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Terpenes

What Do Terpenes Do In CBD Oil?

It’s more than a nice smell!

When it comes to plants, it’s often the scents that we notice first. But the different scents and flavors are not just a way to tell them apart. It also determines what kind of medicinal role that each plant has to offer.

When you smell a plant, what’s giving off that scent is something known as a terpene. And it has more to offer than just a distinct smell.

Terpenes play an important role in the effects that a CBD product has on you.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are natural essential oils found in all plants, flowers, vegetables and herbs. When you smell the fragrance of peppermint and lemons, you’re actually smelling the terpenes limonene and myrcene. The cannabis plant is no exception. CBD products made from full spectrum hemp extract have natural terpenes in them as well.

Each individual terpene has its own unique properties. While still in the plant, they help protect the plant from various threats, like fungus and insects.. Although more than 200 types of terpenes have been identified, not all of them have the same kind of value or effects. Only a few have risen to the top of the list as having useful therapeutic properties. Because of their potential therapeutic value, terpenes have become one of the biggest areas of interest for cannabis researchers.

How Do Terpenes Work?

When combined with CBD, the therapeutic properties of terpenes can benefit users by binding to neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain. They can increase dopamine activity or enhance norepinephrine activity. Some terpenes can help us relax and others can help boost our energy. Research has found that terpenes directly affect the brain’s neurotransmitters in many different ways.

The medical cannabis industry is interested in seeing how to use this new information to improve results with cannabis products. One of the benefits of terpenes in high-THC cannabis is that they can help balance the psychoactive effects of THC and decrease the anxiety associated with it.

The much talked-about “entourage effect,” in which all of the natural compounds from the plant work together, was long thought to be associated only with high-THC cannabis. But more recently, researchers have found that the extract from hemp plants can also produce the entourage effect and a wide spectrum of health and wellness benefits.

What Terpenes are Commonly Found in CBD Oil?

Full spectrum CBD oil products contain various terpenes in addition to the naturally-occurring cannabinoids and flavonoids. The specific terpenes in a CBD product depends on the strain of the hemp that was used to make it. The amount of each terpene can also depend on the extraction method that was used by the manufacturer.

The “terpene profile” section of third-party lab reports will tell you exactly which terpenes are in a particular CBD product. These lab results are available on the website of all reputable CBD brands. The terpenes that are in a product can provide some insight into the product’s potential effects and benefits.

Here’s a quick look at some of the terpenes that are often found in CBD products along with their common uses. Learning more about the properties of different terpenes can help you choose the CBD products that may be best for you.

Some Primary Terpenes

TERPENESSCENTPOTENTIAL BENEFITS
CARYOPHYLLENEPepperAnti-inflammatory and calming
LIMONENECitrusEnergy and therapeutic cancer applications
MYRCENEHerbal, earthyPain relief
PINENEPineAnti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety

Caryophyllene: Also found in black pepper, rosemary, and a few other commonly consumed items, this terpene is unique in that it can directly stimulate the body’s natural endocannabinoid receptors. It smells and looks like a terpene, but it acts like a cannabinoid in its inflammation-fighting and calming effects. 

Limonene: The discerning nose will pick up notes of citrus behind the wave of muskiness when smelling certain strains of cannabis, for which you can thank limonene. This sweet-smelling terpene is present in various citrus fruits. Preclinical research referenced in this study by the University of Arizona Tucson cancer researchers suggests that the limonene terpene may have therapeutic applications for breast cancer patients. 

Myrcene: A steady fixture among most legitimately distributed cannabis brands/strains, myrcene gives off that earthy, dank, and polarizing aroma (love it or hate it). Chaminade University of Honolulu researchers describe in this study how myrcene can alleviate both general and neuropathic pain by interacting with a receptor known as TRPV1. 

Pinene: While myrcene may be the most common terpene in cannabis, pinene covers a much larger spread when it comes to different varieties of plants the world over. Again, it takes a focused effort to pick up this pine scent, but it’s not as hard to detect in common cannabis strains as the citrus influences. Pinene is thought to have anti-inflammatory and anxiety-reducing effects.

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