In this month’s newsletter we are talking about terpenes, one of the most misunderstood yet important parts of the hemp plant. Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in the essential oils of most plants, flowers, and fruits. They provide aroma, flavor, and various wellness and therapeutic benefits. There are over 20,000 varieties of terpenes that exist in nature, and fortunately the human nose is strong enough to be able to distinguish most of these individual varieties.
Terpenes work by reacting with our body’s endocannabinoid system, which is the network of cellular receptors that help us maintain balance and harmony. Depending on the strain, terpenes can relax you, make you more alert, and have shown to be anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant, and more.
Without terpenes, your tincture oil would simply taste like oil. Most people do not like this, so these terpenes are often added to hemp products to round out their flavors and add wellness benefits. Each terpene has a unique profile, and strong individual strains or blends provide the flavors and aromas you have come to love in your CBD products. While you will see individual terpene isolates in products, combining several terpenes has become popular because the right mixture can create a harmonious tapestry of aromas and flavors.
This is comparable to hops in beer (The flavor and aroma profiles in hops come from terpenes, as well). You might have an IPA featuring the Citra strain of hops, which has strong citrus and floral notes. However, if you take this same IPA and add Mosaic, Amarillo, or other strains of hops, you will end up with a deeper and more complex flavor profile that also balances some of the sharper aspects of the individual strains. It has now become so common for pale ales to have multiple hops that they are labeled as “single hop” when they only use one variety.
We get a lot of questions on terpenes, so we dug into some of the common ones to help clear a few things up:
Do Terpenes get you high?
-No, terpenes do not contain THC and will not get you high by themselves. They will add to the overall effect of CBD (see Entourage effect below), but they are not intoxicating compounds.
What is the entourage effect?
-In basic terms, the effects of CBD are enhanced when you combine it with terpenes and other compounds from the cannabis plant. These elements combine in a synergetic way to provide a whole effect that is greater than the sum of its parts. This also gives the user a more nuanced and well-rounded CBD experience. The entourage effect is often mentioned when describing full-spectrum CBD products, but it can also be obtained with broad-spectrum ones.
How can terpenes be used?
-Manufacturers use them to add flavors and scents to many products besides CBD, such as lotions, perfumes, oils, food, and more.
What are the health benefits of terpenes?
-As stated above, some have been found to be antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidepressant, and more. They can have therapeutic effects, aid sleep, and even help with acid reflux. Effects vary based on concentration and how much a person uses. Terpenes have also been known to mitigate potential negative side effects of both CBD and THC.
How are terpenes extracted?
-The National Cannabis Industry Association recommends the use of botanically derived terpenes. They are often extracted from their sources through a process called steam distillation, where a liquid is evaporated, and the condensation is used to produce condensed versions of the original plant material.
What terpenes should I look for?
-This depends on what you like and what results you are after, but these are five that show up often and have strong effects.
Limonene -Has fruity, citrus aromas and supports focus and balanced mood. It occurs naturally in peels of citrus fruits, fennel, pine, and more. Used in cleaning products and soaps.
Myrcene -The most plentiful terpene found in the cannabis plant. It has a Deep earthy flavor that is perceived as spicy or musky depending on the user. Myrcene occurs naturally in hops, lemongrass, and parsley, and it is used for cosmetics and fragrances. It has been found to assist mood support and provide relief.
Pinene -Features a strong pine scent, hence the name. Pinene is the most common naturally occurring terpene and can be found in pine trees, dill, rosemary, and cannabis. Pinene is used in pesticides and even as a biofuel in spark-ignition engines.
Linalool -A common terpene that has a floral aroma with a spicy twist. Found prominently in lavender and birch bark and is in so many plants that it is estimated most people consume at least two grams of linalool per year through their food. Linalool is known to have calming and sedative properties.
Caryophyllene -Has a spicy and funky aroma. Found in black pepper, basil, and oregano. Caryophyllene has a unique ability to bind to the body’s CB2 cannabinoid receptors and therefore it promotes various wellness benefits.
Do terpenes contain vitamin e or other additives?
-The terpenes we use do not contain vitamin e or any other harmful additive. We source only high potency, filler-free terpenes from companies that clearly display their certifications and documentations.
***The statements regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or ailment. ***