CBD and hemp products are becoming widely known for their unique therapeutic and medicinal qualities. They have helped people overcome a variety of ailments from depression and anxiety to nausea and even epilepsy.
CBD oils, hemp oils, edibles, and topicals have become such popular alternative healing agents, many people want to know what exactly makes these plants so effective. Several factors make these incredible plants stand out, but one of the main factors are terpenes.
So let’s dive into what organic terpenes are, how they work, and what you need to know to make informed decisions when buying products that contain terpenes.
First, A Little About Cannabis
Organic terpenes can be found in many different plants other than cannabis. However, for this article, we will mostly be talking about how terpenes relate to cannabis. Because of this, it is important that you have at least a small understanding of the unique plant that contains these terpenes—cannabis.
When most people think of cannabis they are likely to associate it with a joint or maybe the munchies. However, there is much more to it than that. Marijuana and hemp plants are both members of the cannabis plant family, but they have distinct differences.
Cannabis plants contain many natural chemical compounds like CBD and THC. CBD has many benefits and has helped thousands of people overcome various ailments. CBD does not produce any mind-altering effects or a “high.” THC, on the other hand, is also said to have its own set of benefits. However, it will produce psychotic effects and a high.
One of the most significant differences between marijuana and hemp is that marijuana contains high amounts of both CBD and THC where hemp contains high amounts of CBD and little THC. This means marijuana and marijuana products will get you high. They are also not legal in all 50 states. Hemp and hemp products do not contain enough THC to get a person high and are 50 state legal.
While both marijuana and hemp plants contain terpenes, it is essential to know the differences in these plants to make sure you are purchasing something that is right for you.
What Are Terpenes?
Organic terpenes, pronounced tur-peens are metabolites that are found in the oils of most plants and even some insects. There are over 23,000 different terpenes in existence. The cannabis plant alone has at least 100 different terpenes. Terpenes have many incredible benefits for the body and mind, and they are also what give cannabis its unique aroma and flavor.
Many of the most popular strains of cannabis are named for their taste or smell which comes from terpenes. For example, the Blueberry strain is named for its sweet blueberry taste, Sour Diesel for its pungent fuel-like aroma, and Cheese for its obvious cheesy flavor and smell.
You will feel different benefits, taste different flavors, and smell different aromas based on what terpenes are in the strain of cannabis you use. Sour Diesel terpenes, for example, will give you a different overall experience than the terpenes in Blueberry.
Terpenes Organic Chemistry
The fundamental building block of terpenes structure is the isoprene unit, C5H8—a hydrocarbon consisting of five carbon atoms attached to eight hydrogen atoms. Terpenes are a class of molecules that usually contain ten or fifteen carbon atoms built from the five-carbon isoprene unit.
There are many different terpenes such as linalool which is known as a relaxing terpene found in lavender or menthol which is probably one of the main ingredients in the last cough drop you had. Terpenes are unique and have unique effects. However, terpenes organic chemistry share the same base.
The many terpenes in cannabis plants work together to support other effective chemicals in the plant such as cannabinoids and flavonoids to produce max benefits. This is known as the “entourage effect” which we will talk more about later.
Terpenes and Terpenoids
You may have also heard about terpenoids. Terpenes and terpenoids are words used interchangeably at times. However, they do have different meanings. Organic terpenes are synthesized in the secretory cells inside glandular trichomes within cannabis. If you are wondering how to increase terpenes naturally, the answer is light. Light exposure organically increases the production of terpenes in cannabis.
Terpenoids have been denatured by oxidation or have been chemically modified. While organic terpenes are an oily liquid, terpenoids have been dried out which changes the way the molecules transform. Terpenes are being used widely for their positive effects, and more research is revealing that terpenoids also have their place in medical cannabis.
Popular Terpenes Found in Cannabis
Pinene has a pine flavor and aroma. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it the most popular terpene in the world. Pinene can also be found in parsley, orange peels, pine needles, and basil. It has been found to improve airflow to your lungs, promote alertness, and counter short-term memory loss from THC.
Myrcene is known to have an earthy and fruity taste and aroma. It is the most commonly found terpene in cannabis, but it can also be found in mangos, thyme, basil, lemongrass, and hops. Myrcene has been used as a muscle relaxer, sedative, and anti-inflammatory.
Like its name suggests limonene tastes like citrus and smells likes lemon, limes, oranges, and grapefruit. It is not only found in cannabis but surprisingly can also be found in cleaning products and perfumes because of its citrusy scent. Limonene has many benefits. It has antifungal and antibacterial properties but is also known to elevate the mood and relieve stress. Limonene also supports the absorption of other terpenes and chemicals through the skin.
This terpene has a hoppy and earthy taste and flavor. It can be found in hops as well as cannabis. Humulene is known as an anti-inflammatory. While many strains increase appetite, humulene is known for its ability to suppress appetite.
With its floral and spicy taste and aroma, linalool is not only found in cannabis but flowers like lavender and spices like coriander as well. Linalool is widely popular for its stress-relieving and anti-depressant effects. Like many of the terpenes in cannabis, it also has anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies suggest linalool is not only a useful treatment for anxiety but may also boost the immune system and significantly reduce lung inflammation.
This terpene is known to have peppery and spicy qualities. It can be found in spices like cloves, cinnamon, basil, and black pepper. Some studies suggest it can help treat anxiety and depression.
Terpinolene is known to be smoky and woodsy. It can be found in spices like rosemary and sage. Terpinolene has antibacterial and antioxidant properties while also acting as a sedative. It has also been found to induce drowsiness and reduce anxiety.
Are Hemp, Cannabis, And CBD Terpenes Different?
Hemp and marijuana are both a part of the cannabis Sativa plant family. Although they have distinct differences, they also have many similarities. One of their similarities is the terpenes they contain.
Cannabis terpenes, weed terpenes, hemp terpenes, marijuana terpenes, and CBD terpenes are all the same. All cannabis-derived terpenes can be found in hemp and marijuana as well as many CBD products. However, the number of terpenes may vary from plant to plant or from product to product.
Look For Full Spectrum
When searching for organic terpenes, CBD products, or hemp products like oils or edibles, you will want to look for the words “full spectrum.” If the label or product description says it is a full spectrum product, this means it will contain many beneficial qualities of the whole plant including cannabinoids and terpenes. Marijuana products will also contain terpenes but be aware these products will produce a high. Also, be sure to check your state laws before purchasing marijuana products.
Cannabis products are a rich source of terpenes which is one reason why cannabis is such a valuable source. While a large number of terpenes can be found in full-spectrum products, one terpene can have a stronger presence than another depending on what strain of cannabis is used.
As the knowledge of terpenes begins to become more widespread, many people hope that one day soon it will be possible to pick and choose cannabis for its exact amount of terpenes, THC, or CBD content. This will allow for a more customized experience based on what the customer or patient needs.
What Are Liquid Terpenes?
Organic terpenes are naturally an oily liquid that is extracted from many different types of plants including cannabis plants. Dried or chemically altered terpenes are considered terpenoids. There are a few different ways to enjoy liquid terpenes, like terpenes in CBD oil or terpenes oil.
CBD Oil with Terpenes
Full-spectrum hemp and CBD products are rich in liquid terpenes. If you are using a full-spectrum CBD oil, for example, you are getting the benefits of the whole hemp plant including cannabinoids, flavonoids, and liquid terpenes. A CBD terpenes oil combination will provide some benefits that terpenes oil alone will not.
While you won’t get the added benefits of cannabinoids or flavonoids that you would with a terpenes CBD oil combination, a terpenes oil is beneficial in many other ways. With the revolution of essential oils and aromatherapy, some people prefer terpenes in the form of essential oils for their medical benefits. Others also prefer to buy specific blends of terpenes oil to add to their CBD topicals and other products for a more customized experience.
What Is The Difference Between Isolate And Distillate Terpenes?
Organic terpenes oil can come in a few different forms depending on how it was extracted. Each form of liquid terpenes has unique benefits. It is important to understand the differences in these forms to ensure you get the right product to fit your needs.
Isolate terpenes are quickly becoming the new cannabis craze. Many believe the future of cannabis lies in isolate terpenes. Why are they so special? Well, as you can see individual terpenes have incredible benefits all on their own—from their anti-inflammatory properties to their relaxing qualities.
Isolate terpenes are exactly how they sound. They are isolated terpenes—terpenes stripped of any other chemicals and without any additives. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity for people to use specific terpenes in oils, aromatherapy, or added in other products.
This also allows professionals endless opportunities to begin creating customized products or even recreating a specific strain profile. Pure terpenes are another term used for isolate terpenes. Pure terpenes describe terpenes that have no additives or other chemicals mixed in.
When buying CBD products it is important to be aware of the difference between a distillate CBD product and an isolate CBD product. While similar, an isolate CBD product is extracted from hemp and does not contain any chemicals other than isolated CBD.
However, a CBD distillate is typically extracted from marijuana and may contain high amounts of THC. When people mention distillate terpenes, they are generally referring to a CBD distillate which may contain terpenes but will also contain THC. These products may get a person high and are not legal in all 50 states.
What Are Food Grade Terpenes?
Food grade terpenes is a term used widely by companies selling terpenes. However, this term can be misleading, and it is important to understand the meaning behind it. When you hear the term food-grade terpenes, you are likely to believe these terpenes are safe to eat and cook with. However, this is far from true. Even though some terpenes are labeled as food-grade terpenes, they are not food and can be dangerous to eat on their own.
Food grade terpenes are terpenes extracted from any plant including cannabis. They are isolate terpenes or pure terpenes—this is all the term means. It has nothing to do with terpenes actually being food. Whether or not isolate terpenes are from cannabis or other plants, they can be toxic to eat. Isolate or pure terpenes are great dabbed on the skin, added to topicals, or used as aromatherapy.
With that being said, professionals may infuse some edibles and create oils with isolate terpenes that can be ingested because they know the exact levels of terpenes to add to not make it toxic.
Terpenes can be found in many different natural things we eat, like orange terpenes, citrus terpenes, and even lavender terpenes. These foods are obviously not toxic because of the balance of terpenes in them.
Full-spectrum oils with terpenes can also be ingested because of the balance of terpenes in them. Another great way to add terpenes to your food is by using hemp seed oil which contains a balanced amount of terpenes.
The danger comes when you have a bottle of very potent and pure isolate terpenes. These should not be ingested unless already blended in a way that won’t be toxic to your health. All food-grade terpenes should be diluted before they’re added to any product–whether smokeable, edible, or topical.
What Do Terpenes Do?
Just like cannabinoids, terpenes also work with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system stretches throughout the entire body and mind. It is a system of receptors that affect key functions of the body like sleep, mood, and pain. Terpenes activate these receptors triggering an appropriate response. Some types of terpenes affect the body in different ways. Linalool may relax the body where limonene may invigorate the senses.
The Entourage Effect
Terpenes also support other natural chemicals in cannabis to produce benefits—this is known as the “entourage effect.” Basically, terpenes and cannabinoids become more effective in working together than on their own. Why do they seem to be superior together than isolated? One possibility is that terpenes and cannabinoids hit different receptors and the summed activities of those receptors result in a better outcome.
Essentially, you’re attacking inflammation, anxiety, or another ailment at multiple sources of inflammation or anxiety instead of just one. It is also believed that terpenes help the body better absorb or process cannabinoids.
Organic terpenes have many benefits for the body and mind. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable benefits of terpenes.
Terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene, myrcene, borneol, and delta 3 carene have pain-relieving effects on the body. This is due to their ability to reduce inflammation and relax the body. Beta-caryophyllene, found in cannabis, clove, and rosemary, activates the cannabinoid receptors. This has an anti-inflammatory effect which can lessen pain.
One of the benefits of the most notable terpenes is their ability to help the body and mind relax. Myrcene is a powerful relaxant that can help the body release tension and feel at ease. This terpene is found in cannabis and hops. It is also known to have a sedative-like effect.
Anti-Anxiety and Anti-Depression
Terpenes can also help with depression and anxiety—which often appear together in many individuals. Caryophyllene has an antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect on the mind and can be a significant mood-booster. Linalool, most commonly found in lavender, also has a relaxing and anti-anxiety effect. Another terpene found in citrus and cannabis called limonene is an incredibly powerful mood-booster that acts as an antidepressant and can help with anxiety.
Energy and Mental Clarity
Limonene is also known to have an incredible energizing effect. Using terpenes can help with maintaining energy and mental clarity without the crash or side-effects of caffeine. It can help those with high blood pressure who have to stay away from caffeine beverages which may increase blood pressure further.
Terpenes such as caryophyllene and linalool have an anti-anxiety effect which can aid those suffering from anxiety-related insomnia. Another terpene found in cannabis called myrcene has a relaxing and sedative-like effect on the body. Combined, these can be an effective alternative to sleeping pills which often come with a plethora of side effects.
Beta-caryophyllene has an anti-inflammatory effect which can not only lessen pain but also reduce the harmful effects of chronic inflammation on the body. Alpha-pinene, limonene, and myrcene are also powerful anti-inflammatory terpenes. Together, these can all help reduce the inflammation brought on by arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.
Anti-Tumor and Anti-Cancer
A study done in 2011 suggests that limonene has a powerful anti-cancer and anti-tumor effect. This could be a healthy way to both prevent cancer cells from accumulating and fight off cancer.
Anti-Bacterial and Antioxidant Effects
A recent study shows that A-terpineol, linalool, eucalyptol, and α-pinene synergistically work to together to produce a powerful antibacterial and antioxidant effect. This 2014 study determined that these terpenes have “toxic effects on all bacterial species.”
How To Use Terpenes
Since organic terpenes are found in essentially all plants, there are countless ways you can use them. Even eating foods with plenty of spices such as rosemary and black pepper can be an effective way to use terpenes. One of the most popular ways to use terpenes is to use full-spectrum CBD oil products.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil
Unlike CBD isolate which contains only CBD, full-spectrum CBD oil contains terpenes as well as CBD. You can use full-spectrum CBD oil sublingually to get the benefits from all the terpenes in hemp. Many people also cook many dishes with CBD oil. This is a great option for those who don’t care for the flavor of straight CBD oil.
Hemp Seed Oil
Although hemp seed oil is similar to CBD oil, hemp seed oil contains little or no CBD. It is rich in terpenes and essential fatty acids. You can use hemp seed only sublingually (meaning underneath your tongue) or you can use it in a recipe.
All essential oils contain terpenes. Lavender oil contains terpenes which can cause relaxation and even help with insomnia. Citrus oil can provide an energy boost, help with depression, and act as a digestive aid. Essential oils are best used in diffusers. However, you can also use them topically in very small amounts. It’s important to not use too much or dilute the oil as it can cause health issues.
Hemp Gummies and CBD Gummies
Hemp and CBD gummies are very similar to each other in that they both contain hemp-derived oil. The major difference is that CBD gummies contain high amounts of CBD and hemp gummies may contain little or no CBD. CBD gummy bears are a fun and easy way to use terpenes. When choosing a CBD oil product, make sure it is not a CBD isolate or it will not contain terpenes.
Other Hemp Products
As hemp becomes more popular, people find more and more creative ways to use it. There’s a way for everyone to get terpenes—from topicals such as hemp creams and rubs to vaporizer solutions used in vape pens. There are even hemp products for your furry friends.
Do Terpenes Get You High?
You can derive organic terpenes, THC, CBD, and many other substances from cannabis plants. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effect—terpenes are not. Since terpenes are not psychoactive like THC, they can’t get you high on their own. If you are using marijuana or marijuana products to get terpenes, the products may contain THC and could get a person high.
However, even though terpenes are not psychoactive, they can still affect your mood and experiences. Certain terpenes can make you feel energized, happy, relaxed, or even sleepy.
Are Terpenes Legal?
Terpenes themselves are fully legal. They are not psychoactive drugs and are not on the controlled substance list. However, not all products that contain terpenes are legal everywhere. Products that contain THC along with terpenes may be illegal in many states throughout America. This is because marijuana and marijuana-derived products are not legal everywhere since the THC it contains is a psychoactive substance.
However, hemp-derived products are 50-state legal. Hemp contains many powerful terpenes including pinene, linalool, myrcene, limonene, caryophyllene, humulene, and bisabolol. Essential oils derived from lavender, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and any other plant are also full of terpenes that are 100% legal throughout the U.S.
How To Extract Terpenes
When extracting full-spectrum oils from cannabis plants, companies typically use one of three popular extraction methods. These methods include the CO2 extraction method, the liquid solvent extraction method, and the olive oil extraction method. The end product of each of these methods will be a full-spectrum oil that is rich in terpenes.
However, to produce only organic terpenes without any other natural chemicals, the methods are a bit different. Terpenes are very delicate which can make the extraction process challenging. Terpenes require a light touch and special process to isolate and extract them without damaging them. To do this, there are also three popular methods in use.
The steam distilling process begins by suspending a perforated basket of herbs that contain terpenes above a vessel of boiling water. The steam then passes through the basket penetrating the plant material. Only lighter oils like monoterpenes are soluble in the steam. When the steam containing terpenes passes out of the top of the distiller, it is liquified by a cooled condenser making an oil.
The hydrodistillation process is very similar to the steam distillation process. The only difference is that the plant material is placed directly into the boiling water. The rest of the process remains the same. The downside to both the steam distillation process and the hydrodistillation process is the extreme heat involved. Many of the critical compounds in the plant material can be altered or destroyed at such intense temperatures.
The CO2 extraction method can also be used to extract CBD oil, hemp oil, and CBD isolates. This is a state of the art high-tech extraction method that is believed to be the superior extraction method yielding the highest quality results. This process is a little more complex than other methods and requires expensive machinery and extensive knowledge. During this complicated process carbon dioxide is used under high pressure and at extremely low temperatures to extract the CBD oil.
Best Terpenes To Use
When trying to decide which terpenes are the best terpenes to use to fit your needs, it is crucial to know what you want to accomplish with them. Because terpenes provide such a wide range of benefits, the question isn’t really which one is best in general but which one is best for your individual needs.
Be sure to do your research and understand which terpenes have which effects to make sure you are getting what is best for you. Or, enjoy a blend of terpenes that are professionally blended and meant to combat your specific ailment.
When looking at products containing terpenes 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 one will produce different results. It may also take some experimentation to find exactly what works best for you.
Where To Buy Terpenes
When you decide to purchase organic terpenes, it is important to understand the product and the company. You can buy terpenes online or at many cannabis retail stores. You can also find strain-specific terpenes for sale online or in cannabis stores. Before buying, remember to always read product descriptions and reviews to make sure you are buying a quality product from a trusted company.
Start Taking Advantage Of Terpenes
As you can see, organic terpenes offer a plethora of benefits whether or not you choose a full-spectrum oil with terpenes or a terpenes isolate. Terpenes are versatile and can be used in aromatherapy, dabbed, or used to create customized products. The possibilities are endless. It’s no wonder why more and more people are using terpenes as a natural alternative. Take advantage of all cannabis has to offer. Start enjoying the many therapeutic and medicinal benefits of organic terpenes today.
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.