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What are CBD Terpenes… And What Do They Do?

Green Shoppers Written by Green Shoppers
Updated on November 23, 2018

Cannabinoids are the active compounds that people first think of when we talk about cannabis. THC and CBD are the most famed of these, but that is because we know quite a bit about the effects that these two cannabinoids have on the body. After all, since all the known effects of cannabis take place thanks to cannabinoids, these are all that matter, right?

Wrong. The cannabis plant does not only contain cannabinoids, but also wonderful little compounds called terpenes. They are a natural product of many cellular processes, they lead to the production of scent in plants, and they are the subject of this article.

Read on to find out all about terpenes and what their role is in CBD oils.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are compounds found in plants that give them a distinctive smell or taste. They are fragrant oils that, in the case of the cannabis or hemp plant, are found in the sticky resin glands. In other words, they come from the same place as cannabinoids such as CBD, but they work a little differently.

We will discuss this in more detail next, but terpenes might also contribute to the synergistic effects of cannabinoids, making them an essential component of hemp.

What Do Terpenes Do?

Besides giving a plant its odour and flavour, terpenes can have an effect on the human body. There’s a reason that some terpenes are all too familiar to our noses, and that’s because some pharmaceutical and health companies use them for their therapeutic effects.

How do they do this exactly? It is thought that terpenes, just like cannabinoids, can work with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to contribute to the entourage effect.

The Entourage Effect

In some research into cannabis, it has been found that cannabinoids work together synergistically to have certain effects on the body. CBD, for example, has been suggested to mitigate the intoxicating effects that THC has on the user. Often, you will see that CBD oil manufacturers sell ‘full-spectrum’ products, meaning that they contain a full range of different cannabinoids and terpenes.

This effect was discovered by Dr. Ethan Russo, who is a great advocate of the entourage effect.

In short, cannabinoids are more effective when taken together, and there is a belief that terpenes also contribute to this same entourage effect. The promotion of general wellbeing that you derive from CBD oil comes, in part, from terpenes!

Different Types of Terpenes

There are actually over 200 distinct terpenes in the cannabis plant, but some are more common than others. You might actually have heard of some of these already, and they feature in other plants and are sometimes used in alternative therapies or health foods.

  • Myrcene: Commonly recognised for its musky, herbal aroma, myrcene is said to help with relaxation. It might, when used in marijuana, boost the psychoactive effects of THC, but in CBD oil it is just likely to make you feel calm and healthy. Myrcene can be found in citrus fruits and thyme, too.
  • Linalool: With a spicy, floral scent, lilanool is also thought to be calming, and is sometimes used as a sedative.
  • Caryophyllene: There are no mental effects associated with caryophyllene, but this earthy and peppery terpene is sometimes used as a treatment for muscle spasms.
  • Pinene: Known for its piney, sweet smell that you would get if you walked through a pine forest, pinene can apparently aid memory and promote alertness. Some also champion it as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Limonene: Perhaps the most well-known terpene on this list, limonene is fruity and citrusy. It is usually used to boost mood.
  • Humulene: Earthy and woody, humulene is sometimes used as an appetite suppressant or an anti-bacterial, making it a popular herbal remedy.

With these kinds of effects, terpenes are essential in the growing process of hemp, as they can help protect the plant itself!

Other Applications of Terpenes

From the above information, you can probably tell that terpenes are a great addition to any CBD oil. They have been used by humans for hundreds of years as a way to soothe certain ailments, and there is usually some sense in old treatments.

Enter aromatherapy. This refers to diffusing scents into the air in order to create a calming, health-promoting environment. It’s a way of making a house a home while also living a healthy lifestyle.

Well, you can actually diffuse different terpenes around your home in order to give off a relaxed ambience and send out good vibes. Linalool, for example, is not only found in cannabis but is also the key terpene in lavender which gives it its distinct scent. Linalool is known for its use as a relaxant and a sedative, which is why it is such a popular terpene in aromatherapy.

Furthermore, you can actually buy CBD terpene oils, containing high quantities of CBD and terpenes in order to properly and fully promote your own wellbeing.

Final Thoughts on Terpenes

Terpenes are an underrated and underdiscussed component of the cannabis plant. They really are essential, both in the growth of the plant and in the application of CBD oil. Thanks to the entourage effect, terpenes can amplify the sense of wellbeing that you will gain from taking CBD supplements.

But terpenes aren’t just for CBD! They can be used for other things, too, and you’ll often find them in fruits that you eat regularly.

Now that you know more about terpenes, you can make sure you’re buying the best quality CBD oils and making use of the entourage effect.