A large stalk and leaves of hemp next to a bright yellow lemon

CBD Terpenes: What are They and Why They Are Important

Without a doubt, when we talk about the hemp plant, most of us focus on CBD, which is cannabidiol, the dominant compound that belongs to a class known as cannabinoids. There’s good justification for cannabidiol’s enormous popularity, as studies have found it to have the potential to be extraordinarily useful. But it’s important to remember that the hemp plant’s flowering buds naturally possess well over a hundred individual compounds that each have fascinating properties in addition to cannabidiol. You may have heard people talking about terpenes more and more lately.

Terpenes are another class of chemical compounds in hemp that have a lot to do with the plant’s ultimate effects on the human system. In fact, you may be taking terpenes daily without even realizing it if you are a hemp user. Terpenes may seem intimidating to someone who is new to CBD, but luckily, they are actually very prevalent compounds that we all consume regularly, whether we know it or not. Also, it’s worthwhile to read up on them, as they can play an enormous role in how successful our daily hemp routine actually is. By prioritizing a daily dose of terpenes, we may be able to reach our wellness goals faster and more effectively. As you’ll see, terpenes are extraordinarily useful, and have been used by societies for thousands of years.

Why It’s Worth it to Pay Attention to Other Compounds in the Hemp Plant

Hemp has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and its usage dates back long before we had the advanced extraction methods we do today. Up until quite recently, the only way to experience the hemp plant was to use the raw hemp buds, which were most often smoked. What this means is that the properties of hemp that have been understood as highly useful for centuries don’t just come from cannabidiol, but a rich variety of individual compounds working together synergistically to provide the body with an abundance of unique effects. That doesn’t mean that CBD isn’t extremely useful all on its own and in isolated form. The bottom line is that if you’re not checking out cannabinoids, terpenes, and other hemp-derived compounds, you may be missing out. Besides the fact that all of these compounds work together synergistically to boost each other’s effectiveness, each individual compound has something special to offer to the human body.

What are Terpenes?

The hemp plant is known for its cannabinoids, which are a trademark of the cannabis genus to which both hemp and marijuana belong. Cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, CBG, and of course, THC, are unique in that they are the only compounds capable of regulating bodily processes via the endocannabinoid system, which is present in every mammal. Terpenes are a second class of compounds that are equally prevalent in cannabis. In fact, terpenes exist in every plant in mother nature. They are responsible for the flavor, aroma, and color of a plant, and contain properties that serve to protect the plant from disease and pests, being self-preserving in nature. When terpenes are extracted from the plant, they can be useful to humans. The same properties that protect the plant may offer unique benefits to us.
CBD oil dripping into a bottle with a light behind it
For anyone who has ever used an essential oil before, you have been directly benefiting from terpenes. Essential oils contain a unique composition of terpenes present in the plant that was extracted, and the known benefits of essential oils come straight from these compounds. The hemp plant can contain hundreds of individual terpenes. The exact composition of terpenes in a particular hemp plant determines its strain. Strains are individual breeds of hemp that each have their own chemical makeup. For instance, some strains have higher levels of myrcene, a calming terpene, than others. In fact, it’s the myrcene level in a particular strain-type that determines whether it’s an Indica or a Sativa strain. Higher myrcene strains are Indica, which is why they’re known to be more calming, while the other may be more energizing.

What Terpenes are Found in CBD Oil?

Let’s go over some of the more prominent terpenes that can be found in hemp and explain their unique properties.

  • Myrcene: An extremely popular hemp terpene that appears to play a role in mood with potential relaxing effects. This terpene can also be found in lemongrass, basil, and mangoes. Many people seek out high-myrcene strains for these potential euphoric properties.
  • Limonene: Has a bright, citrusy flavor and aroma, which is why many strains of hemp have notes of citrus. It’s a potential mood lifter, offering uplifting properties that can lead to gentle feelings of both euphoria and inner calm.
  • Alpha-Pinene: This terpene is responsible for the pine-like notes of the hemp plant. It may play a role in cognition, enhancing focus and memory. It’s also a powerful antifungal agent.
  • Beta-Caryophyllene: Some hemp strains are known for their peppery, almost spicy aroma, and this comes from beta-caryophyllene.
  • Geraniol: This is another antioxidant that may offer analgesic activity. It has a floral aroma and is also present in geraniums and roses.
  • Eucalyptol: A dominant terpene in eucalyptus that is also prominent in hemp.
  • Linalool: Present in the mint family and prominent specifically in the lavender plant. It is known for its calming effects.
  • Alpha-Humulene: A terpene that’s found in hops, which is why some people swear that certain strains taste like beer. It’s a potential appetite suppressant that may have a positive effect on digestion.

Are Terpenes the Same as Terpenoids?

The basic way to describe the difference between terpenes and terpenoids is to say that terpenoids are made of terpenes that have undergone a chemical reaction with oxygen. So terpenes make terpenoids, but in different arrangements and collections that create each unique terpenoid.

CBD Products with Terpenes

It’s extremely easy to find cannabidiol products that contain a wide-array of terpenes. You’ll want to look for a full-spectrum or broad spectrum hemp product, which determines the type of extract used to create the formula. Full-spectrum hemp extract contains the complete variety of compounds in hemp, including every cannabinoid and terpene. Broad spectrum extract, meanwhile, contains every compound except for THC.
A bottle of CBD oil lying on a light blue background, surrounded by blueberries, currants, and raspberries
Full-spectrum and broad spectrum hemp products are available in every delivery method. CBD oil terpenes are especially popular as this delivery method is user-friendly and easy to dose out. Terpenes are also present in vape oils, gummies, capsules, etc. In fact, some companies enhance CBD products with additional, naturally derived terpenes in order to boost specific plant properties. We said that the terpenes in hemp determine the strain, and so you may find that one strain is more suitable for your goals and needs over another. If this is the case, look for strain-specific CBD products, which you’re more likely to find in the form of vape cartridges and flower.

CBD Terpenes: Use and Dose

The milligram strength of a CBD product doesn’t just refer to the level of cannabinoids. It also refers to the terpenes as well, as it reflects the amount of hemp extract in a product. Therefore, you should take the recommended dosage amount on the packaging to receive an adequate daily amount of terpenes. The higher the milligram strength of the product, the more terpenes as well as cannabinoids you’re taking in per dose.

How Terpenes Contribute to the Entourage Effect

Terpenes mimic cannabinoids, so that they are like a supporting cast for things like CBD, CBG, THC, and other cannabinoids. Terpenes fill out the cast in the entourage effect, working alongside the cannabinoids to boost each other's positive qualities.

Cannabinoids, as we said earlier, work with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This process involves a binding of cannabinoids to cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body, with each receptor being tasked with regulating a specific bodily process when this binding action occurs. Terpenes are different. They don’t bind with any particular area of the body, and don’t correlate to any particular system. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re less impressive than cannabinoids. In fact, terpenes seem to support the capabilities of cannabinoids thanks to synergy. Synergy refers to the unique effects that occur when different plant compounds are administered together. Terpenes seem to enhance the body’s ability to absorb and utilize cannabinoids to their fullest potential. Furthermore, terpenes may offer similar uses as cannabinoids.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, terpenes boast tons of properties that can enhance your daily routine and promote a sense of wellbeing throughout the body and mind. Now that you know how these fascinating compounds work, you can seek out cannabidiol products that incorporate terpenes into their formulas for a better likelihood of reaching your wellness goals. Fortunately, today’s hemp market offers loads of terpene-rich CBD goods that provide you with a diverse array of these unique compounds, which work together to give you a more well-rounded hemp experience.