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How Terpenes Enhance The Effects Of CBD

How Terpenes Enhance The Effects Of CBD

CBD oil is becoming increasingly popular as a natural remedy for issues ranging from chronic pain to insomnia. Found in the hemp or cannabis plant, CBD in and of itself can be remarkably effective. But CBD (cannabidiol) is just one type of organic compound (specifically a “cannabinoid”) found in these plants. Terpenes can compliment and enhance the effect of CBD creating remarkable benefits on the body.

Since the study of terpenes is relatively new, much confusion abounds over what exactly a hemp or cannabis terpene is. Does a terpene profile differ by hemp or cannabis strain? What exactly is “terpene oil,” and how does it differ from an essential oil? And what do these funny names like linalool and limonene mean? Read on.

What are terpenes?

What exactly are terpenes? Terpenes are connected to essential oils, but they are not quite the same. Here’s a definition: terpenes are molecular compounds in plants that give each plant its unique smell. They are part of the terpenoid family of organic compounds.

The purpose of the common terpene is to promote the health of the plant by attracting pollinating insects such as honeybees while repelling predators.

Each different terpene creates a unique smell, which is why oranges smell different than roses. The unique terpene content in each plant also provides helpful healing properties. 

Where are terpenes found?

Terpenes are commonly found in plants, and this includes hemp and cannabis plants. Each unique cannabis strain has a different terpene profile or mix of terpenes, which results in a different smell. Other plants have their own unique terpene profile. For example, pine trees contain pinene and orange peels contain limonene.

You don’t need to understand all the technical details of terpenes, such as what an “isoprene unit” is, in order to benefit from them. 

Terpenes can be extracted from plants, just like CBD, and used therapeutically. This is why terpenes are included in many premium CBD products. The cannabis industry is recognizing the benefits of terpenes more and more. So what you really need to know is whether or not your CBD oil or CBD product contains terpenes.

What are the richest sources of terpenes in the plant kingdom?

Both cannabis and hemp are some of the richest sources of terpenes in the plant kingdom. Hemp alone has more than two hundred different kinds of terpenes that have been identified. Each one of these terpenes has a potentially unique effect on the human body. As modern science learns more about terpenes, we have discovered that they appear to have a synergistic beneficial effect with cannabinoids such as CBD. 

How are terpenes similar to essential oils?

Think of terpenes as the building blocks of your favorite essential oils. Essential oils naturally contain terpenes, which is why they smell so good. Thus, many of the benefits you receive from your favorite essential oil can also be garnered from terpenes, from relaxation to headache relief. 

For example, one of the most common terpenes is pinene, which makes pine and fir trees smell so good. Pure pine essential oil delivers that distinct aroma via pinene. Pinene has many positive benefits, including being antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It may also help boost memory.


The benefits of terpenes

Terpenes enhance the effect of CBD.  They are bioactive organic compounds, which means they can affect the human body. Many of these effects are highly positive and beneficial for our health. If you’ve ever felt uplifted by the scent of lavender, lilacs, or roses, then you have experienced the therapeutic benefits of terpenes. 

What are the benefits of terpenes?

Terpenes have applications beyond aromatherapy and have specific medicinal benefits when used topically or orally. (Note: in general, essential oils should not be ingested internally.)

For example, terpenes such as myrcene have anti-inflammatory properties. Promising research indicates that the terpene linalool could help treat Alzheimer’s. 

The potential benefits of terpenes are endless. Botanical scientists are discovering more and more about terpenes and terpene profiles of flora such as the hemp plant. As they do, more therapeutic applications of terpenes will likely be discovered.

How does CBD effect the benefits of terpenes?

While you can purchase CBD products that just contain the CBD isolate, a broad-spectrum CBD oil or product that contains additional cannabinoids and terpenes can enhance the effect of CBD. (Check out our CBD glossary for more information on cannabinoids.) 

How do you determine which terpenes are right for you?

Which terpenes are right for me? With so many terpenes out there, it might be confusing to figure out which one would be best. While each terpene has unique qualities, they also work synergistically with cannabinoids and other terpenes. You might also be confused about whether there is a difference between a hemp or cannabis terpene.

First, when a terpene is isolated, it is exactly the same on a molecular level whether it comes from a hemp or cannabis strain. Thus, hemp myrcene is the same as cannabis myrcene. Thus, the main difference between various broad-spectrum CBD formulas is the combination of cannabinoids and its terpene profile.

If you want to select an individual terpene for personal use, check out its properties. For example, limonene has potential benefits for a variety of concerns, including weight loss, infection fighting, and even cancer.

When using terpenes for issues such as anxiety, observe its effect on you. If you notice that a certain scent, such as lilac, seems to relax you the most, then you may have a particular affinity for its main terpene.

You can also purchase CBD formulas with terpenes made with the guidance of botanical science to target specific problem areas. In this case, you don’t need to worry about figuring out the exact combination of specific terpenes. Just choose a broad-spectrum CBD product for your needs. For example, our FOCUS formula is designed to help with brain function. 

How terpenes work

How do terpenes work? Common terpenes, such as those found in citrus fruit like limonene, interact with the body’s chemistry to modulate physiological processes. They are found in pretty much every plant, so you already eat them daily. The terpenes in essential oils also create those lovely smells that have a positive impact on our mood.

When it comes to CBD oil and other products, terpenes can enhance the effects of CBD — working synergistically by supporting the subtle actions of the cannabinoids (such as CBD), flavonoids, and other aromatic compounds in the hemp or cannabis plant. This is called the entourage effect. 

What is the entourage effect, and how does it apply to terpenes?

Scientists have discovered an interesting property of cannabis-derived terpenes called the entourage effect. In short, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The combination of cannabinoids like CBD, various terpenes, and flavonoids has a greater therapeutic effect than a specific terpene.

Why do terpenes work better as a compound?

First, let’s get our definitions straight. The term “compound” has multiple meanings when it comes to terpenes. On a molecular level, terpenes are known as molecular compounds, because they have more than one type of element in them. On a macro level, a “compound” can refer to a group of terpenes that create a unique terpene profile.

As explained with the entourage effect, the more the merrier when it comes to terpenes (in general). Thus, while you can potentially get benefits from a terpene such as linalool in isolation, it often works best in combination with other terpenes. 

Can there be a dominant terpene in a terpene profile? Absolutely, and this could be a factor in why you’d use one type of broad-spectrum CBD over another.

How do terpenes alter the ways that CBD can affect a person?

The entourage effect is often associated with the combination of THC and CBD, but you don’t need mind-altering THC to benefit from the entourage effect. Terpenes  can enhance the effect of CBD and make it more potent. (This may also be why different cannabis strains are more potent than others.)

The best ways to use terpenes

With so many therapeutic applications, what are the best ways to use terpenes? Should you get CBD oil or terpene oil? What about hemp versus cannabis terpene?

What are the best ways to use terpenes?

First, we recommend a broad-spectrum CBD product that includes both terpenes and CBD for maximum effect. You can choose between a CBD product that you take internally (make sure you read up on dosage) or apply topically.

When should you ingest terpenes?

In general, we do not recommend ingesting isolated terpene concentrate directly. This is because terpenes (like essential oils) can be irritating to the digestive tract. Very high terpene levels can also potentially become toxic, just like any substance you overconsume (including water). 

Generally, however, you simply benefit more from a more holistic approach.

In nature, terpenes are part of the whole plant. The entourage effect not only makes the terpenes more effective when part of a greater whole—it makes them safer. For example, eating the cannabis plant is safer and generally more effective than consuming an isolated terpene. 

Additionally, whether derived from cannabis or hemp, a broad-spectrum product with terpenes will enhance the effect of CBD.

When should you apply terpenes topically?

The simple answer about oral versus topical treatments is this: use topical treatments to treat a specific area of the body. Topical application of botanical terpenes is particularly helpful if you have chronic joint pain, arthritis, or skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, or sunburn. 

Look for a hemp or cannabis product with a terpene profile that fits the condition, such as anti-inflammatory for swelling or analgesic for pain relief. (Our SOOTHE topical product includes essential oils of eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint, which contain anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving terpenes.) 

Terpenes that enhance CBD for sleep

Wondering about terpenes for sleep? Terpenes can greatly improve sleep quality, especially when combined with CBD oil. In fact, CBD products that contain a rich terpene profile are much more effective than CBD isolate alone in treating sleep problems such as insomnia or apnea.

Which terpenes are best for sleep?

Two of the best sedating terpenes are myrcene and terpinolene. Other terpenes that can promote relaxation and sleep are limonene and linalool. Even humulene, best known for weight management due to its ability to decrease appetite, may help with sleep due to its pain-relieving qualities.

What are the other benefits of myrcene?

Found in hops, lemongrass, basil, and even mangos, myrcene has been shown in studies to have sedative, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibiotic properties.

Who would benefit from using terpinolene?

Terpinolene is found in apples, lilac, and rosemary. In addition to having antioxidant properties, terpinolene can generate a sedative effect and thus can serve as a sleep aid. Research has also indicated it may decrease cancerous cell growth

Terpenes that enhance CBD for anxiety

Anxiety used to be difficult to treat except with pharmaceutical medications, but CBD and terpenes are now providing a more natural alternative. Fortunately, terpenes for anxiety have shown to be very effective in reducing the symptoms of the condition. This is why different terpenes are often included in the best CBD products for anxiety. CBD oil without terpenes may be less effective.

Which terpenes are good for anxiety?

Many terpenes can help alleviate anxiety, including linalool and limonene. Hemp and cannabis terpenes that may alleviate anxiety also include myrcene and terpinolene, which have sedating effects. Additional anxiety-fighting terpenes include caryophyllene and pinene.

What are the properties of linalool?

If you love the smell of lavender, you have linalool to thank. This terpene is responsible for the distinct and soothing smell of lavender. Linalool can also be found in hemp! Linalool creates a relaxation effect that occurs due to its ability to modulate glutamate and neurotransmitters. 

What are the properties of limonene?

Limonene is a common terpene found in citrus fruit. It can help with anxiety treatment due to its ability to help reduce stress, elevate the mood, and create a feeling of calm. When combined with cannabinoids such as CBD, limonene can provide welcome relief from anxiety.

Using terpenes to enhance CBD

Wisdom Essentials
Wisdom Essentials family of quality enhanced CBD products

Terpenes can enhance the effect of CBD and create extremely powerful formulas that can boost mood, alleviate pain, and improve sleep. By using terpenes along with CBD, a positive, synergistic effect is created.  This is why our high-quality CBD tinctures, backed by authentic third-party lab reports, contain broad-spectrum CBD with terpenes.

Check out our online store for high-quality CBD products that include terpenes for optimal health.