The Magic of Terpenes in CBD: What They Are, Benefits, and Why You Should Care
“What the heck are terpenes, and should I want them in my CBD?”
Ah, terpenes: the latest cannabis-related term that’s become a bit of a buzzword, and for a good reason, too. You may not be familiar with the term terpenes but trust us. Before you even knew what CBD was, terpenes have played a significant role in your everyday life.
And now, it’s about time you learned why terpenes matter so much when it comes to CBD! You’ve probably noticed there are tons of CBD products on the market—oils, edibles, flower, you name it—but that doesn’t mean all of them were created equal.
But before we cue the foreboding music, let’s remember that the cannabis industry is still in its toddler stages, so it’s easy to be misinformed when shopping for CBD. Hence why it’s essential to do your own research and learn what sets the quality products apart from the not-so-quality ones, and terpenes are one useful indicator that you’ll want to know about.
So buckle up because, in this post, we’re spilling all the answers to your most-asked questions about terpenes.
First and foremost, what are terpenes?
Terpenes are a scientific term used to describe the naturally-occurring aromatic compounds found in plants that are responsible for the way they taste and smell. So not only are terpenes found in hemp plants, but you’ve actually encountered and even consumed terpenes every time you sniff a flower or eat your favorite fruits and veggies.
Believe it or not, there are more than 200 different terpenes found in cannabis plants alone. But only a few key players matter most when it comes to CBD.
What are the ‘magical’ benefits of terpenes?
Terpenes benefit the plant itself and the humans that consume them. In high concentrations, they can protect plants from harsh weather and predators, but for humans, there’s still much for scientists to research.
However, what we do know is that terpenes bind to our brain’s receptors, producing psychological responses like increased dopamine levels, an uplifted mood, and other positive effects. So to better understand all the unique benefits of terpenes, let’s take a closer look at some of the most significant terpenes found in CBD:
As its name suggests, you can find this abundant terpene not only in CBD but in your favorite citrus fruits and common household cleaning products. Limonene doesn’t just smell fresh, but it boasts plenty of therapeutic effects, such as its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, and antiviral properties, to name a few.
Now introducing the terpene that gives cannabis its signature musky scent: myrcene! Although known for its earthy profile and sedative qualities, myrcene also carries its weight by having plenty of health benefits to offer, such as its antidiabetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticancer effects.
Alpha-pinene is the most common terpene in nature, but it appears in low concentrations in cannabis. Still, that doesn’t change its significant health benefits, which includes being anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and anticancer.
So, why do terpenes in CBD matter again?
Alright, now that you’ve learned what terpenes are and some of the health benefits they bring, let’s get to the good part: why you should care.
But to answer that burning question, we need to talk about The Entourage Effect and how it relates to terpenes. If you didn’t know, The Entourage Effect finds its way into many conversations about cannabis because, in 1998, two professors found that certain terpenes either helped or discouraged binding to cannabinoid receptors in the body.
Essentially, they discovered a unique relationship between cannabis, terpenes, and flavonoids in cannabis that proves it’s not THC alone that powers the effects of cannabis. So when speaking about CBD, this is good to know because The Entourage Effect concludes that the more chemicals are present in a strain or CBD product, the more enhanced the effects will be.
So, that’s your answer to why terpenes matter so much in CBD, and it should give you something to think about as you shop for products on the market. But unfortunately, there are plenty of companies that display false advertising or spread misinformation, so let’s talk about what to look for while shopping.
How do you know if a CBD product has terpenes?
Full-spectrum CBD products will be your best bet if you want to purchase CBD with naturally-occurring terpenes. The reason why is that when full-spectrum CBD oils are made, no compounds of the hemp plant are left behind, including all the terpenes.
On the other hand, CBD isolates do not contain terpenes because it’s pure CBD. However, some CBD brands do add terpenoids, which are very similar to terpenes in make and function. But again, if naturally-occurring terpenes are what you’re looking for, then full-spectrum CBD should be your starting point.
Remember that Entourage Effect we talked about? Full-spectrum oils have all the necessary compounds to create that “enhanced” effect that’s impossible to do when multiple terpenes and cannabinoids aren’t working together in CBD isolate.
However, you should know that false advertising is out there, and just because a product is marketed as full-spectrum doesn’t mean it is. The good news is that, nowadays, you can find the lab tests of companies’ products and see for yourself what’s all in your CBD products!
The bottom line
Terpenes play an essential role in how CBD products taste, smell, and affect you. While there’s still much to learn about the 200+ terpenes that occur in cannabis, understanding the information that is out there will ensure you’re making the most educated purchases.
The most crucial factor you can remember while shopping for CBD products is that not every manufacturer has the same process. So whenever you are in doubt about the ingredients or makeup of a CBD product, the best thing to do is simply ask customer service or hunt for lab test results yourself.
You deserve to feel fully confident about your CBD experience, and knowing your terpenes is an excellent way to get there. So pat yourself on the back for making it this far, and share this blog post with a friend who could use this knowledge!