Terpenes in CBD Oil: Benefits, Uses and How They Work

Terpenes in CBD Oil Benefits

Some types of CBD oil in Australia contain terpenes, naturally occurring botanical compounds from hemp. Terpenes infuse the hemp plant with its hallmark scent and taste. Terpenes are notable when choosing CBD oil for several reasons.

CBD Oil Terpenes

Some terpenes have valuable therapeutic effects. For instance, myrcene can reduce inflammation, calm anxiety, and block pain. 

While terpenes are potent for well-being on their own, there’s an even more significant reason to obtain them in your CBD product.

Assortment of cannabis terpenes

When consumed with CBD or other cannabinoids, terpenes work synergistically with them.

They can promote and enhance CBD’s effects across the body. Scientists seeking to understand the mechanisms involved are gaining increasing interest in these exciting effects.

Terpene rich CBD oil Australia

But consumers can already take advantage of the health-promoting powers of terpenes today. Let’s look at the benefits of terpenes, how they work, and potential side effects.

What Are Terpenes in CBD Oil?

Close up of a cannabis terpene

Many plants produce aromatic, volatile scent chemicals called terpenes. Cannabis sativa is one such plant. It contains glands that secrete terpenes. The same glands produce cannabinoids such as CBD or THC. In biology, terpenes are theorised to play a defensive role in a plant’s physiology. They are designed to ward off pests or harmful animals through the power of smell. However, they are likely to help signal other plants or insects. For example, the smells produced by plants during certain seasons are a chemical signal to insects that a plant is ready for pollination.

Cannabis secreting terpenes

Plants like cannabis produce a vast variety and number of terpenes. However, not all are beneficial to humans. More than 100 unique terpene chemicals have been isolated from cannabis to date. The composition and types of these terpenes in a particular plant are referred to as its ‘terpene profile’. Distinct terpene profiles are a differentiator between different strains of cannabis. They’re the main reason different strains have unique aromas, flavours and tastes.

Man with full-spectrum CBD oil in Australia

The importance of terpenes when choosing a CBD or cannabis product may be more significant than initially thought. A product’s terpene profile likely contributes a substantial proportion of its potential health benefits. This is due to the cocktail of helpful therapeutic effects that terpenes deliver in combination with cannabinoids throughout the endocannabinoid system. Let’s take a look at how this works.

How Do Terpenes Work?

Woman considering CBD oil terpenes

Similarly to cannabinoids like CBD, terpenes work through multiple metabolic pathways in the body. Terpenes are considered ‘multi-target’ bioactive compounds that interact with various receptor types in the body and brain. 

Endocannabinoid System

cannabis oil with terpenes

In the endocannabinoid system, cannabis terpenes interact primarily with CB2 cannabinoid receptor types found in the immune system and peripheral tissue. For example, the beta-caryophyllene activates these receptors to alter immune function, with potent anti-inflammatory effects. The ability of terpenes to act as immunomodulators and alter immune signalling contributes to their powers to reduce pain and strengthen immune function.

Cannabis terpene oils in jars

Like CBD, terpenes can block the degradation of endocannabinoids in the body. They function similarly, preventing the fatty acid amide hydrolase enzyme from clearing endocannabinoids like anandamide. This extends the half-life of endocannabinoids in the body, elevating their overall therapeutic effects. Promoting the presence of helpful anti-inflammatory and analgesic endocannabinoids is one way in which terpenes amplify the overall health effects of cannabinoids.

Brain and Body Receptors

Woman holding CBD oil

Some terpenes can work with particular brain receptors, altering the transmission and signalling of specific neurotransmitters. Linalool is well-known for the soothing, mentally calming sensations it causes. But why does this occur? The answer lies in its ability to modulate the GABA neurotransmitter receptors. GABA is an ‘inhibitory’ brain chemical that calms the mind when stimulated. As such, consuming CBD oil with linalool terpenes in it has added potency for anxiety relief and sleep. 

Similarly, certain terpenes can work on the brain’s serotonin receptors. Limonene is one such terpene. By modulating serotonin, they possess powerful calming anxiolytic effects. Activating these serotonin pathways also benefits mood regulation and functions in similar ways to antidepressants.

Limonene terpene with lemons

Adenosine receptor activity by other terpenes like Pinene equally has stress-alleviating, mood-enhancing outcomes. Much like cannabinoids, terpenes work across the brain in complex, interrelated ways. Their multi-target effects with many brain receptors work to improve mental state and help normalise neurotransmitter levels holistically.

Drops of liquid terpenes

Terpenes play a significant role in immunity within the body. Many have excellent antimicrobial and antiviral effects. Myrcene and Pinene can kill detrimental microbes or ‘pathogens’, helping the body defend itself from infection. More research has targeted these terpenes and their potential applications as novel antiviral remedies in recent years. For instance, both terpenes and cannabinoids have been clinically explored for their ability to combat the COVID-19 virus.

cannabis terpenes up close

While they help the body fight diseases, terpenes are also known to help combat pain. Myrcene is an excellent example of an analgesic terpene. It works similarly to cannabinoids like CBD or THC in blocking pain signalling. Specifically, myrcene can alter how pain signals are transmitted in the body through TRPV1 pain receptor activation.

Entourage Effect

Entourage effect from cannabis terpenes

Research has shown that the body reacts differently to terpenes and cannabinoids when consumed together. The theory is that these compounds are more effective for therapeutic purposes when combined due to their interrelated effects and interactions. In other words, terpenes are thought to function ‘synergistically’ or in conjunction with cannabinoids and vice versa, compounding their benefits.

Bottle of cannabis oil with terpenes

One way this occurs is through the ability of terpenes to improve cannabinoid receptor permeability. When this happens, cannabinoids are more readily absorbed by the body. Fewer molecules are wasted, and the endocannabinoid system is better activated. Terpenes also increase the bioavailability of cannabinoids by helping to transport them to cannabinoid receptor sites. Again, this reduces the incidences of cannabinoids being degraded or lost when transiting from the skin or gut to the endocannabinoid system.

zesty limonene terpenes

Some terpenes like limonene have demonstrated capacities in increasing the blood-brain barrier absorption of cannabinoids. It works to shuttle cannabinoids to brain receptors and amplify their uptake. Beyond shuttling cannabinoids to the body’s receptors, terpenes can stimulate the endocannabinoid system. Many bind with the same receptor sites as cannabinoids. It explains why the effects of particular terpenes are so similar to those of CBD, CBG or other cannabinoids.

Health Benefits of Terpenes

Woman with terpene-rich CBD product

As described, terpenes have a vast range of health benefits.

  • Pain relief: several terpenes are known to help with pain management by reducing nerve pain sensations. An example is beta-caryophyllene. This terpene blocks pain by activating CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. Linalool is another terpene that has analgesic (pain-alleviating) abilities. It’s being studied as an alternative to painkillers like opioids. Terpenes are non-addictive, like CBD, making them more safe for pain reduction compared to opiate painkillers. Myrcene also helps reduce aches and pains by modulating pain receptors in the brain. This changes how pain is processed to minimise its impact.
  • Reduced inflammation: Terpenes like myrcene are helpful for combatting chronic inflammation in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and colitis. Their anti-inflammatory powers are great for calming irritation, redness, and excessive inflammation. Similarly, Pinene possesses anti-inflammatory effects that can help manage conditions like Crohn’s disease, protecting the gut from inflammatory symptoms.
Selection of natural terpenes
  • Neuroprotection: Recent studies have demonstrated that linalool has neuroprotective properties that can help slow the progression of degenerative neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Humulene, another terpene, can curb appetite, making it a potential asset in weight management. Both terpenes work in the brain’s receptors to normalise neurotransmitter function and brain regulation. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that suggests that beta-caryophyllene may be a component of addiction treatment therapies, particularly in reducing alcohol consumption. 
  • Antimicrobial benefits: Limonene, a zesty-smelling cannabis terpene, is known for its potent antibacterial properties. Due to its ability to kill bacteria, it’s now used to treat skin conditions like acne and disinfectant. Similarly, Pinene has antibacterial effects, which makes it an effective natural remedy for fighting infections and promoting overall health. Many terpenes are valuable for warding off viruses, bacteria, microbes and pathogens. They support the immune system in identifying and killing these invaders.
  • Gut health promotion: Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene that helps mitigate gastric reflux and digestive issues. It stimulates the production of gastric acids, which are essential for digestion and aid in treating various gastrointestinal disorders. Additionally, beta-caryophyllene interacts with the CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the gut’s lining. This results in anti-inflammatory effects for the intestines, reinforcing gut health. This may help reduce the risk of stomach ulcers, IBS, and other gut irritation.

Now that you understand how terpenes work and their health benefits, let’s examine how to obtain them when buying CBD oil in Australia.

Which CBD Oils Contain Terpenes?

CBD products in Australia

When choosing and buying CBD oil in Australia, it’s essential to remember that not every oil will contain terpenes. Frustratingly, many CBD products that do have them often need a better terpene profile or accurate labelling of their terpene concentrations.

Terpenes are only found in full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil types. CBD products are isolated and removed during production. Additionally, processing and refinement are applied to isolate CBD oil and break down terpenes. Because they’re volatile compounds, they quickly decay under heat or pressure. Production methods for full—and broad-spectrum CBD oil are more complicated, using delicate techniques to preserve terpenes in the extract.

CBD product in a forest

To resolve these problems with CBD isolate oils, some providers now re-infuse terpenes into their isolate formulations. Doing so enables users of CBD isolate oil to benefit from terpenes while still avoiding psychoactive cannabinoids like THC. These products are called ‘terp-solates’ and are often also called ‘terpene-enriched’ CBD isolates. Reincorporating terpenes into these products can provide the rich therapeutic benefits of the entourage effect similar to full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil.

CBD drops with terpenes

The best way to obtain terpenes in your CBD oil is by opting for full or broad-spectrum formulated products. You can verify their terpene content by seeking out a laboratory analysis. A certificate of analysis from a third-party lab doesn’t just provide information on a product’s cannabinoid content. It also specifies the terpenes it contains, as well as their concentrations. Obtaining this is the most straightforward way to confirm whether your CBD oil has terpenes in it, plus what the profile of these terpenes looks like. CBD isolate oils should have no terpene content listed on their analysis certificates.

Do You Need Terpenes in Your CBD Oil?

Woman considering CBD oil terpenes

You don’t necessarily need to obtain a CBD oil containing terpenes. This decision depends on your overall aim for using this product. However, it’s certainly worth considering when choosing CBD Oil in Australia.

A significant benefit they unlock is reducing the overall amounts of CBD oil you need to buy and use. Because terpenes increase the effects and potency of CBD, you won’t need the same dosage quantities to achieve strong results. Because terpenes increase the bioavailability and absorption of CBD, you can dose much less CBD oil overall. It’s a more efficient way to consume and use the product. This can help you save money over time. 

Jars of various botanical terpene plants

But more importantly, getting terpenes in your CBD oil allows you to target relief from specific conditions. For example, you might choose an anxiolytic terpene like linalool to help with stress relief or anxiety management. Similarly, if you want better mood or antidepressant effects, pursuing CBD oil with limonene could be helpful. CBD oil may be more effective at targeting symptoms of particular conditions if it contains specific terpenes. 

Side Effects and Risks

Terpenes being studied for risks

Terpenes are generally safe for consumption. However, some people can be allergic to or intolerant of them. This is something to keep in mind when using CBD oil. The risks of allergies to terpenes are low. 

However, they can be experienced when taking full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil. Some people do experience adverse reactions to terpenes. These can include allergy symptoms, gut irritation, redness, or feelings of illness. Like CBD, terpenes can affect liver enzymes. It’s important not to consume them with medicines you might already take. Doing so could worsen the risk of reacting.

Cannabis trichomes and terpene chemicals

Predicting whether you’re allergic to terpenes is difficult. Some people may only be tolerant of particular individual terpenes. Consuming many in combination could worsen the risks of intolerances but make it hard to diagnose which terpene is the source of problems. You may need to experiment with different terpenes and terpene combinations in your CBD oil to discover the right mix. Testing out differing variations helps you to identify problem terpenes and avoid them. Another alternative is simply avoiding them altogether and using CBD isolate oils.


CBD oil outdoors

There’s little question on whether you should obtain terpenes in your CBD oil. They have many powerful health benefits you don’t want to miss. Terpenes from cannabis are natural scent chemicals that can calm stress and anxiety, block pain, reduce inflammation, provide neuroprotection and protect the gut. They’re so effective that researchers are investigating their potential as antiviral remedies and for natural novel antidepressants.

When selecting CBD oil, it is crucial to consider the entourage effect of terpenes. This mechanism enables terpenes to boost the effects of CBD and other cannabinoids. To obtain it, you’ll need to opt for full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil in Australia. Verifying terpene content and concentrations is also advisable. This can be done by getting a lab report for your CBD oil product while shopping in Australia. As clinical studies progress, our understanding of terpenes will deepen. More of their benefits and health applications will be spotlighted over time, unlocking more value for consumers and society.


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