One of the most important ingredients in any CBD product are terpenes, which are naturally-occurring scent and flavor compounds found in plants. But beyond that, what exactly are they? Here’s what you need to know about terpenes and how some interact with our endocannabinoid system, providing all-natural benefits.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes, or terpenoids, are flavor and fragrance components commonly found in plants that give each one its own distinct smell. Among cannabis plants, the science behind terpenes has played a major role in creating different plant strains that interact with our bodies in certain ways, providing unique therapeutic effects. Because of their commonality in human diets, terpenoids have been designated “Generally Recognized as Safe” by the FDA and other regulatory agencies.
Note: Terpenes are part of the living plant. They’re little glands that produce scent and help attract different pollinators. Terpenoids, on the other hand, are the dried and cured version of terpenes used primarily in the creation of perfumes, essential oils, and spices. So what you smell when finding the right CBD oil for you is terpenoids, but most refer to the smell given off as being provided through terpenes.
What Are the Benefits of Terpenes?
It’s not 100% proven, but of the 100 terpenes produced by the cannabis plant, there are a variety of believed benefits provided by certain terpenes. From anti-inflammatory and stress-relieving properties to boosting mood and helping suppress appetite, terpenes play a major role in the effectiveness of cannabinoids such as CBD and THC.
In regard to CBD, on its own, terpenes are present in full spectrum CBD products. With their presence in a full spectrum CBD oil, gummy, topical cream, or eliquid, the overall complexity of the product can change through what’s know as the entourage effect. With the entourage effect, terpenes actually enhance the therapeutic benefits of CBD, taking CBD from just another natural remedy to a much more potent alternative method of self-care.
Terpenes Often Found in Cannabis Plants
While there are around 100 terpenes produced by the cannabis plant, there are six terpenes that stand out because they seem to be more abundant in their use among CBD products for their supposed benefit. Get to know these terpenes so you can also identify and know the benefits each one may offer.
Beta-Caryophyllene is a more peppery and spicy scent found in cloves, cinnamon leaves, and black pepper. Studies have shown that beta-caryophyllene can act as an anti-inflammatory in humans and should be studied further.
Humulene offers a more earthy, hop-like scent, so it’s no surprise that it’s found in hops, coriander, and even basil. Surprisingly, unlike other terpenes, humulene has properties that suppress a person’s appetite instead of increasing it.
- Appetite Suppressant
Limonene gives off a sharp, citrusy scent that is present in many perfumes— and even cleaning products—that we use every day. Its presence in a CBD product could improve mood, decrease stress, and ultimately has shown that it improves the absorption of other terpenes and compounds through the skin.
- Mood Booster
- Stress Reliever
- Anti-Fungal & Antibacterial Properties
A floral scent, linalool gives off a lavender or coriander smell, which may come across as slightly spicy. The terpene traditionally helps balance out the anxious side effects of THC, making it a good tool for treating anxiety.
- Stress Relieving
Myrcene is much like humulene in its earthy with being found in hops and basil, in addition to mangoes and lemongrass. Myrcene is also the most commonly found terpene in cannabis, sometimes making up 50% of a cannabis plant’s terpenes. The feelings caused by myrcene are typically associated with certain strains of THC, but in small quantities may be of benefit when in a CBD product, offering muscle relaxing and sedative properties.
- Muscle Relaxer
The most common terpene found in the world is pinene, which has a very pine-like scent (hence “PINEne”). It’s primarily found in pine needles, orange peels, and even parsley. Some studies have shown that pinene may help in preventing gastric ulcers, while other (and currently untested) studies believe pinene may have the ability to improve short-term memory loss.
- Short-Term Memory Improvement
- Lung Airflow
With any full spectrum CBD product, terpenes are going to play a large role in how it affects you on an individual level. By knowing what scents to look for or other ingredients included—such as pine needles (pinene) or hops (humulene)—you can better decide which CBD product is best for the path you’re looking to take.