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CBD Terpenes: What Are They?

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CBD Terpenes: What Are They & How Do They Work?

When it comes to CBD, people tend to have a lot of questions. One of the most frequently-asked questions is “what are CBD terpenes and why do they matter?”

Terpenes are a naturally-occurring organic compound found in a vast array of plants, as well as some insects. They’re most commonly known for their ability to produce scents and flavours—which is why they’re responsible for cannabis’ pungent scent.

However, the primary reason plants develop terpenes is to deter threats from eating them and attract helpful pollinators. Terpenes are by no means unique to cannabis, and they’re also found in an array of fruits, foods, and even perfumes.

Let’s get into some of the facts on terpenes so you can better understand CBD products and their properties.

So, what do terpenes have to do with CBD?

If you’re already a CBD user, you may have already heard of terpenes—but, as it turns out, they might be more beneficial than initially thought. Traditionally speaking, when CBD terpenes are discussed, the main topic of conversation is the flavour profiles they provide. While terpenes are certainly responsible for all of the famous hemp-flavoured E-Liquids such as Lemon Kush, Sour Diesel, Lemon Haze, and so on, they could potentially be much more than a simple flavouring agent. 

The Entourage Effect

When CBD is used alongside other cannabinoids in conjunction with terpenes, we get something called the “Entourage Effect,” which can potentially create a much more powerful and even greater CBD experience. 

We commonly hear CBD isolate users favouring isolate over full-spectrum CBD, as it may provide a quicker or “more powerful” dose of CBD. This impression is due to CBD isolate E-Liquids containing only CBD, which frequently (and understandably) gets translated to a more “straightforward vape” and therefore a quicker effect. Whilst the quicker effect may be true, the absence of the Entourage Effect makes the “more powerful dose” part more complex.

Terpenes on their own aren’t known to be as important as CBD itself, which is, with respect, the star of the show. However, when combined, it may be possible for terpenes to be able to alter and change the effects of the CBD cannabinoid itself, which could greatly increase the potential benefits of CBD. Different terpenes cause different effects, too.

For example, Dr Ethan Russo—an American Neurologist and Pharmacology Researcher—explained in his paper, “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects,” how terpenes “in concentrations above 0.05% are considered of pharmacological interest,” which basically means it’s likely to have medicinal properties.

Further studies suggest that terpenes such as myrcene may have pain relieving effects, linalool can reduce inflammation, and limonene and β-caryophyllene both show anti-tumoral action in preclinical studies. 

How many terpenes are there?

There are more than 20,000 known terpenes, and at least 100 of them are produced by the cannabis plant. Let’s go over a few of these to get you familiar with the commonly known ones and their potential benefits. It’s important to note that the below-mentioned benefits are anecdotal, and more research is needed as the potential effects of each terpene can vary from person to person.

Myrcene:

Myrcene (or β-myrcene) can be commonly found in highly fragrant fruits and plants, such as mangoes, lemongrass, and wild thyme. Measuring by weight, the leaves of wild thyme can contain up to a staggering 40% of myrcene.

Potential benefits:

  • May aid digestion
  • May reduce inflammation
  • May encourage relaxation

Limonene:

Limonene (or d-limonene) is most commonly found in citrus fruits—more specifically, the skin of the fruit. Fruits that contain Limonene range from lemons to limes to oranges. You’ve definitely come across this one before without even realising, as it can be found in all kinds of flavouring agents from foods to drinks and also plenty of cleaning products. Limonene is used to achieve that fresh lemon smell.

Potential benefits:

  • May help reduce stress
  • Possesses anti-inflammatory properties

Linalool:

Linalool (or β-linalool) is found in over 200 species of plants and flowers. You’ll know it from lavender, and it’s likely in your bathroom right now. It’s used as a fragrance in up to 80% of soaps, detergents, and shampoos.

Potential benefits:

  • May help you sleep
  • May relieve pain
  • May reduce stress

Caryophyllene:

Caryophyllene (or β-caryophyllene) is the prominent spicy flavour you can taste in black pepper, but it can also be found in basil and oregano.

Potential benefits:

  • May reduce stress

Eucalyptol:

Eucalyptol is commonly found in—yep, you guessed it—eucalyptus, as well as in bay leaves, tea tree, and sweet basil. Eucalyptol is commonly used in mouthwash for its fresh flavour, and also in cough medicine for its known ability to reduce inflammation.

Potential benefits:

  • May reduce pain and inflammation

So, who are terpenes for?

If you simply enjoy a more natural, hemp-like taste in your vape, then CBD terpenes are a no-brainer. But if you suffer from stress, anxiety, or pain, these terpene-rich CBD E-Liquids are geared more toward you. Although the effects can vary from person to person, if you suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms, it’s definitely worth a try, as most people report a noticeably relaxed state from the use of CBD E-Liquids.

Conclusion

At this point in time, the future of Full-Spectrum CBD (with terpenes) looks very promising. Further data is of course needed—however, the recent acceptance of the cannabis plant and its essential oils’ health benefits has greatly accelerated the need for more research on CBD. What started as a niche group of people has now grown into a large demographic, with an estimated 300,000 people using CBD in the UK alone and reporting relief for chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. Luckily, it looks like CBD is here to stay.

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