What exactly are terpenes and how do they benefit our health? Are there helpful terpenes in CBD oil and hemp oil? It’s a question we get frequently asked and we want to unmask this mysterious healthy chemical component of plants like hemp and explain how you can incorporate it into your diet and lifestyle. We’ll run through how supplements like CBD hemp oil and other hemp products can deliver you completely health benefits through their terpene content and why this is important if you’re trying to take your health and performance to the next level.
A quick overview of what we’ll cover today:
- What exactly are Terpenes in Hemp and what do they do?
- How do Terpenes interact with the human body?
- Do Terpenes have health benefits?
- What are the common types of Terpene compounds?
- What products contain Terpenes that I can buy?
As a point of clarification, this article will focus on the terpenes found in the hemp or cannabis plant. While we’ll touch on the more general applications and benefits of terpenes, most of the information here will be related more specifically to CBD hemp oil and hemp extract. Let’s get into it.
What exactly are Terpenes in CBD Hemp Oil?
You might’ve heard the term terpenes – it’s one of the latest superfood compounds found in plants which is growing hugely in take up due to its broad health and wellness benefits that stimulate benefits throughout the brain and body. What you might not have heard though is that the word ‘terpenes’ is actually colloquial! Terpenes is really a shortened name for a wide array of fragrant chemicals found in plants (i.e., that smell or can be detected by olfactory senses), typically known scientifically as monoterpenes or sesquiterpenes, depending on their chemical makeup.
Put simply, the smells you smell from plants are almost always made up of terpenes in different combinations. They can be found in a huge array of flora from flowers to fruit to cannabis and hemp. Why do plants make them? Its simple to understand but complex in terms of how the chemistry works. Terpenes in plants like hemp form one of the plant’s many important mechanisms to managing external threats like insects and even other plants. They help to warn other organisms of danger or attract in pollinators for the plant so they can reproduce and spread their seeds over a much wider area. Essentially, terpenes are fragrant signals that plants use for a range of purposes – from attraction to deterrence of both predators and helpful partners.
You might’ve heard of essential oils – liquids of highly refined and extracted plant botanicals which have been reduced to their essences of flowers or buds. Examples are lavender or hemp oil. These are typically extremely rich in terpenes which is why essential oils typically smell very strongly and are highly fragrant. CBD hemp oil and cannabis is no different – it is rich in fragrant terpenes, containing hundreds of different terpene compounds, which can differ in their strength and benefits. It’s also key to note that not all hemp plants or strains are bred the same and some will have a superior or richer terpene mix, making them better for full spectrum CBD hemp oil.
What is the entourage effect in CBD hemp oil?
We’ve introduced Terpenes. But why do they matter? Well, they help to stimulate the beneficial effects of cannabidiol and other health promoting cannabinoids in hemp. Cannabidiol is a therapeutic compound native to the hemp plant which is non psychoactive and has numerous beneficial properties such as inflammation reduction and reduced anxiety. But its effects are greatly improved when combined with terpenes and other oils in the plant as they strengthen and enhance the potency and therapeutic benefits of CBD hemp oil throughout the body. This applies to cannabidiol (CBD) as well as CBG, CBA and other cannabinoids that drive deep and potent effects to the whole body to improve various functions like sleep and gut health. It’s important to obtain terpenes in your supplements when taking cannabidiol or other cannabinoids for therapeutic purposes as they boost the interaction of these compounds with the endo cannabinoid system, enabling much greater efficacy of their benefits to the body – whether for humans or pets.
What are terpenes made of and where can they be found?
To get a little bit scientific here, Terpenes are made up of hydrocarbons. They’re of course, organic – coming from plants, and share many of the same structures in plants. You can find them in any plant that has therapeutic properties or is fragrant – from hemp to flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees and more. Most household kitchens are already full of terpene containing plant or plant products – whether its cardamom, cilantro, turmeric, tomatoes, berries, or other plant items. These all have tastes and scents which are derived from their inherited terpene make up.
While they’re not typically consumed standalone (and we wouldn’t recommend this – think of eating an essential oil) terpenes are low toxicity and can added into drinks or items to enhance smell and flavour as well as fragrances for the house or smelly feet! Aromatic plants like roses or sandalwood are very well known for their terpene extract oils which help to ward off insects or can assist with skin issues like bites or infections – think of tea tree oil.
Looking at cannabis or hemp, terpenes are indeed what give the plant its very distinctive scent or odour – which can be very pungent. Like fruits and other plants, cannabis is rich in terpenes that cause it to smell, they’re particularly rich and abundant in the buds and flowers of the plant (like many other flowering plants). What you’re smelling is a blend of a wide array of different terpenes, that combine into a single smell. The combination of terpenes can vary depending on several factors like where the plant was grown, what soil it used, how it was watered or fed and more – each plant is unique.
What are the benefits of terpenes in hemp?
We’ve digressed a little from hemp and the terpenes in CBD oil but let’s explore what terpenes can be typically found in hemp plants and products and how these benefit users – whether taken as oil, tinctures, or topical creams. Increasingly, CBD hemp oil users are more and more aware of the rich and broad benefits of terpene content in the products they consume, often seeking out full spectrum CBD hemp oil for its terpene content or even specific CBD hemp oil products and strains to deliver the best terpene profiles. Why? Because they know it will give them much more bang for their buck by enhancing the existing cannabinoid benefits in hemp, as well as assisting with other areas like energy and sleep.
The Entourage Effect is a therapeutic phenomenon delivered by Terpenes that applies to cannabinoids such as THC, CBN, CBD, CBG, and other compounds. Many terpenes also have antimicrobial qualities that mean they have properties of combating harmful viruses and bacteria. Most terpenes including beta-caryophyllene also have some elements of pain-relief and anti-inflammation, which is why many fruits and vegetables are so healthy. These compounds have many therapeutic advantages but when they are used along with CBD and hemp oil they come into their own. Cannabidiol already has natural pain-relieving effects. Various terpenes present in the Hemp Flower contain antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties. For instance, the Linalool present in Hemp, and in herbs such as Lavender and basil, has relaxing effects that can assist in alleviating stress and anxiety.
What do Terpenes do in the body?
To use terpenes from hemp you must consume them – that should be obvious. What’s not as obvious are the lesser-known effects and benefits of terpenes in hemp oil. Terpenes alter how your body responds to cannabinoids in the endo cannabinoid system, improving many of the existing benefits that cannabidiol can provide.
In recent years, the therapeutic benefits of cannabis have become more popular because of its soothing effects, which are strongly boosted in certain strains by terpene content. Cannabis has medicinal results because of the well-known chemicals called cannabinoids that contain CBD and the THC with other substances. Strains that are terpene rich can be particularly helpful in delivering these benefits to the CB1 and CB2 receptors across the body and brain. Terpenes are present in cannabis plants in high concentration that is why some people consider them as cannabis enhancers.
Most of the terpenes are bioactive meaning that they can be metabolized by cells in the body and used for different functions. The effects of terpenes depend on individual’s make up and on the concentration of the terpenes and how it is used by the person. They usually produce strong smells – particularly in the case of cannabis terpenes. Hemp terpenes affect your mood and reduce your stress level by increasing the potency of CBD. The entourage effect occurs whenever terpenes change or increase the effects of CBD or THC in your body – which can organically happen through all hemp plants but is particularly strong in certain strains.
Terpenes in Cannabis and Human Physiology
Cannabinoids like THC or CBD binds to brain receptors (through the endocannabinoid system) to deliver their deep therapeutic benefits and terpenes do the same. The body has a psychological response whenever the CB1 and CB2 receptors are triggered and releases healthy chemicals which are endogenous and deliver anti-inflammatory or anti-anxiety effects. The body’s production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin can also be affected by the terpenes. The benefits of terpenes vary from person to person. Some commonly observed benefits are relief from depression, anxiety, pain, inflammation, anticancer activities, antibacterial actions, mood enhancement, and the ability to sedate.
There is a lot of research on terpenes regarding its capacity to increase the intoxicating effects of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids in hemp or cannabis. This effect is known as the Entourage Effect. It indicates that whenever terpenes are taken along with CBD and THC the benefits of cannabis enhance automatically. More precisely terpenes help to increase the effectiveness of cannabis when used with THC or CBD. For example, if anxiety is relieved by CBD then CBD when combined with terpenes will have even more helpful and deep efficacy. Terpenes can also reduce or enhance the intoxicating effects of THC and CBD in some cases. Marijuana usually contains terpenes known as myrcene. This terpene causes cell membranes to be more permeable (enabling the cannabinoids in hemp to pass to and be used by cells and receptors more readily). Other terpenes also have surprising effects in case of pain or anxiety.
What are the common Terpene compounds found in CBD Hemp Oil?
Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes found across all plant life, including hemp. Research in Switzerland shows that up to 50 percent of terpenes across all plants are composed of myrcene. The aroma of myrcene is fruity and earthly and it tastes like mangoes with some minty taste. Myrcene is plentiful in hops, thyme, mango, and lemongrass. It has a lot of therapeutic properties, being known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-analgesic properties. Myrcene plays a vital role in CBD hemp oil’s anti-inflammatory activities. Different studies have shown that injections of myrcene have relieved pain in the modulation of the central nervous system and peripheral analgesia. It is also capable of enhancing sleep and helping to reduce tension in the muscles. As you can tell this terpene works amazingly with cannabidiol, helping to operate in synergy with CBD to bring enhanced levels of relief to the body.
Pinene is the most used terpene in medicine and it has two major types – one is alpha, and the other is beta. Alpha-Pinene is found in pine trees and can generate the plant’s signature scents. It’s also a compound found fairly frequently in cannabis. It also has a lot of therapeutic properties. Studies showed that Pinene can mitigate MRSA infections in some individuals. Other research has shown that Pinene also has potent antimicrobial properties. It is found that Pinene is highly effective in treating viral and bacterial infections. Pinene is used in medical settings as an anti-inflammatory drug in different medicines to relieve chronic muscle pain. It also treats patients who have asthma.
Caryophyllene is produced in different plants like cloves, black pepper, lavender, Thai basils, and cinnamon leaves, but can also be found in CBD hemp oil. It has a woody, peppery and spicy aroma. Some researchers have shown that beta-caryophyllene is an excellent therapeutic compound to stop nephrotoxicity that is caused by some pharmaceutical drugs. Caryophyllene serves as an anti-inflammatory, and nociceptive, and antioxidant to help manage different diseases. It is among the best terpenes that are used in different medicine to relieve pain and inflammation, which is great as it can be found in hemp.
Limonene is another commonly used terpene found in different plants such as cannabis. This terpene has a sweet and fresh aroma with a twist of citrus scent. Limonene has relaxing and sedative effects and is also capable of having antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Limonene just like myrcene helps you to get rid of insomnia and get back to sleep. Limonene is also a lipid-lowering terpene that helps to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It also helps in preventing the formation of fats and insulin resistance in the body. Limonene is good at absorbing chemicals and other terpenes into the skin.
Linalool is used in aromatherapy for many years, it is known for giving a particular scent to lavender. Linalool is also found in cannabis. The flavour of Linalool is lemony with some tastes of lavender, coriander, and rose. Linalool is a type of terpene that is responsible for many effects and is used for relieving stress. Some studies have shown that Linalool has anti-stress effects. It helps in normalizing the levels of stress. It also helps in reducing the stress both in genes and blood profiles making a healthier immune system that will be prepared in fighting different diseases and infections.
Humulene is another type of terpene that is responsible for different flavors and bouquets of popular products and herbs, as well as cannabis. Humulene gives beer its taste and aroma that is produced in the hop plant. Humulene has anti-inflammatory qualities. It’s known to be nearly as effective as a steroidal drug dexamethasone. When Humulene works with beta-caryophyllene which lifts the anti-inflammatory properties of Humulene works more than normal. It is also observed that Humulene kills S.aureus bacteria, lowers cholesterol levels, and reduces the risk of cardiac problems.
Different research bodies have shown that camphene can reduce both triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the blood, these two are mainly responsible for heart diseases including heart attacks and strokes. Studies also result that camphene can also be effective in lowering the lipid profiles, but this may need further evaluation in clinical trials. Camphene is also a good anti-inflammatory terpene that is proven by a study in which the camphene is used as an alternative to lipid-lowering pharmaceutical agents that are responsible for causing liver problems, intestinal damage, and muscle inflammation.
Conclusion on Terpenes in CBD Oil
There is a lot of evidence that suggests the terpenes in hemp and cannabis deliver great health effects to the body and brain through both the entourage effect, enhancing the existing efficacy of CBD, CBG and other cannabinoids, as well as being highly effective compounds for health as standalone chemicals. These compounds are being more understood over time, but its known they are prominent in CBD hemp oil. There is also plenty of research that backs the fact that the terpenes in cannabis can help with inflammation, pain, anxiety and avoiding the use of pharmaceuticals to ensure the liver and kidneys remain healthy. Under the regulated standards of production, cannabis science is progressing in the medical sector. Moreover, future research will optimize the production of strain-specific of hemp for terpene content. Cannabis, cannabinoids, and other vital phytochemicals enriched in the body through terpenes through the entourage effect which is yet another reason to consider and take in terpenes.