Any time you catch a whiff of fresh lilacs or take in the scent of an orange peel, you have terpenes to thank for the sensory experience. Terpenes are essentially aromatic compounds that give a plant its unique, characteristic fragrance. But a plant doesn’t produce terpenes simply to provide a nice fragrance; they actually help to protect and propagate growth. It’s also said that certain kinds of terpenes can have beneficial effects on humans.
In recent history, we’ve heard a lot of discussion around the terpenes found in hemp plants (cannabis-family). Just like other plants that produce these compounds, it gives hemp its distinctive scent. But terpenes do seem to present themselves at higher concentrations in the hemp plant.
Before we learn more about how terpenes affect CBD, let’s talk about the different ways this compound presents itself within the plant world.
Types of Terpenes
There are roughly 20,000 different types of terpenes in existence. The hemp plant boasts more than 100 alone. Some terpenes found in the hemp plant are actually quite common in other types of plants too. Let’s take a look at a handful of the most well-known terpenes found in hemp and other plant life.
Just as the name suggests, limonene carries a citrusy smell. It’s the terpene that gives oranges, grapefruits, and limes their scent. It can also be found in juniper.
Potential therapeutic uses: Boosts immune system, alleviates heartburn, reduces inflammation
Characterized by its bright, earthy scent, pinene can be found in pine needles and a range of kitchen herbs such as basil, rosemary, and parsley. It’s one of the most abundant kinds of terpenes. Studies show that the presence of pinene in the air can have a soothing effect on those walking through a fragrant pine forest.
Potential therapeutic uses: Calms stress, reduces inflammation and pain
Linalool is most notably found in lavender but it’s also present in bergamot, rose, and jasmine. You’ll often find this compound in soaps and other fragrant body products. Beyond its scent, linalool is noteworthy for its calming properties and ability to inhibit fungal infections.
Potential therapeutic uses: Calms stress, eases insomnia, reduces inflammation
Beer enthusiasts can thank this terpene for its role in giving hops their kick. Humulene can also be found in ginseng, sage, basil, and black pepper. This “hoppy” terpene is not only responsible for giving your favorite beer its flavor, but it’s also been noted to have anti-tumor properties.
Potential therapeutic uses: Reduces inflammation, eases asthma symptoms
Myrcene is the most abundant terpene found in modern commercial hemp. It can also be found in mangos, lemongrass, and thyme. One study shows that it can reduce oxidative and neuronal damage after a stroke.
Potential therapeutic uses: Antioxidant, reduces symptoms of osteoarthritis, calms stress
Editor’s Disclaimer: We aren’t saying that the terpenes listed above can cure, treat, or reduce ailments by being present in hemp plants. More research must be conducted before any medical statements surrounding CBD and hemp can be made.
Terpenes in Hemp and CBD
With over 100 terpenes present in the hemp plant, they play an important role in protecting the plant itself and cultivating different benefits once harvested. They serve to protect a plant from pests, draw in pollinators, and combat infectious germs. Terpene profiles from plant to plant will also give off a distinct aroma. Climate, weather, soil type, and a host of other factors can change how terpenes present themselves in a given plant.
How Do Terpenes Affect People?
You might hear terpenes and the term terpenoids used interchangeably. Although similar, they aren’t actually one and the same. As hemp dries and cures, terpenes will oxidize. That’s when they transform into terpenoids. These are the compounds that change the effects of hemp products.
The various ways terpenoids express in a hemp plant will give its flowers a unique scent. This is where different strains come into play. Some plants might lean towards a more fruity note while another might have more of a “hoppy” aroma. Depending on which terpenoids are present once the plant is cured, you might see different potential benefits associated with that strain.
Terpenes and the Entourage Effect
Pure CBD and THC alone hold less potential benefits than products that include other cannabinoids and terpenes. This is due to a phenomenon called the entourage effect. Essentially, all the naturally occurring plant compounds work together to create the optimal experience for the person using the hemp-derived product.
It’s been observed that CBD products containing terpenes and other cannabinoids change the way our bodies interact with CBD. A review in Frontiers in Neurology concluded that patients with epilepsy needed a smaller dose when taking “CBD-rich” extracts. They reported patients needed a higher dose of pure CBD to yield the same effect.
How to Benefit From Terpenes
There are many ways to enjoy the potential benefits of terpenes. Here are a handful of ways you may be able to incorporate them into your life.
Many people swear by the therapeutic benefits of the smell alone of certain terpenes. Essential oils can contain terpenes which you can take advantage of through aromatherapy. Lavender, which contains linalool, is often diffused to promote a sense of relaxation.
Although a lot of research needs to be done still, there’s preliminary evidence that when isolated, terpenes could be a viable alternative to traditional medicine. For example, one study observed that limonene has demonstrated promising potential in combating a number of diseases.
Many CBD products contain terpenoids. When you use these products properly, you may be able to experience the entourage effect. All the plant compounds in the product will work in harmony to help you reach homeostasis.
If you’re ready to try CBD, Peace River CBD is happy to help! Browse our products today!