If you have just recently gotten into CBD, then you might have heard the word “terpenes” and wondered what on earth it means. Essentially, terpenes are just another compound that you will find in many CBD products. They can be found in cannabis and hemp and thus end up in the CBD oil that you consume.
As it turns out, though, terpenes are not just there for no reason. In fact, terpenes have some potential benefits of their own, meaning that the terpenes in your CBD could enhance the wellness-boosting properties.
To find out precisely what terpenes are, what they do, and how they can benefit you, read on…
What Even Are Terpenes?
Scientifically, terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbons found in plants. They are also found in some insects!
Less scientifically, terpenes are the compounds in plants that make them smell and taste good. Any scent you pick up from smelling flowers and other plants is all down to terpenes, making these very pleasant little molecules.
You might have also heard them referred to as terpenoids. While the two terms are pretty much used interchangeably, terpenoids are technically terpenes that have been modified through drying and curing, whereas terpenes are naturally occurring molecules. This is a fine distinction that you don’t really need to worry about, though.
In cannabis plants like hemp, the terpenes are produced in the trichomes of the plant. The trichomes are mushroom-shaped, shiny crystals found on the leaves and buds, sometimes producing a glittering cover that makes the plant seem oh-so-alluring.
Terpenes are extremely varied, producing an array of different smells and effects on the body. The cannabis plant, too, is very diverse, and you can find a huge number of different terpenes depending on the strain. Over 100 distinct terpenes have been identified in different cannabis plants.
This is important because terpenes are thought to have their own beneficial qualities. As a result, the terpenes that are found in your CBD hemp oil might influence the way it makes you feel. So, let’s discuss some of the varied benefits of different terpenes.
The Benefits of Different Terpenes
As we have said, terpenes can vary quite drastically, and there are a lot of them in cannabis. Below, we will look at some of the most common ones.
As the name suggests, limonene smells like citrus and lemons. It is found in the rinds of citrus fruits, as well as in juniper. It is quite a common terpene in many cannabis strains.
Limonene is known to be a potent antibacterial and antifungal agent. It probably developed in the cannabis plant because it acts as a natural insecticide, helping the plant to survive.
In humans, it might help to boost your health similarly. Furthermore, it has been reported to act as a mood-booster that fights against low mood swings.
A final benefit of limonene is that it may improve absorption of other terpenes, allowing your body to use those as well.
The best way to describe humulene is “hoppy.” The woody, earthy tones in its scent are most reminiscent of hops, and that’s because it is one of the prevalent terpenes in this plant. It is also found in coriander.
Humulene can be used as a way to suppress hunger. If you are trying to lose weight, then humulene might be able to assist you by making you feel less hungry.
Linalool is kind of like the opposite of limonene, meaning it’s typically renowned for having calming effects. Limonene is fruity and fresh, while linalool is floral and spicy. And yet, the two terpenes coexist side by side in cannabis!
You might know linalool best from its presence in lavender, and this knowledge might help you guess how it is used. Because of its calming effects, lavender (and thus linalool) is often used as an aid for those looking to improve nightly sleep patterns.
Once again, the name gives this one away. With a sharp, slightly sweet scent, pinene smells just like pine trees. Unsurprisingly, it is found in pine needles, confiders and sage – all the plants you would expect from this terpene.
Pinene in various products has been used after exercise-induced inflammation, but the benefits don’t stop there – pinene is said to improve focus and alertness by crossing the blood-brain barrier.
Myrcene is quite a difficult terpene to describe. Its aroma ranges from musky and herbal to a little bit citrusy. It is found in many plants and herbs, including mango, thyme, lemongrass and bay leaves. As you can see, it is hard to pin down.
Its effects are just as varied. Generally, myrcene is relaxing, a bit like linalool. However, it is also believed to have antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-fungal properties. With these effects, it might prove to contain several different uses.
Last up is beta-caryophyllene. This terpene has a peppery, spicy scent with a hint of wood. It is found in pepper, cloves, oregano and similar plants.
It is hard to say whether this terpene has any physical effects on the body. However, it is thought to boost your mood and enhance feelings of calm and relaxation.
Terpenes in Your CBD Oil
Terpenes have several benefits all by themselves. But what if you add them to CBD oil?
When CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, many terpenes will come along with it. As a result, most CBD products will contain some terpenes – you should check the lab reports to determine what these terpenes are and in what quantities they occur. Of course, if you buy a CBD isolate product, you are unlikely to get any terpenes at all.
In 2011, it was revealed in a paper by Ethan Russo, M.D., that terpenes might contribute to the entourage effect. In case you didn’t know, the entourage effect refers to how cannabinoids work together synergistically – they help each other to work even better.
It’s a bit like teamwork. Though CBD products are cannabidiol-dominant, full-spectrum products contain other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN. When combined together, your body can make use of all the available benefits. According to Russo’s paper, terpenes also contribute to enhancing the effects of cannabinoids.
This means that terpenes could improve the efficiency of CBD. Plus, you are getting the benefits of each individual terpene when you consume them. It’s a win-win situation!
Final Thoughts on Terpenes
Terpenes are clearly wonderful compounds. They smell and often taste delightful, and they might also provide some benefits of their own.
If you like to use full- or broad-spectrum CBD products, then make sure you look out for the terpene content. Depending on what you want to use your CBD for, the specific terpenes involved could help or hinder the effects. For example, if you are trying to improve your mood, try out a CBD product with more limonene in it!