Everything you need to know about terpenes

Have you ever heard of a terpene? From the foods we eat, to the scents we adore; terpenes play a key yet almost invisible role in the world around us, even in that CBD bottle you've got perched in your pantry. Learn about these fantastic compounds, their relation to CBD, as well as their importance in the entourage effect.

27 October 2022

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What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are a diverse class of organic compounds that are commonly found in plants. These compounds are responsible for the distinct aromas and flavours of plants.

There are over 20,000 different types of terpenes found in nature – Terpenes are commonly discussed in relation to CBD products because cannabis plants contain a high concentration of different types of terpenes, with more than 100 identified in the cannabis plant alone.

Each type of terpene has a unique chemical structure that gives it a distinct aroma and potential effects. For example, Linalool is a terpene found in lavender that is known for its calming properties, as well as the distinct and famous lavender scent.

Limonene, another example of terpene, is found in citrus fruits and is known for its uplifting and energising effects.

What do terpenes do?

Terpenes are found in various parts of a plant, such as the leaves, flowers, fruits, and roots. They play important roles in growth, development, and defence.

More specifically, terpenes contribute to the plant’s defence against herbivores and pests, as well as against environmental stressors such as drought, high temperatures, and UV radiation. They also attract pollinators and seed dispersers through their previously mentioned aromas and flavours.

Terpenes are also involved in the production of essential oils, such as lavender oil or tea tree oil, which have been used for medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic purposes for thousands of years.

CBD & Terpenes

When terpenes are consumed alongside other cannabinoids, such as CBD, they can work together to produce the entourage effect.

This phenomenon is the result of the combined effects of multiple compounds working together to produce a more potent and supportive effect towards the body than any one compound alone.

This means that to get the most out of CBD, it is essential that you choose a CBD product that contains other cannabinoids and terpenes as well, such as Broad-Spectrum CBD. (Read more on our article about the different types of CBD!)

In addition to their role in providing the entourage effect, terpenes have recently become famous for their perceived ability to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system directly without the presence of CBD.

For example, Beta-caryophyllene, a terpene found in black pepper and other plants, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Other terpenes, such as Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene, may have potential anti-carcinogenic properties.

The effects of Terpenes

The effects of terpenes can vary depending on the individual and the concentration in which they are consumed.

However, as previously mentioned, additional research is required to fully understand the potential supportive qualities of terpenes, and their interactions with other compounds.

We believe that terpenes have a bright future in the wellness industry, and will play an integral role in advancing what we know of the human body, and understanding how to improve our wellbeing in our day-to-day lives in a more natural manner.