If you’ve shopped for CBD lately, you’ve probably seen companies talking about how their products contain terpenes. But what are terpenes, even? Why are they put in so many CBD products?
In short, terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in hemp (as well as in other plants) that give it its aroma. Many terpenes have benefits, including antioxidant and antiviral properties. Unlike some cannabinoids, however, terpenes won’t get you high or cause any negative side effects — at least, not in regular doses.
Let’s find out more about what terpenes are, why they’re added to CBD, and what the benefits of consuming them are.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in a variety of plants — including hemp. They’re responsible for the aromas, flavors, and sometimes, even the colors associated with different types of plants — for example, terpenes are what give apples their signature flavor.
In hemp, terpenes are responsible for the smell and taste of different flower strains, and many hemp users purchase a flower based solely on its terpene profile.
Terpenes differ from cannabinoids, such as CBD — both in how your body interacts with them and in the benefits and effects they render.
Why Are Terpenes Added to CBD Oil?
Though terpenes play a major role in hemp flower, they’re also added to other CBD products, such as oils and edibles. There are two main reasons why:
Terpenes Have Benefits
Many terpenes have beneficial effects, even in isolation from the plants they’re extracted from. Adding or including terpenes in CBD products can amplify the benefits that a certain product is able to render. For example, the terpene Limonene has antiviral properties.
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is an idea that says that when you use cannabinoids and terpenes in combination with each other, you receive amplified benefits, and in some cases, the side effects of the individual compounds are reduced.
This phenomenon applies both to taking cannabinoids in combination, and to taking cannabinoids and terpenes in combination. For example, CBD and CBG work better when taken together.
CBD works best when combined with other cannabinoids, and, you guessed it: terpenes. Because of this, terpenes are often added to extracts to produce what we call the entourage effect.
How Terpenes Are Added to CBD Oil
Many terpenes naturally occur along with CBD in the hemp plant, and the extraction can be performed such that they’re included in the final product.
Other times, if we’re looking to add terpenes that aren’t in hemp (or if we want to add more than is available), we can isolate them separately and then add them to the extract.
Note that there are three main types of CBD products, and only two of them include terpenes:
- Full-spectrum CBD — consists of CBD, small amounts of other cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBN, and THC, and terpenes
- Broad-spectrum CBD — same as full-spectrum, but without the THC
- CBD isolate — only CBD, with no cannabinoids or terpenes
However, just because a product may say “full spectrum” or “broad spectrum” doesn’t mean it contains terpenes. Some companies will use this terminology without fully understanding what it means (more on this in the section on choosing CBD oil).
Benefits & Effects of Common CBD Terpenes
What are the benefits and effects of terpenes that occur with, or are added to, CBD?
Here are the seven most common terpenes in CBD products and what each can do.
Limonene is a terpene found primarily in citrus fruits. It’s used to add citrus flavor to beverages, food, and gum.
Beneficial Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, lowers cholesterol, blood sugar, and triglyceride levels, and supports healthy digestion.
Effects: Limonene has no major mental or physical effects.
Myrcene is one of the most abundant terpenes in the cannabis plant. It’s also found in hops, and it’s known as the compound that gives beer a peppery or spicy fragrance.
Beneficial Properties: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic (pain-killing), sleep-supportive.
Effects: Myrcene may induce feelings of drowsiness.
Linalool is a terpene found in citrus fruits, lavender, and cannabis. Like myrcene, it’s used to give flavor to beer, among other things.
Beneficial Properties: Anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing, calming, stress-reducing, and is beneficial for neurological conditions.
Effects: Linalool has a mentally relaxing effect.
Pinene is a terpene found in… wait for it: pine trees! It’s responsible for the distinct smell of the needles. It’s also found in hemp.
Beneficial Properties: Anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and antioxidant.
Effects: Pinene has uplifting and energizing effects.
Humulene, like myrcene, is a terpene found in cannabis, hops, ginseng, and other plants. It has an earthy, woody, and spicy aroma.
Beneficial Properties: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, anti-allergy.
Effects: Humulene has a mentally relaxing effect.
Terpinolene is a terpene found in cannabis, lilac, sage, rosemary, cumin, tea trees, and more. It’s known for its woody flavor with floral and citrus notes.
Beneficial Properties: Sleep-supportive, antioxidant.
Effects: Terpinolene has a mild sedative effect.
Caryophyllene is a terpene found in cannabis, cloves, rosemary, black pepper, and lavender. It provides the spice in pepper, and it provides similar flavors in other plants.
Beneficial Properties: Anti-anxiety, analgesic (pain-relieving), seizure-reducing, and antimicrobial, antioxidant.
Effects: Caryophyllene is known for providing relaxing and euphoric effects.
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How to Choose CBD Oil with Terpenes
Like we mentioned earlier, some CBD extracts naturally contain terpenes, while others don’t. When looking for a terpene-rich CBD oil, opt for a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum product.
However, you’ll want to take an extra measure: don’t buy a product unless it’s been 3rd-party lab tested to verify that it actually does contain terpenes. There have been reports of products that don’t contain terpenes, but claim to — trust, but verify.
Terpenes aren’t required for you to have a good experience using CBD, but they do have a lot to offer, both flavor-wise and benefit-wise.
And based on the entourage effect, using a CBD product that contains terpenes may actually amplify the benefits you’d receive from the CBD otherwise. This means you’ll be able to achieve better results with your product, whether for relaxation or therapeutic purposes.
Shop Terpene-Rich CBD Oil at Natural Ways CBD
We obsess over quality — both in our own products and in the products we carry from other companies. Everything is made from American-grown hemp, and if we say it contains terpenes, you can be confident that it actually does.
CBD Terpenes: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions we are frequently asked about terpenes and CBD.
What is the entourage effect?
The entourage effect is the theory that various cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce benefits of greater magnitude than the individual compounds could when used in isolation.
What are the side effects of CBD terpenes?
Some CBD terpenes may cause nausea, headache, irritation, or allergic reactions in very high doses, but you’ll likely never consume anywhere close to the amount required to trigger these side effects.
Is CBD the same as terpenes?
No — while cannabinoids (such as CBD) and terpenes both naturally occur in the hemp plant, they are different types of chemical compounds.
Are CBD terpenes beneficial for pain?
Some likely are — terpenes such as myrcene and caryophyllene have demonstrated analgesic, or pain-killing, properties.
Are CBD terpenes beneficial for anxiety?
Some likely are — terpenes such as linalool and caryophyllene have shown anti-anxiety properties.