Scientists have discovered over 400 unique terpenes in hemp through bioanalysis. Terpenes are natural scent compounds that hemp produces. This pheromone chemical from plants can be found in many other plants like lavender and lemons. Most terpenes in hemp offer no benefit. However, a handful are highly beneficial and therapeutic. The most important terpenes from hemp are myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene, linalool, pinene, humulene and camphene. They have a variety of important health effects. Some of these include the ability to lower inflammation, mitigate anxiety, help with stress, aid with sleep, boost immunity and provide antioxidative effects that prevent cell damage. Let’s explore the top terpenes that can be found in CBD oil, how you can benefit from them and why they matter.
Terpenes are scent chemicals that are naturally produced in hemp or cannabis sativa. Their main purpose in the plant is to defend it from infections from bacteria, fungi or other microbes, as well as ward off insects. When consumed by humans, however, they have many useful properties. For example, some terpenes can help improve immunity and fight infection – just as their application in plants would suggest. Most are antioxidative like many phytocompounds or nutrients from plants. This means they help protect cells from oxidative stress. Oxidation damages cells and reduces their function over time. It accelerates aging, causes cancer and contributes to inflammation. Terpenes help to stop and reverse this process, aiding the cells in recovering from damage. They’re found in many plants other than cannabis, including tea trees, lavender, lemons and many flowers. Most aromatherapy products contain terpenes in different quantities. Some terpenes are also thought to contribute to the complex gut microbiome and improve our gut flora. It may help explain why plant based foods are so effective in building our gut health.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a therapeutic product that is created when the oil from cannabis sativa is extracted and refined. It contains the compound CBD or cannabidiol which is highly anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic or anxiety-reducing, helps with stress and promotes better sleep. It does this by acting on the endocannabinoid system. This is a complex network of receptors that can be located throughout the body from the brain and CNS to skin and gut, which responds to cannabinoids. CBD binds to receptors of this system in the body causing endocannabinoids like 2-AG and anandamide to be created. These are powerful in promoting wellbeing, calmness and stress alleviation.
How Do I Get Terpenes?
There is a huge range of benefits you can obtain by getting terpenes in your CBD product. To benefit from them, you’ll need to choose a product type which doesn’t strip them out during refinement. Isolate CBD products are highly refined to concentrate the amount of CBD in them. This eliminates many of the useful plant nutrients that can be found in hemp from this extract, including terpenes. As such, if you’re seeking to benefit from terpenes – don’t opt for isolate CBD products. You’ll need to seek full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil which contains terpenes. These types of oil undergo much less refinement to retain greater quantities of hemp plant matter and raw phytocompounds that have anti-inflammatory benefits. The other major advantage they have is the ‘entourage effect’, where terpenes improve the strength and effects of cannabinoids like CBD. This effect can’t be achieved with isolated CBD oil.
To recap – a key consideration when choosing a CBD oil is its terpene content. Not all types contain terpenes. Full-spectrum is generally the best choice if you’re looking for terpenes that synergise with cannabinoids like CBD to boost their effect.
Certificates of Analysis
While lab reports for CBD products will list cannabinoids and their concentrations in a CBD product, they usually won’t contain details on the quantities and profile of terpenes it contains. To know this you may need to contact the seller directly. It is generally safe to assume that full-spectrum CBD oil will contain terpenes. Particularly if it still contains raw plant matter from hemp. You should see this in your vial and it will appear as green matter. Broad-spectrum CBD products are more refined than full-spectrum so may contain lower terpene content, but should still contain some levels of the nutrient.
Top Terpenes in Cannabis
As mentioned, there are a huge variety of terpenes found in hemp, but only some are useful. The most useful terpenes with therapeutic properties include myrcene, limonene, camphene, humulene, caryophyllene, linalool and pinene. Their effects range from being anti-inflammatory and antioxidative, offering metabolic and longevity benefits, helping with anxiety, lowering stress, offering antidepressant qualities, plus even killing microbes and viruses. Let’s take a look at the top terpenes from cannabis and their therapeutic effects, uses and benefits.
Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes found across all plant life, including cannabis. Typically it makes up around 50 per cent of the terpene concentration in the plant. The aroma of myrcene is fruity and earthly. It has a range of health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties, analgesic effects, sleep-promoting capacities and the ability to suppress anxiety (anxiolytic). A broad review of the clinical research into Myrcene’s therapeutic applications concluded it is highly beneficial in supporting many different health outcomes while being non-addictive, non-toxic and synergistic with many of hemp’s phytocompounds like flavonoids.
Much of CBD oil’s anti-inflammatory properties are due to myrcene. Rodent models have shown that injections of myrcene have relieved sensations of pain and provided analgesia (pain relief) within the central nervous system. Myrcene is also capable of enhancing sleep and helping to reduce inflammation. Other animal studies have found that myrcene reduced cytokine production which carried anti-inflammatory benefits. Cytokines are proteins that cause inflammation. They’re produced by the immune system naturally, but excessive cytokine levels can degrade cell health through too much inflammation. In addition, myrcene has been shown to display antimicrobial and antioxidative effects. In summation – it’s a powerful terpene with a broad spectrum of health benefits.
Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in cannabis, characterized by its strong citrus aroma. It is also found in the peels of citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes. Limonene is believed to have potential anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and immune-boosting properties. Some studies suggest that it may also aid in digestion and help with weight loss. Like myrcene, it has antimicrobial properties and has been shown to kill certain fungi and viruses in-vitro. Terpenes like limonene have many anxiolytic and antidepressant qualities that are similar to CBD. Like CBD, they may also modulate cannabinoid receptors to enable these properties, providing calmness and stress relief.
The aroma of pinene is sweet, citrus-like and strong. It is found in sage, pine and similar alpine plants. It has benefits for memory, learning and focus. There are two types of pinene – alpha and beta. Alpha-pinene is found in cannabis and full-spectrum CBD oil. It is been shown to help fight microbes like viruses, having antimicrobial properties. For example, it has been used in studies to kill MRSA infections in subjects successfully. More research is now being targeted towards understanding pinene and its mechanisms of action. It may eventually be developed into natural antiviral medications or anti-inflammatories.
The scent of caryophyllene is earthy, peppery and spicy. It’s found in many strong-scented plants like black pepper, cloves and cinnamon. Caryophyllene has properties that make it useful in promoting sleep, recovery, improving mood and relieving pain. It also can modulate cannabinoid receptors like several other terpenes. This enables it to provide its analgesic effects, helping to lower the perception of pain similarly to cannabinoids like CBD or THC. Like pinene, it comes in alpha and beta types. Beta-Caryophyllene is strongly antioxidative and has metabolic benefits. It helps in lowering inflammation, even reducing issues like neuroinflammation. This makes it excellent in preventing neurodegeneration that occurs from inflammatory conditions like Alzheimer’s. Caryophyllene is among the best terpenes to relieve pain and inflammation. This is great as it can be found in abundance in full-spectrum CBD oil.
Linalool is a terpene that has been used in aromatherapy for many years. It is known for providing the unique scent of lavender. Linalool is also found in cannabis. The flavour of Linalool is lemony with some elements of coriander and rose. It has powerful effects in supporting sleep, promoting relaxation and is used for relieving anxiety plus stress. It has anxiolytic properties just like CBD and may act similarly on CB1 receptors in the brain to achieve this. It helps in normalizing stress levels and downregulating sympathetic nervous system activity. It also helps in bolstering a healthier immune system that will be better prepared in fighting infections. Some studies have shown linalool has antidepressant qualities that are similar to compounds like benzodiazepine. It may well be developed into medications targeted at alleviating anxiety and depression in the future.
Humulene is another terpene that has a woody, floral scent. It is found in hops and some other types of buds or flowers. Humulene gives beer its taste and aroma that is produced in the hop plant. It has anti-inflammatory qualities as well as the ability to lower appetite. Humulene synergises with beta-caryophyllene which amplifies the anti-inflammatory properties of both terpenes and improves their efficacy. Humulene can also kill bacteria and some microbes. It’s been observed to kill S. Aureus bacteria in tests which were done in-vitro. It may also have properties that enable it to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiac problems.
Different research studies have shown that camphene can reduce arterial plaque and cholesterol levels. In other words, it can assist in reducing the likelihood of heart disease including heart attacks and strokes. Studies also show that camphene can also be effective in improving blood lipid profiles, but this may need further evaluation in clinical trials. Camphene is also anti-inflammatory as a phytonutrient.
Just like cannabinoids such as CBD, terpenes offer a range of helpful therapeutic effects themselves. While they are naturally produced scent chemicals from plants like cannabis, they offer much more than nice smells or flavours. Terpenes are bioactive and can both interact with the endocannabinoid system or have metabolic interactions. They’re able to provide benefits like lowering stress, helping with sleep, reducing anxiety or depression, alleviating pain, assisting with appetite reduction and even helping to fight infections like viruses. More research is being conducted into their potential as natural medications over time. But you can benefit from them today. Simply use CBD products that are from full or broad-spectrum formulations which will contain phytocompounds such as terpenes. Isolate CBD products are refined to eliminate them so don’t offer the same characteristics. Terpenes are also synergistic with cannabinoids like CBD which should be a consideration for your purchase.