Terpenes

While you may have never heard of terpenes, chances are you’ve interacted them your whole life. Simply put, terpenes are what make things smell – yet, they are so much more than that. If you are familiar with “essential oils” you already have some experience with terpenes… For example, limonene is in the essential oil of lemons and limes. Alpha and beta-pinene are found in the essential oil of pine needles. While terpenes are responsible for giving the pine forrest its notorious aroma, they are also responsible for the relaxing effects of lavender and when combined in different concentrations, can elicit an astonishing variety of effects. Currently there are over 20,000 known terpenes in the natural world and the cannabis plant has more than 100 of these present within it.
Here are some you should know:

Myrcene – The most abundant terpene in cannabis – making up as much as 65% of the total terpene profile for most strains. It is described as having a fruity, red-grape like aroma with earthy and musky undertones. Myrcene has been reported to effectively reduce inflammation and aide in the reduction of chronic pain, and is commonly recommended as a supplement for those undergoing cancer treatments.
Limonene – The second most abundant terpene in most strains of cannabis, but not all strains contain it. As the name suggests, limonene produces a citrusy smell that resembles lemons.  This comes as no surprise as all citrus fruits contain large concentrations of the terpene, and it can be found in many household cleaning products as well as cosmetics. Limonene is known to improve mood and reduce stress and has also been found to have antibacterial properties.
Linalool – The terpene most responsible for the notorious smell of marijuana. Linalool can also be found in lavender, mint, cinnamon and coriander at various concentrations. It exhibits very strong sedative and relaxing properties that have led doctors to recommend this terpene as an aide to those suffering from arthritis, depression, seizures, and insomnia.
Caryophyllene – This is the only terpene that will actually bind to cannabinoid receptors within the body, and while it exhibits anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties like other terpenes, many are finding it an effective tool for alcohol rehabilitation.  This unique aspect of caryophyllene make it a hot topic of research in the scientific community.
Pinene – As the name may suggest, pinene smells like pine trees, and can be found in large concentrations in rosemary, basil parsley and even orange peels. It exists in two varieties, alpha, which produces the aroma of pine, and beta, which is what’s more commonly found in  spices. Pinene can improve airflow and respiratory function, but also can interestingly help reduce memory loss related to chronic intake of THC.
Bisabolol – This terpene has a pleasant floral aroma and can be found in chamomile flower and the candeia tree. It is most commonly utilized in the cosmetic industry as an agent to help ingredients reach deeper levels of the skin, but is showing promise in the medical field as an effective tool for treating bacterial infections and wounds.
Humulene – Commonly found in hops, humulene can also be found in clove, sage and black pepper and is described as having an earthy, woody and spicy profile.  Early research has shown it can be an effective tool in the reduction of inflammation, fight bacterial infections and there is more data coming forth that it may be an efficient appetite suppressant.
Carene – Found in a number of plants like rosemary, basil, bell peppers, cedar and pine, carene has a sweet aroma and resembles the smell of a cyprus tree. It is most commonly used in supplements as an aide to memory retention but is also showing promise in the medical sphere as an aide to healing broken bones, giving some relief to sufferers of osteoporosis, arthritis and even fibromyalgia.
Camphene – Often mistaken with myrcene, this terpene is described as having musky, earthy tones and resembles the smell of fir needles. It is used in combination with vitamin C as a common topical skincare option and shows powerful antioxidant properties. Camphene may also reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, making it a viable tool for those at risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Borneol – Used in traditional Chinese acupuncture, this terpene has an herbal, minty scent and can be found in rosemary, mint and camphor. Some use borneo as a natural insect repellent, and it can be found in many places of the world as a preventative tool for avoiding West Nile Virus.
Terpineol – This terpene has a pleasant scent similar to lilac, and is a common ingredient in perfumes, cosmetics and flavor additives.  It exhibits antibiotic and anti-oxidant properties, and also is used as a sedative and relaxing agent for those suffering from sleep disorders.
Valencene – As it name may reveal, this terpene is found most abundantly in Valencia oranges.  It is described as having a citrusy aroma and taste, and is found in cosmetics as well as natural insect repellents.
Geraniol – Found in lemons and tobacco, its smell is reminiscent of rose grass, peaches and plums. Geraniol is widely used in aromatic bath products and body lotions and shows great promise as a neuro-protectant and antioxidant.

So…what does this mean for CBD?

The Entourage Effect is a real phenomenon that scientists and researchers are learning more about every day. It points to the naturally synergistic nature of cannabinoids and terpenes, and how different combinations of these chemical constituents can produce drastically different effects. In the case of CBD Oil, terpenes can lend the natural “earthy” flavors most people associate with ingestible CBD – but they can also lend various added benefits based on whichever plant strain the CBD was extracted from. For instance, a CBD product extracted from a Hemp plant with naturally high levels of the terpenes Linalool and Myrcene may be a better sleep aide, while a CBD extracted from a plant with higher levels of Camphene and Caryophyllene may have better anti-inflammatory properties. Determining what strain of plant your CBD comes from is admittedly easier said than done. However, any credible source of CBD products will be able to produce what’s called a certificate of analysis for you to review.  Here, you will find a breakdown of cannabinoids present within the CBD you’re considering which will help you make a better and more informed decision.

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