor of CBD and THC. Still, they have a number of exciting potential health benefits and play an important role in supporting the effects of other compounds found in hemp.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are compounds that occur naturally in plants and some animals and are responsible for the plants’ scent, flavor, and color. They occur in almost all plants but are most noticeable in aromatic vegetation such as citrus fruits and cannabis.
Essential oil terpenes of the cannabis plant are unsaturated hydrocarbons found in the trichomes (the resin that coats female cannabis plants).
And they’re everywhere, even cleaning products.
Terpenes in Household Products
Many of the detergents we use daily have terpenes to give that fresh, clean scent; other products include soaps, shampoos, essential oils, and detergents. Importantly, they’re also safe to consume.
Specific Roles of Terpenes in Plants
- Protection against predators. While we humans may enjoy the smell of lavender, for plants, terpenes are an essential defense against predation. They act as a deterrent to ward off predators, and therefore terpenes protect plants.
- Attract pollinators. For many plants, in order to reproduce, they require pollination. Terpenes provide the strong scent that attracts would-be pollinators.
- Aid recovery. Terpenes help plants recover from injuries.
CBD oil contains hundreds of terpenes, but the main types are Myrcene, Humulene, Linalool, Limonene, α-pinene and β-pinene, Eucalyptol, and Delta-III Carene.
Like CBD, terpenes don’t give you a ‘high’, but they play a role in the way that CBD oil works in the body. So, in addition to providing that distinctive CBD flavor and smell, they work in synergy with CBD, THC, other cannabinoids, and flavonoids, among many compounds known as the “entourage effect.”
Terpenes and the Entourage Effect
The entourage effect was a term first used by researchers S. Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam way back in 1998 during their research into the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Their research showed that the different compounds in cannabis strains heightened the effects of the other compounds in the body.
To understand the entourage effect, we need to take a step back and look at the ECS. The endocannabinoid system is your body’s regulatory system that constantly works to maintain homeostasis throughout most of your nervous system, some of your immune cells, and your brain.
Your brain is the central processing hub, while the ECS works as a delivery system made up of nerve cells. Your brain uses signals from chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, to interpret information about pain, temperature, appetite, memory, and movement.
Terpenes have a role to play in this process. They don’t just add the distinctive taste and smell of CBD oil. While CBD terpenes have stand-alone benefits, when combined with both cannabinoids CBD and THC, they produce the entourage effect that may help neurotransmitters communicate better with cannabinoid receptors, improving the speed and efficiency of message transmissions in the body.
Researcher Ethan B. Russo has also proposed that terpenes play a vital role in decreasing the cognitive impact of THC while boosting its medicinal benefits and that the presence of cannabis terpenes amplifies the health benefits of the cannabis plant.
Understanding Different Terpenes
Research into the medicinal properties of terpenes is still in its early stages, but a number of studies point to their exciting wellness-boosting benefits.
Each terpene offers unique attributes that support processes within the body. There is a long history of terpenes being used to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions in folk medicine.
While there are other terpenes (over 400 at last count), only a few terpenes have been studied, including:
Beta-caryophyllene occurs in high levels in CBD as well as in rosemary and cloves.
Delta III Carene is found in strong herbs such as rosemary and basil and has a woody scent.
Pinene is most commonly associated with pine needles because of its distinctive fresh, clean scent.
There are two forms of pinene (alpha-pinene and beta-pinene), with the alpha version found most often in CBD oils.
Humulene is a terpene that’s also found in ginseng, which has been used for centuries in eastern traditional medicine for its energy-boosting effects.
Limonene (Citrus Fruits)
Limonene is one of the most abundant terpenes present in CBD. It has a distinctive aroma that brings to mind citrus fruits, and it’s often used in household cleaners, food, and perfume.
Linalool (Essential Oils)
Of all terpenes, linalool is at the top of the list if you enjoy the smell of lavender.
Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes in CBD oil, and it’s also found in mangoes and other fruit. It’s noted for its sweet, spicy scent and has been used for centuries in Mexican and South American folk medicine.
With its minty fresh smell, this less-common terpene is also known for its early Hawaiians’ use as a natural medicine.
Terpenes and Full-Spectrum CBD
As the name suggests, full-spectrum CBD products contain the full spectrum of beneficial compounds that occur naturally in cannabis. This list includes over 100 different cannabinoids, including high levels of CBD and low levels of THC, as well as CBN, CBC, CBG, THCA, CBDA, and other cannabinoids.
CBD also contains approximately 20 different flavonoids. These compounds are found in various plant types, including fruits, vegetables, and grains, and, like terpenes, may have important health-promoting effects.
Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work optimally when their levels are unaltered, and why full-spectrum CBD is thought to offer the best benefits.
CBD isolate, in comparison, contains only CBD, so the benefits of the range of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes simply aren’t present, and you also miss out on the synergistic interactions of these compounds.
Access CBD Terpenes with Cannovia
At Cannovia, we’re at the forefront of CBD products and innovation, which is how AHHH!, our brand-new fortified CBD oil, came into being.
What makes AHHH! unique in the market is the proprietary blend of 19 plant-sourced terpenes, enhanced with 3000mg of CBD.
This full-spectrum CBD includes other cannabinoids such as THC, CBC, CBG, and our specially formulated botanical PR1 Terpene Boost.
These natural compounds work synergistically to maximize the health benefits of a nature-sourced response to nagging everyday aches and pains.
Get the Most from Your CBD
When it comes to cannabis terpenes, you may need to do a little digging to get the most from your CBD.
Check the dates
Look at the expiration date. This is important as terpene concentration tends to decrease over time.
Review the ingredients
CBD oils should be made from industrial hemp plants or cannabis and contain no synthetic ingredients.
As synthetic terpenes are widely used in other industries, this is one in particular that you need to watch out for. You should also check that you’ve chosen a full-spectrum CBD product, as CBD isolate won’t contain any terpenes.
Storage is important
High temperatures and too much sunlight could affect the efficacy of the terpenes, which break down more quickly than other phytochemicals.
Experiment with dosage
Each CBD oil product will contain different terpenes depending on the cannabis strain, and therefore the different products will produce a different response.
Start with a low dosage and gradually increase until you experience the effects you’re looking for.
Keep a journal
Many CBD experts recommend keeping a journal of your experiences, whether you are new to taking a CBD extract or have been consuming CBD for years.
Over time, you will start to notice patterns, especially if you change products, and from there, you will be able to work out what terpene profile you need to get the ideal therapeutic effects.
Frequently Asked Questions About Terpenes
Do CBD terpenes get you high?
No. Terpenes are known for their therapeutic benefits, not their psychoactive effects. They are not intoxicating on their own.
Although terpenes from hemp plants don’t get you high, they do elevate the CBD experience as they support the work of cannabinoids in the body and thus offer an overall positive impact.
What do terpenes do for the body?
While more research is needed, there are several types of terpenes that occur naturally in CBD that have been linked to mood enhancement and other wellness-supporting benefits.
How do terpenes affect CBD?
Researchers are currently looking into how terpenes enhance CBD. Preliminary research points to the possibility that terpenes work with cannabinoids to affect the blood-brain barrier, allowing more cannabinoids to pass through the barrier and begin the work in your body’s ECS.
Do you want terpenes in CBD oil?
Yes! Many people find that CBD oil containing terpenes is more beneficial than CBD isolate or CBD, where only very low concentrations of terpenes are present.
Terpenes in CBD can enhance the effects of other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBGA, THCA, CBDA, and CBCA and have many health benefits in their own right.
Final Thoughts About Terpenes
Terpenes are mainly responsible for the taste and smell of CBD, but, to date, there are very few definitive claims that can be made about the health benefits of the 400+ terpenes that exist in cannabis plants.
The potential of the “entourage effect”, where terpenes work with other cannabinoids, flavonoids, and phytocompounds, may hold the key to future CBD health discoveries.
As studies on the effects of terpenes continue and are published, science points towards the health-giving properties of terpenes and how they support important physiological processes.
The cannabis industry continues to expand, and with so many CBD products to choose from, it can be challenging to know which contain the plant compounds that will provide the results you’re looking for.
When choosing a CBD product, consider purchasing full-spectrum CBD oil that contains abundant terpenes for the cannabis synergy and numerous wellness benefits.
More research is needed into the specific terpenes and benefits that terpenes offer, and how to get the best effects as they are incorporated into our daily lives.