There is something about the aroma of hemp alone that can soothe the body and mind. If you are wondering what is responsible for that calming fruity or earthy aroma—the answer is terpenes. Terpenes give hemp products their taste and smell but, they are also responsible for much more.
Terpenes have incredible natural benefits to help relieve a range of health conditions. Whether you are a medical patient or a recreational consumer, having a better understanding of terpenes will deepen your appreciation of hemp.
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Cannabis and Terpenes
Hemp along with marijuana, are both included in the cannabis plant family. They have many similarities and look almost identical. Both plants have different health benefits and are rich in cannabinoids, flavonoids, and healthy fatty acids.
Cannabinoids are natural chemicals made within the plant. There are over one hundred known cannabinoids found in hemp and marijuana plants—two of which are CBD and THC.
CBD has been known to help a variety of health ailments from depression to nausea and epilepsy. CBD has countless benefits and does not produce any psychoactive effects. It is also legal in all 50 states. THC also has many benefits but, it is responsible for psychoactive effects and is not legal nationwide.
Legal industrial hemp and CBD products contain high amounts of CBD and less than .3% THC. Marijuana contains both high amounts of CBD and THC. Terpenes themselves are completely legal.
On their own, terpenes will not get a person high. Therefore, they are not on the controlled substances list. However, not all products containing terpenes are legal.
Both hemp and marijuana along with many other plants and even some insects produce terpenes, but in this article, our focus will be on hemp and terpenes.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are oils that are made in the same glands of the hemp plant that produce cannabinoids like CBD and THC. The oils give hemp strains their distinctive aromas and flavors like mint, berry, pine, and citrus.
When you purchase a full spectrum hemp or CBD product, it contains a variety of different terpenes along with other cannabinoids and flavonoids. Terpenes have been known to support these other natural chemicals to produce benefits. This is known as the entourage effect. The entourage effect is the idea that all of the natural compounds are more effective working together than alone.
There are also isolate terpenes, which are believed by some to be the future of cannabis. Terpenes have amazing benefits all on their own from anti-inflammatory properties to therapeutic qualities. Isolate terpenes are stripped of any other natural chemical or additive. These pure terpenes allow for the use of specific terpenes on their own or complete customization.
Much like other plants and flowers, hemp plants developed terpenes for adaptive purposes: to lure pollinators and repel predators. Many factors go into the development of terpenes in hemp. Weather, climate, age, fertilizers, soil, and even time of day can influence the development process.
Although each terpene is unique, the organic chemistry of terpenes shares the same base. The isoprene unit, C5H8 is a hydrocarbon consisting of five carbon atoms attached to eight hydrogen atoms. This is the fundamental building block of every terpene structure. Terpenes are a class of molecules that contain ten or fifteen carbon atoms built from the base which is the five-carbon isoprene unit.
Custom Terpene Profiles
Over one hundred different terpenes have been identified in the hemp plant. You can already see the difference in terpenes in cannabis strains like cheese, blueberry, or sour diesel. Terpenes are what give the strains cheese its kind of cheese-like smell. Terpenes give blueberry its berry smell and taste and sour diesel its skunky aroma.
These terpenes not only play a role in the difference of smell and flavor of a variety of hemp strains but also the effects each strain has on the body.
While some terpenes like linalool promote relaxation, others like limonene promote focus and alertness. Each individual terpene is unique and produces unique effects. The differences between terpenes can be subtle, but they add great depth to the plant. More importantly than the taste or smell, terpenes may offer additional medical benefits.
Being aware of the different terpenes will help you choose a hemp strain that is sure to fit your needs. Essentially, knowing the difference in terpenes can allow for a customized experience. Much research is being done to customize terpene profiles in hemp to optimize its medical benefits. With unlimited combinations, customized terpenes will undoubtedly open up doors for cannabis research—bringing it to the next level.
Terpenes and Terpenoids
Terpenes and terpenoids are words used interchangeably by some people. However, while similar, terpenes and terpenoids do have different effects. Terpenes are the natural oils produced by the plant in the secretory cells inside glandular trichomes. Exposure to light naturally increases the production of the terpenes.
Terpenoids have been denatured by oxidation or have been chemically modified. They are terpenes that have gone through a drying process. This process changes the way the molecules taste and act. Terpenoids are used outside of cannabis products to make many different things such as perfumes, essential oils, and spices.
Terpenes are typically used for their positive medicinal effects. However, terpenoids are being studied for their place in medical cannabis as well.
How do Terpenes work?
Terpenes work with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system consists of receptors that stretch throughout the body and mind. These receptors help regulate critical functions of the body such as mood, sleep, and pain. Terpenes activate these receptors triggering an appropriate and effective response which results in attacking inflammation, anxiety, or another ailment.
How to Use Terpenes?
Terpenes can be found in a variety of natural spices and of course many different hemp products. You can consume terpenes in full-spectrum CBD oils and edibles. You can also purchase terpenes on their own.
The important thing to keep in mind is that these terpenes are highly concentrated. Isolate terpenes must always be handled with care and should be diluted using a carrier oil.
When adding terpenes to a product such as a topical, it is essential to follow the dilution and usage instructions usually found on the package. Terpenes are strong, and not following the directions could result in an overpowering or potentially hazardous product.
As hemp becomes increasingly popular, people are finding more creative ways to use it. There’s a way for everyone to take advantage of terpenes—from using them in recipes to vaporizer solutions used in a vape pen. There are even hemp products with terpenes for your furry friends.
The Benefits of Terpenes
Terpenes have many potential benefits for the body and mind. Terpenes are not addictive like many dangerous pharmaceuticals. Taking advantage of terpenes means taking advantage of the natural option.
They are not only natural but effective and versatile, and may relieve ailments of all kinds. A 2011 study even suggests that the terpene limonene has powerful anti-cancer and anti-tumor effects. This could make it a healthier option to help prevent and fight cancer.
Before we dive into the five most popular terpenes, here is a general list of the many benefits terpenes have to offer.
• Pain relief
• Mental clarity
• Sleep aid
• Muscle relaxant
5 Popular Terpenes Found in Hemp
While there are hundreds of beneficial terpenes, these five have become increasingly popular because of their aromas, tastes, and therapeutic effects.
As its name suggests, limonene has a lemon or citrus-like aroma and taste. Limonene is also found in lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit. Limonene is often used in cleaning products and perfumes for its scent. This terpene may also help improve the absorption of other terpenes and natural chemicals through the skin. This makes it great in strains used for ointments or topicals. Limonene has shown to invigorate, relieve stress, and elevate the mood.
Aroma: Limon, citrus
Vaporizes at: 384℉
Potential Effects: Elevates mood, Stress relief, Relieves pain
Potential Medical Value: Anti-inflammatory, Anti-fungal, Anti-bacterial
Delta 3 Carene
This terpene can also be found in rosemary, basil, bell pepper, cedar, and turpentine. Delta 3 carene has been used widely in cosmetics and perfumes. It is also believed to be a great antihistamine. Delta 3 carene may also help with memory retention and mental sharpness.
Aroma: Sweet, Earthy
Potential Effects: May help combat fibromyalgia, arthritis, and osteoporosis
Potential Medical Value: Natural Antihistamine
Citral can also be found in lemongrass and citronella. This terpene is widely used in perfumes, lotions, soaps, and cleaning products. Citral has natural calming effects and has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Potential Effects: Sedative effects
Potential Medical Value: Antiviral, Antibacterial
Humulene can also be found in hops, coriander, cloves, and basil as well as cannabis. It is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties. While many other strains increase appetite, humulene can actually suppress it. Humulene has a nice earthy aroma and flavor.
Aroma: Hops, Woody, Earthy
Vaporizes at: 222℉
Potential Effects: Suppresses appetite
Potential Medical Value: Anti-inflammatory
In addition to cannabis, myrcene is found in mango, lemongrass, thyme, and hops. This terpene is believed to be one of the most abundant in cannabis plants. It can actually compose up to 50 percent of a hemp plant’s terpenes.
Aroma: Cardamom, Cloves, Musky, Earthy, Herbal
Vaporizes at: 332ºF
Potential Effects: Sedating effect, Relaxing
Potential Medical Value: Antioxidant; Treatment of insomnia, Pain, and Inflammation
Best Terpenes to Use
These top five terpenes are all great choices. But, it is crucial to know what you want terpenes to accomplish in order to find the best one to fit your needs. Because terpenes offer unique effects, it is best to determine ahead of time what your symptoms are. Do you need to relax? Do you need pain relief? What about help sleeping? These can all be accomplished with terpenes, but you need to identify what you are feeling in order to find the right terpene to do the trick.
When trying to decide which terpenes are the best terpenes, the question isn’t really which one is best in general but which one is best for your individual needs.
Be sure to ask others what has worked for them in the past, and do additional research to understand the effects of terpenes so you can be sure to get exactly what is right for you. Or, you can simply enjoy a blend of terpenes created by professionals that will help meet your needs.
When on the search for the best terpenes, also be sure to understand whether or not it is a full spectrum product derived from hemp, a full spectrum product derived from marijuana, or an isolate. Each of these forms of terpenes will produce different results. It may also take some experimentation to find what works best for you.
Where to Buy Terpenes
When you have finished your research and have decided to purchase a terpene, where should you buy from? Terpenes are available online and in stores. As of right now, you can find them in our full spectrum products at Intrinsichemp.com, and always be on the lookout for new terpene products as well.
You can also find strain specific terpenes for sale online or in cannabis stores. Before purchasing terpenes always be sure to read product descriptions and reviews to ensure you are buying a quality product from a trusted company.
The Future of Cannabis
More research on hemp and terpenes is being done every day. From what we know so far, the potential benefits of terpenes are promising. These natural compounds may not only enhance your experience using hemp products, but they may provide incredible medicinal benefits as well.
As more research is done and cannabis science expands, the possibilities of helping more people are exciting. As people become more knowledgable about hemp and all it has to offer, products will also begin to expand. This includes terpenes and terpene products.
Terpenes provide a whole new level of possibilities. Having a better understanding of hemp and terpenes will help you make a more informed decision when it comes to purchasing hemp products or trying to isolate terpene products. Now that you have more knowledge, start enjoying the benefits of terpenes today.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Due to FDA Regulations, we recommend that you do your own research on CBD products. We also suggest that you read the reviews on our website, where our customers record their real-world results of using our products.