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CBD Explained: What are Terpenes?

by CBD and You on 0 Comments

If you’re familiar with CBD then you might have heard about Terpenes. But what are they exactly, and how can they benefit you?

We look into the importance of Terpenes...

A Terpene definition...

Terpenes are a class of molecules produced by a variety of plants and even some insects. They are the main ingredients of essential oils and give plants their distinctive aromas.

Terpenes and Terpenoids

Both of these terms are relatively the same but generally; Terpene refers to the natural plant, as it is growing; whereas Terpenoids refer to them, after they have been extracted from the plant. Terpenoids are commonly used for the creation of perfumes, essential oils and spices.

Terpenes and CBD

In the Hemp and Cannabis plant, Terpenes are what gives it the distinctive aroma. If you have smelled the buds of the plant or when it is burned, you are picking up the smell of the terpenes. Research shows us that the plant produces up to 36 different terpenes, and a number of flavonoids. The latter is found in most living things, but unlike the name suggests are not responsible for the aroma like terpenes, but actually form the colour nutrients and in particular the distinctive colour formations of the cannabis plant breeds. It's what makes the red in Strawberries or the yellow in Bananas, for example.

Entourage Effect or Ensemble Effect?

The 'Entourage Effect' describes the increased benefit of collective cannabinoids (CBD, CBN, CBG etc.) [1] and terpenes from the plant against a cannabinoid in isolation. This term has been widely used in the CBD community and often relates to products with 'full spectrum' versus some CBD products that are Isolates.

The theory suggests [2] that collectively the cannabinoids and terpenes (from the plant) act with each other to increase the therapeutic properties in an entourage, but Havard Professor, Dr. Lester Grinspoon prefers the term "ensemble." Rather than the cannabinoids working around a particularly important component (CBD), they, in fact, work together in unison - like an Orchestra performing Beethoven's 9th Symphony!

Terpene Wheel 

CBD terpene wheel

Popular Terpenes in Cannabis

Terpenes are not just aromas, they actually have a direct interaction with our bodies as they bind to our CB1 and CB2 receptors, just like Cannabinoids. Let's take a look at some of the most popular terpenes found in the cannabis plant and what they bring to the table...

Pinene - The most common terpenoid found in nature, it has a distinctive aroma of pine and fir. It's anti-inflammatory and is already used in some medicines like Bronchodilator (Asthma) and local antiseptic. In terms of cannabis, it is said to have an effect on memory retention and alertness counteracting the psychoactive effects of THC.

Myrcene - The most common terpenoid found in the cannabis plant, a musky and earthy aroma that can also be found in up to 60% of essential oils. Medicinally, it allows chemicals to cross the blood-brain barrier more easily and is an antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal and reduces inflammation. It's also found in Mango, Thyme, Citrus, Lemongrass and Bay Leaves. It responds well with the CB1 receptor and can enhance the psychoactivity of THC, but can also stimulate sedating and relaxing effects.

Linalool - A floral aroma associated with lavender - it is used for sleep aids in a number of medicines due to its sedating and calming effects. It can boost the immune system, responding well with a number of our body’s receptors.

Humulene - A woody and earthy aroma, associated with hops, it gives your favourite beer its aroma and is considered to be anti-tumour, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, as well as suppressing appetite which is popular in Chinese medicine.

Caryophyllene - A spicy aroma that is found in basil, cloves cinnamon and black pepper. In fact, it's the only terpene known to interact directly with our CB2 receptor of the Endocannabinoid System, as a functional agonist.

Limonene - As the name might suggest, it is a citrus based aroma found in lemons, limes and oranges. It can be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and assists absorption of other terpenes. In cannabis, it is known to elevate mood and relieve stress. The terpenoid is usually the main ingredient in citrus cleaners.

We will look more in depth at these terpenoids and many others that can be found in CBD on this blog soon!

Get your CBD terpenes with...

2 Rise Full Spec Tincture

The 2Rise Naturals Full-Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture contains most of the common terpenes listed above but has a high concentration of Limonene.

Canavape Complete

The luxury range of vape e-liquid from Canavape contain a variety of terpenes, depending on the strain they have derived from. If you are after a specific terpene property then please see the list below as a guide to help you find the right Canavape Complete flavour for you...

Gran Daddy Purple - High in Linalool 
Koko Kush - High in Humulene
Sour Diesel - High in Linalool and Limonene
OG Jane - High in Pinene and Humulene
Pineapple Express - High in Humulene 
Super Sour Haze - High in Limonene 


[1] Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts:
Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts?
John M. McPartland
Ethan B. Russo

[2] Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects
Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Aug; 163(7): 1344–1364.
doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
PMCID: PMC3165946
PMID: 21749363
Ethan B. Russo


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