Terpenes: Why Add Them to CBD Oil?

Terpenes: Why Add Them to CBD Oil?

Terpenes are actually a key ingredient in CBD oils. You might have never heard of them, but it is almost certain that you’re getting some terpenes every time you take a dose of CBD oil. Unless you buy a CBD isolate, that is.

Whenever you buy a broad-spectrum or a full-spectrum CBD product – which many people think is better than an isolate, by the way – then you will be getting a healthy dose of terpenes with your purchase. But what exactly are terpenes? Unless you happen to be a botanist or a chemist, you probably won’t know what terpenes are. In actual fact, they are essential for your CBD product.

Today, we will be talking about terpenes and the vital role they play in CBD products. You’ll be surprised to know just how important they are on a therapeutic, functional level!

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes, sometimes called terpenoids, are natural molecules found in many plants. They occur in a number of different plant species, not just cannabis and hemp. Terpenes are aromatic and give off a scent; although you may not know it, you will already be familiar with a number of terpenes.

For example, linalool is a common terpene found in lavender. The familiar smell of lavender is created by this terpene. Another common one is pinene, found in – you guessed it – pine needles.

Around 200 terpenes have been discovered in cannabis, differing between strains. Industrial hemp has some terpenes of its own, although only a few are found in the necessary quantities to make their presence noteworthy. Sometimes, extra terpenes are added to CBD oils after being extracted from other plants.

Terpenes are produced in plants depending on external factors such as humidity, light intensity, and temperature. This is why different plants have different terpenes – it all depends on their climate.

This is because terpenes, like cannabinoids, have their own effects on the body. In fact, they are thought to have an impact on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), just like cannabinoids. In case you are unaware, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body; it controls all manner of functions from sleep and appetite to mood and immune system response. CBD is able to positively influence the ECS, and terpenes could also help it to function, too.

This is part of what makes terpenes so important: They contribute to the entourage effect.

Full-Spectrum CBD, Terpenes, and the Entourage Effect

Studies on cannabinoids have revealed a phenomenon called the ‘entourage effect.’ It is this process which has led people to believe that full-spectrum products are better than CBD isolates when it comes to your general health.

The entourage effect refers to the idea that cannabinoids and terpenes work together synergistically. In other words, they enhance each other’s effects. While using CBD alone can have a positive influence on your body, using multiple cannabinoids is thought to have a better effect, since all the cannabinoids can work together.

A 2011 study by Dr. Ethan Russo looked at the entourage effect in detail, seemingly confirming the existence of this process. Russo’s study also featured the terpenes limonene, myrcene, alpha-pinene, linalool and beta-caryophyllene – all common terpenoids found in cannabis.

Since these terpenes also have the ability to trigger endocannabinoid receptors, it is thought that an entourage effect that uses terpenes could be altogether stronger.

Terpenes in CBD Oil: Which Ones Are Normally Used?

Since terpenes appear to be so key to the entourage effect, manufacturers usually leave them in the final product. Of course, terpenes are generally recognized as being safe for human consumption, so there’s no need to worry. In fact, terpenes are present in a lot of foods that we already eat.

There are some terpenes that you are much more likely to come across in CBD products. Let’s take a look…


  • Pinene: Most commonly found in pine, this terpene smells just like pine needles cracking underfoot in the forest. In terms of its effects, pinene is thought to be a bronchodilator (it opens the airways) and it also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Linalool: Linalool has a floral scent that you will be familiar with from lavender. It is often inserted into commercial products because of its effects. Linalool is a potent soporific, which is why it is often used in sleep aids. Furthermore, it is thought to be a good natural antidepressant and anxiolytic.
  • Myrcene: The smallest terpene, myrcene packs a punch when it comes to cannabis. It is found in abundance in cannabis plants, and the smell of cannabis is largely down to this terpenoid. It is also found commonly in hops and lemongrass. Myrcene is known to produce analgesic, antibacterial, and antispasmodic effects.
  • Limonene: From the name of this terpene, you might be able to guess where it is found: Lemons! Common in citrus fruits, limonene can boost the absorption rate of other terpenes through the skin and mucous membrane, making it an important player in the entourage effect. Furthermore, it has antidepressant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Caryophyllene: Able to interact directly with the CB2 receptor in the ECS, caryophyllene is also key in the entourage effect. With spicy notes to its smell, this terpene has analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Humulene: Like myrcene, humulene enforces the ‘hoppy’ aroma of cannabis. It is thought to suppress appetite as well as provide anti-inflammatory effects.

These are only a few of the terpenes you may encounter in your CBD oil. There are many more terpenes that you may come across, all with different effects.

Depending on what kind of effects you are looking for in your CBD, different terpenes may be able to help you get there. If you are using CBD as a sleep aid, for example, using a product with additional linalool could help you achieve these effects.

Final Thoughts on Terpenes and CBD Oil

So there you have it. Terpenes are a naturally occurring part of the cannabis plant, and in fact most plants for that matter.

If you were leaning toward a CBD isolate, you might want to think twice! Since heightened numbers of cannabinoids and terpenes can trigger the entourage effect, it’s a good idea to use a full-spectrum product that can improve your general health.

While terpenes are known for their lovely scents and flavors, their contribution to the health-boosting effects of CBD cannot be ignored. Look for a CBD oil containing terpenes if you want to try and magnify the effects of your favorite food supplement.

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