What are Terpenes and How are they Related to CBD?

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With all the Cannabis and CBD hype taking over right now, there is plenty of information to sift through and there are a good amount of cannabis consumers who are well informed about cannabinoids by now, including what they are and what they do. Both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) have been trending buzzwords in the cannabis industry for some time now. However, there’s a new term surging to the top of search queries and headlines these days: that word is terpenes. Consumers who haven’t heard of it yet or who are not familiar with what terpenes are might be surprised to know that they can be very important when it comes to cannabis use and CBD use for healing or therapeutic purposes. Here is more about this powerful compound and how it is related to CBD. 

What are Terpenes? 

Despite the term being relatively new to the general public, we’ve all been exposed to terpenes most of our lives in different ways. Terpenes are a diverse class of compounds that are present in a large variety of plants, most especially in conifers and even in some insects. They are known for having strong odors that researchers believe helps protect the plants that produce them by warding off predators and parasites. Terpenes are the compounds that give pine trees, eucalyptus, jasmine, tea tree, lemongrass, and many others their unique odors. These compounds are thought to contribute to the healing properties of the plants that produce them. 

A good way to ground the concept is to think about how essential oils are used. Essential oils like lavender are known to help you relax; peppermint oil is thought to help relieve headaches; eucalyptus essential oils are thought to help open up sinuses and so on. Terpenes are similar and are also found in essential oils. They tend to carry healing, relaxing or energizing effects. 

What do Terpenes Have to do with CBD? 

Terpenes are also found in the Cannabis plant. There are actually over 200 varieties that have been identified so far, with each terpene having its own unique set of benefits associated with it. The reason you might be seeing the term terpenes so much in the media is because of the synergy terpenes seem to have with CBD and other cannabinoids. They are thought to work together with cannabinoids to deliver more benefits and more potent effects in what is known as an ‘entourage effect’. One of the benefits associated is that terpenes, combined with cannabinoids, tend to help expedite the absorption of cannabinoids into the bloodstream. 

Different strains of cannabis have different variations of terpenes in them. Some of the more common terpenes found in cannabis include: 

Limonene: This is a terpene that is often found in cleaning agents and perfumes. It is the second most abundant terpene in cannabis as well as citrus fruits and has a citrusy smell, as its name implies. This terpene has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties. It is also thought to help uplift, energize and reduce stress and anxiety. 

Linalool: This is a terpene that exists in lavender as well as Cannabis and may help in balancing out the effects of THC, working against the psychoactive high. It’s a stress-reliever, helps with warding off depression and has anti-anxiety properties, which can help balance out the anxiety that comes as a side effect of THC sometimes. 

Myrcene: This is the primary terpene that is present in cannabis. This terpene is also found in mangoes and makes up to 65% of the terpene profile in some plants. This is a terpene that gives the marijuana plant its distinct smell. It has relaxing properties in addition to anti-inflammatory properties, a major player in the healing and treatment of inflammation-based ailments. 

Pinene: As its name implies, the Pinene terpene has a distinct smell that is associated with pine trees. It is also present in herbs like dill, parsley, and rosemary. It has powerful effects that help widen the bronchi, used to help alleviate congestion and beneficial via inhalation. It also has strong antiseptic properties used in herbal medicines for millennia. 

Humulene: This terpene is also found in cloves, basil, and hops. This terpene helps decrease appetite, which can counteract the side effects of marijuana use. Research has shown that terpene, like Myrcene, also combats inflammation. Like Limonene, it has antibacterial properties. 

Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene is a terpene that has a peppery, spicy and woody scent found in cinnamon and black pepper. Evidence has shown that this terpene helps fight anxiety, inflammation, and depression. 

Terpenes, not to be Confused with Terpenoids

If you’re looking into cannabis, you’ll hear these two terms often, so it’s important to understand that terpenes are not the same as terpenoids. Terpenes are the combo of the naturally present hydrogen and carbon in the plant. Terpenoids are terpenes that have been altered via an oxidation process which modifies the chemical makeup. Terpenoids are changed by drying out and curing the cannabis flower, which changes the molecule’s transformations and its taste. Terpenoids have been used even with non-cannabis products for its aromatic properties – for example, it’s been used to create essential oils, perfumes, and spices. Terpenoid research has shown that they are connected with the smell and flavor of strains and their buds and can have an effect on the duration and intensity of the effects of the strain. 

In Conclusion…

While there has been a lot of interest in CBD oil and CBD isolate, both which separate that particular cannabinoid from all the rest of the cannabis plant’s components to avoid specific side effects like feeling high, there is a lot to be said about the therapeutic powers of terpenes and other cannabinoids working together. CBD oil and CBD isolate have their benefits, but they do not have the entourage effect that allows certain terpenes and cannabinoids to balance each other out. Research has pointed to terpenes present in full-spectrum CBD Oils to help multiply the positive effects it has. 


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