Terpenes: What are They and Why are They Important?
With the rising popularity of cannabidiol, or CBD, an increasing number of people are turning to the compound as a natural health remedy. More and more people are actually reporting beneficial results from consistent use and seeing improvements in an ever-expanding list of symptoms.
However, CBD is not the only hero involved in providing these results. There are other, less known compounds working in synergy with cannabinoids that also play a role in delivering relief. Research in the industry shows that there are important interactions happening between CBD and the hundreds of other organic compounds found in the hemp plant – most notably, terpenes.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are those aromatic, natural scent compounds that plants produce to repel pests and attract pollinators. Think of the aroma of flowers in a garden, the smell of fruits in your home, or even natural house-made cleaning products. These compounds create the characteristic scent of many plants such as pine, lavender and lemon peels.
Studies indicate that one of the richest sources of terpenes in the plant kingdom is actually found in hemp. These compounds are responsible for the aroma of and are thought to help increase the healing properties of the plant as they are also antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.
If you’re familiar with essential oils, terpenes work in a similar fashion. For instance, peppermint oil can help relieve headaches, and lavender oils can help you relax, and even stop the itch from bug bites.
Terpenes are similar in that they are attributed to uplifting, relaxing or healing effects.
They are found in many plants, including the hemp plant, and can therefore be found almost anywhere in your daily life. Consider the smell a pine tree gives off; that is from a terpene called pinene. The smell of orange peels comes from the terpene limonene.
Amazingly, there are over 200 different types of terpenes that have thus far been identified in the hemp plant alone and each one is associated with its own unique effects. Even though the medicinal benefits of terpenes are still being researched, recent studies have shown that they work in synergy with CBD and other cannabinoids to improve the benefits.
Why should I care about terpenes?
Terpenes are known to be bioactive, or to affect the body. The way it affects an individual is based on the concentration or potency of terpene itself and how a person uses it in their routine.
Have you ever taken a scented bubble bath or used lavender soap? A massage with fragrant oils or walked through a field of scented flowers? Those experiences surely affected your mood, making you feel more relaxed and calm. These feelings were brought on by the terpenes and the beneficial effects of aromatherapy.
In addition to the simple aromas that come from terpenes, many have been found to have a direct health benefit when ingested or applied topically (Do not ingest essential oils. Their benefits are limited to aromatic or topical use.).
In fact, research shows that the terpene linalool might actually reverse some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Another terpene, myrcene has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, research consistently suggests that terpenes alone may have some incredible health benefits that reach far beyond their aroma.
What are the benefits of terpenes in CBD?
In short– entourage. And no, not the HBO show. Rather, the entourage effect.
In the show, a celebrity runs around with a big crew everywhere he goes. Similarly, in nature, certain compounds do the same thing. In this case, the entourage of compounds that CBD brings with it has an impact on how it works for you.
The entourage effect is the idea that some compounds work better as a group than they do by themselves. It occurs when terpenes, cannabinoids (CBD), and flavonoids all work synergistically to produce a more significant effect in the body than if the compounds were taken separately.
The idea is that if a cannabinoid and a terpene each produce a similar therapeutic effect on their own, when combined, their effects are that much more potent. In other words, terpenes can actually turn up or turn down the volume on the way CBD affects you.
So if you are looking for CBD for sleep, it is a good idea to find a product that combines CBD with terpenes like myrcene and terpinolene, like in the tincture, Dream.
The SOOTHE topical product has a stimulating scent that comes from the inclusion of eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint and menthol. People often rave about the scent of this topical relief balm.
Which terpenes are right for me?
While there are many terpenes in the natural world, scientists have only studied a handful. The terpenes currently most well-known for their strong effects are:
Let’s break down the most prevalent terpenes by how they affect the body and their benefits:
Studies suggest that myrcene has the following properties:
- Sedative effects
This terpene is often used in natural remedies for sleep, inflammation and pain.
As its name suggests, limonene is frequently found in nature as the oil found mainly in the rinds of citrus fruits. This terpene is most often used to ease stress and promote a sense of calm and elevate one’s mood.
This terpene is the most widely-distributed in nature. Pinene is responsible for the distinctive aromas of pine and fir. It has anti-inflammatory properties, but the most compelling aspect of this compound is its newfound potential to support memory.
Terpinolene is commonly found in plants known for pleasant fragrances such as rosemary, lilac and apples. Human studies have identified terpinolene as a potential antioxidant and to have sedative properties. This terpene is being studied to have potential to decrease cell proliferation associated with cancer.
This terpene is best known for creating lavender’s signature relaxing aroma, and is very common in hemp. CBD containing linalool is known to help people relax and have a sense of soothing because of its modulatory activity on glutamate and the neurotransmitter systems in the body.
Humulene is a terpene that many people use to help manage their weight. There are some studies showing that humulene may help decrease appetite. It is also often taken as a pain reliever.
Experience CBD with Terpenes Today
It is clear that terpenes are not only essential to hemp, but to plants and nature as a whole. From smelling specific essential oils, ingesting terpene-rich plants, or even just spending time in areas with high-terpene content may provide some amazing health benefits.
When combined with CBD, they provide a critical boost that achieves more targeted, desired effects, such as pain relief, help sleeping, increase in focus, and more. They are natural compounds and a critical aspect to help receive the full range of benefits CBD has on the body.
If you want to experience the effects of CBD with terpenes, be sure to invest in organic, high-quality CBD products that are backed by authentic third-party lab reports.