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14th April 2020

What Are Terpenes and Why Are They Important?

When you hear people discussing CBD and hemp plants, you might also have heard the word ‘terpenes’ being used. Terpenes are another important part of the cannabis plant and can also be present in CBD products, so we take a look at what terpenes are and why they are important. 

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are a group of organic compounds that are produced by a variety of plants, including conifers and citrus trees. The fragrance of most plants is determined by the combination of terpenes they produce.

Terpenes can be used in the creation of everyday products such as perfumes and body products as they can be isolated to add scent and flavour.

In the cannabis plant, terpenes are secreted in the same glands that produce cannabinoids such as CBD. They have a distinctive aroma which is present in order to attract pollinators and deter predators from consuming the plant.

Over 100 different types of terpene have been identified in the cannabis plant, and these all produce different scents.

How are terpenes different to cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are generally known because they interact with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), the system in the body which keeps everything balanced and maintains homeostasis. THC, for example, is the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis which causes a person to get high. CBD is not psychoactive but is thought to assist the ECS in keeping our body balanced.

Related article: How Does CBD Affect the Endocannabinoid System?

Terpenes are not generally thought of as interacting with the endocannabinoid system in the same way. Instead, they are primarily responsible for creating the aroma. However, some people believe that terpenes could enhance the effects of cannabinoids (we look at this in more detail below.

Which CBD products include terpenes?

Terpenes will not be present in all CBD products because with some, CBD is extracted from the other compounds in the cannabis plant and mixed with carrier oils etc.

You are likely to find terpenes in broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products where the other compounds in the plant are kept in.

Related article: What is Full-Spectrum CBD and Is it Right for You?

Why are terpenes considered beneficial?

As we’ve discussed, terpenes are primarily known for their strong scents and so they often form the basis of essential oils used for aromatherapy. It is therefore thought that, if included in certain oils and inhaled, they could impact your mood and stress levels.

We mentioned above that some people believe terpenes enhance the effects of CBD. That is why they are included in some broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD products on the market.

At the moment, more research still needs to be done into this particular aspect of the cannabis plant. However, several people have discussed the ‘entourage effect’ when it comes to cannabis terpenes.

The entourage effect is a proposed mechanism where there is a benefit to all of the various compounds in the cannabis plant working together. This includes terpenes, which are found naturally in the plant. It is believed by some that terpenes will enhance the effects of CBD in the body.

We hope this blog has helped you understand what terpenes are and why they might be present in certain CBD products. For more information on the different types of CBD, you can browse the CBD Products section of our blog.