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What are terpenes and why are they important?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Richard Harris, M.D., Pharm.D., MBA

You’ve probably heard of CBD oil — given its rise in popularity over the last few years — but when it comes to the properties of CBD and what sets different CBD products apart, surprisingly few people have a clear understanding. It makes sense that many people find terms such as cannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system, and terpenes a little confusing — it’s a lot to wrap your head around! Today we’re going to explain what terpenes are, and why they’re important to consider when shopping for CBD products.

What are terpenes?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and certain CBD products often contain much more than just cannabidiol. Depending on how the raw hemp plant is processed, other cannabinoids and terpenes could be present which helps the CBD work better inside of the body and can offer a more powerful, well-rounded effect.  Additional terpenes may be added after the fact to boost the overall effectiveness of CBD products.

Terpenes are found in many plants, not just cannabis; they are an aromatic compound that gives a plant it’s unique scent. Terpenes offer many different functions for different plants found in nature. In some plants, terpenes actually protect the plant from being eaten by animals, while some attract pollinators.

Many people can recognize the earthy and sometimes floral scent of the cannabis plant, terpenes are the reason for this unique scent. Some CBD products contain added terpenes in the form of essential oils to add additional scents and flavors to the product.

The term “terpenes” is often accompanied by the term “terpenoids,” but it is important to note that these two compounds are not the same. Terpenes are naturally found in plants, while terpenoids are the oxidized form of terpenes that result from the CBD products being produced when the plant dries.

Why are terpenes important?

The effect of a CBD product can be influenced by the addition of, or inclusion of variousterpenes. Many people have reported feeling great benefits from using aromatherapeutic products, such as essential oils. If you want to experience some benefits of aromatherapy, just try breathing in one of your favorite scents, such as peppermint or lavender — you’ll likely feel a sense of calm wash over you.

Adding terpenes to CBD products can help CBD users experience even more benefits from the products. For example, many people know that lavender oil can help with relaxation and sleep, so by using a CBD product with lavender oil added to it, you’ll be benefitting not only from the CBD but from the lavender as well. Terpenes also help to flavor CBD products, such those that are taken by mouth like tinctures, to give them a more enjoyable flavor.

Terpenes versus cannabinoids

It may feel easy to get overwhelmed and confused by all of the information there is to learn about CBD products and how they work inside of the body. But don’t worry, that’s why we’re here to explain it all!

Some people get terpenes confused with cannabinoids, but it is important to note that these two compounds are actually very different. Cannabinoids and terpenes are both chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. These beneficial compounds play very different roles inside of the body. While terpenes give plants their aromatic compounds and flavors, cannabinoids are responsible for binding to unique receptors in the human body to produce targeted effects.

CBD itself is a cannabinoid, however there are often many other cannabinoids found in cannabis products. THC is another commonly discussed cannabinoid that is found in cannabis, and is responsible for the psychoactive effects of marijuana products. Many CBD products contain small amounts of THC because these cannabinoids work well together and can produce a more well-rounded and powerful effect than CBD alone. Although CBD and THC are some of the most common cannabinoids, there are actually more than 100 cannabinoids that exist in the cannabis plant.

The main difference between cannabinoids and terpenes is the way they function inside of the body. Although terpenes do have some effect on the body’s endocannabinoid system (like cannabinoids) these two compounds are absorbed and used much differently by the body.

Types of terpenes

Similar to cannabinoids there are many different types of terpenes found in the cannabis plant. Below, we’ll discuss a few common types of terpenes, how they work, and where they are derived from. Terpenes have a wide range of beneficial biological effects and each terpene has overlapping but different effects in the body.  3 of the more well known terpenes are:

Pinene

Pinene is a terpene that offers woodsy scents such as those associated with pine trees, rosemary, and basil. Think about the restorative and grounding feeling of walking through nature, the pinene aroma that comes from the trees and plants might be a big reason for this.

Limonene

As one of the most common terpenes, limonene gives off a citrusy scent such as that associated with lemons and oranges. Limonene has been proven to be perfectly safe to be taken as a supplement and is often used in the form of orange or lemon oil.

Myrcene

Myrcene is commonly found in plants like lemongrass, thyme, and cannabis. This terpene is found abundantly in the lavender plant, giving the plant it’s calming and relaxing scent. Some of the greatest evidence that points to the benefits of linalool is the anecdotal evidence of users who report calmness and even improved sleep quality after smelling or topically applying linalool containing products, such as lavender oil.

Final thoughts

There’s a lot more to CBD than just, well, CBD. All of the unique properties found in CBD products work meticulously to provide users with all types of potential health benefits. It’s important to take this information into consideration when shopping for CBD products, since not all companies expertly craft their products to deliver optimal benefits. At CBD Health Collection, we know the benefits of high-quality CBD products and we want to help our customers truly experience the life changing effects that CBD has to offer.

CBD Health Collection prides itself on producing the finest quality products in the industry. We invite you to shop all CBD products here.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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