What Are Terpenes?

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The glossary of CBD and hemp terms is extensive, and some of the terminology can be a bit confusing. With unusual terms like cannabinoids and endocannabinoid system, it is no wonder that there is some mystery surrounding hemp and CBD. Terpenes is another term that even many avid CBD users don’t know.

What Is a Terpene?

Terpenes are the flavorful and aromatic chemicals found in various plants, including flowers, herbs, and citrus fruits. Terpenes are found in all kinds of plants—not just hemp. For example, terpenes are what give lavender its light floral aroma. These compounds help the plants attract pollinators, while also protecting them against predators.

Isolated terpenes are also used to create the flavors and scents of many products that people use every day, such as perfumes, foods, and lotions.

Cannabis plants produce hundreds of different terpenes, which is why the plant has such a strong scent. Different strains of cannabis contain different terpene compositions, which can slightly change the smell and effects that the plant produces. They may also affect the taste of the cannabis when it is ingested or smoked.

Another term that gets thrown around a lot is terpenoids, which are often confused with terpenes. The terms are similar, but not the same. Terpenes oxidize as plants dry out and cure. At this point, terpenes become terpenoids.

How Do Terpenes Affect People?

Each terpene can affect the human body differently. We even use products that contain terpenes that we may not even realize. For example, humans have used terpenes for aromatherapy for centuries. A dab of lavender oil behind the ears can lead to relaxation. Similarly, the therapeutic benefits of the terpenes in hemp can offer a variety of different benefits, but these benefits are dependent on the specific terpene and its abundance in the hemp oil, which we will discuss in more detail below.

While terpenes do affect the body, they are not responsible for the “high” that THC is known for, but research does suggest that terpenes can alter the effects of cannabis products.

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What Is Terpene Toxicity?

While terpenes can provide amazing benefits to the human body, there is a limit to what is safe and healthy. Overconsumption of terpenes can result in problems such as irritated lungs and skin issues. Some terpenes are also photosensitive, which means that direct sun exposure could be problematic for those who ingest them.

How Are Terpenes Different Than Cannabinoids?

Terpenes and cannabinoids are both chemical compounds that are found in cannabis plants. It is easy to group them together, but they are very different. First, cannabinoids are only found in cannabis plants, while terpenes are found in a wide variety of plants.

While terpenes are responsible for scents and flavors, cannabinoids work with a system within the body called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system helps regulate various functions of the body, and it contains receptors that are activated by cannabinoids that each provide a different effect. Some terpenes can also act on the endocannabinoid system, but the body absorbs and uses them differently than cannabinoids.

There are many terpenes that are bioactive. This means that they can affect the body, but these effects are dependent on the terpene’s concentration and how it is used. In some cases, terpenes are used to build essential oils, which can be used for aromatherapy purposes. Aromatherapy is believed to impact mood and stress levels.

Research shows that due to the entourage effect, these terpenes may be able to affect or enhance the other effects of cannabis products. This study found that people with epilepsy who were taking a CBD-rich extract saw improved symptoms and fewer side effects than those taking purified CBD, suggesting that other components in cannabis may have an impact on how the body responds to CBD or other cannabinoids.

Types of Terpenes

Scientists don’t know the exact number of terpenes that exist; in fact, they have only studied a few of them. Hemp plants contain more than 200 different terpenes. Some of the more well-known terpenes in cannabis plants are covered below.

  • D-Limonene: As the name suggests, d-limonene gives off a citrusy scent and can be found in large quantities in lemons, grapefruits, and oranges. Research shows that this terpene has antibacterial properties, as well as antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Linalool: This terpene is most abundant in lavender plants, and it is responsible for the scent we associate with the flower. Linalool offers a wide range of benefits as it is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. In addition, it is considered to be neuroprotective, and it has antidepressant, anticancer, and anti-anxiety properties.
  • Myrcene: Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes. It can be found in nearly every variety of cannabis, as well as bay leaves, thyme, and parsley. Its taste is described as earthy and grassy. Myrcene is said to relieve muscle cramps and treat insomnia.
  • Alpha-Pinene: The scent of pine tree is created by the terpene alpha-pinene. This terpene is present in not only pine, but also rosemary and nearly all varieties of cannabis. Alpha-pinene is used to help breathing problems, as it opens the bronchial tubes.
  • Nerolidol: As one of the most beneficial terpenes, nerolidol offers a long list of benefits. Studies have shown that nerolidol has strong antibacterial and antifungal effects. Nerolidol also has sedative and relaxing effects, so it is often used as a sleep aid. It can be found in lemongrass, ginger, jasmine, tea tree, and neroli. You might recognize its strong, woodsy smell.
  • Humulene: Most commonly found in clove, basil, and hops, humulene acts as an appetite suppressant. Studies into humulene have found that it can prevent allergic reactions and asthma.
  • Caryophyllene: Some strains of cannabis have a peppery quality that you might recognize from black pepper, oregano, cloves, and rosemary. Caryophyllene can lead to relaxation.

Since CBD oil is extracted from hemp plants, it contains numerous terpenes. At Veritas Farms, our full-spectrum hemp oil products contain all of the compounds found in the hemp plant, including terpenes. Like cannabinoids, terpenes are left in our products for their many benefits. Shop our complete line of full-spectrum hemp oil products at theveritasfarms.com!

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