What are terpenes? In the wide world of CBD and other cannabis-derived products, this is one of the most important questions you can ask as you learn about CBD.
Terpenes are aromatic, organic compounds that are produced by virtually every variety of plant, including basil, mint, pine — and, of course, the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant, which includes both hemp and marijuana, is thought to contain at least 120 unique terpenes. These terpenes are responsible for giving each plant its distinctive aroma and taste.
But they’re not just responsible for the unique tastes and smells of our favorite plants. They also offer a wide variety of benefits and effects that can have a powerful impact on your mood, energy, and overall wellbeing.
Knowing how to use terpenes — and the differences between each terpene type — is important for anyone interested in CBD or other cannabis products. Each terpene contributes its unique effects, and the combination of terpenes in a given product can have significant implications. That’s why understanding each terpene is essential for your CBD shopping. And although they’re closely related to each other, there are distinct and important differences between terpenes and CBD oil that cannabis consumers must be aware of.
Terpenes, both in the cannabis plant and in other plants that contain terpenes, are thought to have a variety of health benefits. Just as each type of essential oil has its own properties and benefits, so do cannabis terpenes. Different terpenes could have different medical benefits and applications, including “treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction”, and a variety of other common ailments.
Knowing how to use terpenes — and which ones will create your desired effect — is important for anyone interested in making CBD or other cannabis products a part of their wellness routine.
In the world of CBD products, terpenes are used for two main purposes.
The first is as a flavoring agent. As we noted earlier, terpene blends are responsible for the incredible range of scents and tastes found in nature’s plants. When terpenes are used in CBD and other manufactured products, they can create tastes similar to our favorite fruits, veggies — or even a user’s favorite strain of cannabis flower.
The second use of terpenes is therapeutic, and the end-result of this use is most often called the entourage effect.
The Entourage Effect
When taken together with CBD, terpenes synergize to create a pleasant, whole body experience that users call “the entourage effect.”
While some researchers and scientists have doubts about whether and to what extent the entourage effect actually occurs, anecdotal evidence from cannabis- and CBD users insists that terpenes can have a pronounced effect. If you’ve ever noticed a difference between how CBD isolates and full- or broad spectrum products affect you, then you’ve experienced the entourage effect firsthand.
Because each terpene contributes its unique characteristics to the entourage effect, understanding the synergistic interaction between terpenes and other cannabis compounds can influence how informed consumers shop for CBD oil and other CBD products.
For instance, a product that was made from pure CBD isolate would have a different effect than a full spectrum oil that contains all of hemp’s terpenes. Similarly, a product that only contains a few select terpenes, such as myrcene and limonene, would produce different effects than one with other terpene combinations. The unique blend of terpenes and cannabinoids can have a significant impact on how CBD will affect users; for instance, the terpene blend of a given product can determine whether users should take that CBD to relax or become energized.
List of Common Terpenes
As stated above, there are over 100 different terpenes contained in the cannabis plant. Some are more commonly found in hemp and cannabis products (such as CBD oils, capsules, and other products).
- Flavor and scent: earthy, musky, with ripe fruit undertones
- Benefits: strong sedative, boosts relaxation
- Also Present In: lemongrass, eucalyptus, and ylang-ylang, fruits like mangoes, and herbs like thyme, basil, and hops
- Flavor and scent: spicy, woodsy
- Benefits: anti-inflammatory
- Also Present In: black pepper, cloves, cotton
- Flavor and scent: floral and slightly sweet
- Benefits: anti-anxiety, mild sedative
- Also Present In: lavender, mint plants, laurel, cinnamon, rosewood, and citrus fruits
- Flavor and scent: lemony, citrus flavors and smells
- Benefits: mood elevating
- Also Present In: lemon and orange rinds, peppermint and rosemary
- Flavor and scent: sharp and crisp pine
- Benefits: memory retention and alertness
- Also Present In: pine trees and evergreens, rosemary, basil
wirtten by Maxwell Kent