article.provider.name Where brands share their insights. What's This?

How Terpenes Make CBD Better

In this guide, learn what terpenes are, what these compounds do, and why Secret Nature makes sure to include as many terpenes as possible in the CBD products they produce.
How Terpenes Make CBD Better
Image credit: Secret Nature

Free Book Preview Cannabis Capital

Learn how to get your business funded in the Cannabis economy!
Brought to you by Secret Nature

The Cannabis sativa plant is home to hundreds of distinct compounds, and only a small percentage of these compounds are cannabinoids. In addition to a variety of lipids and waxes, cannabis and hemp also contain terpenes, aromatic compounds that are also present in a variety of other plant species.

Though often overshadowed by cannabinoids, terpenes are powerful substances in their own right, and they add unique attributes to hemp regardless of which dominant cannabinoid a cannabis strain contains. 

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are oil-based, lipid-soluble compounds found in Cannabis sativa and a variety of other plant species. Along with flavonoids, which are largely water-soluble, terpenes are the primary compounds responsible for providing flowers and other types of flora with their unique aromas. Terpenes also have culinary attributes, and each terpene tastes slightly different. Since these compounds are oil-based, the flavors of terpenes are the most apparent when these substances are vaporized or otherwise gasified.

Every type of Cannabis sativa contains terpenes, and terpenes make up around 1% of the total weight of an average cannabis or hemp strain. Since terpenes are so potently aromatic, even this minuscule concentration is enough to make cannabis highly fragrant. In addition to improving the aroma and flavor profiles of cannabis, terpenes are also believed to have unique benefits that may make both intoxicating and non-intoxicating forms of Cannabis sativa more effective.

Where are terpenes found in nature?

While Cannabis sativa is one of the most well-known sources of terpenes, these beneficial compounds are also present in many different fruit, flower, bush, and tree species. Have you ever stooped down to smell a spray of lavender in full bloom? That distinctive aroma is caused by the terpene linalool. Have you ever crushed a pine needle in your hands and relished the refreshing aroma? Your unique olfactory experience was caused by pinene, another terpene.

Orange peels get their citrusy smell from the terpene limonene, mangoes get their distinctive aroma from the terpene myrcene, and terpenes are also present in hundreds upon hundreds of other plant species. Cannabis may be home to one of the most diverse medleys of terpenes found anywhere in nature, but it is far from the only source of these beneficial, aromatic compounds.

What are the primary benefits of terpenes?

Each terpene has a different chemical structure, so no two terpenes provide the exact same effects. As the result of intensive study, scientists have determined that almost all terpenes might share the same overarching benefits, and specific terpenes may have benefits that are more targeted to certain conditions. Here are some examples of the benefits that terpenes may have to offer whether they’re found in hemp or other plant species:

Antioxidant

Researchers have thoroughly investigated the potential antioxidant properties that terpenes might provide. Some terpenes appear to exert antioxidant properties more strongly than others, but antioxidant activity appears to be a trait that is shared across this entire class of phytochemicals. Antioxidant substances usually also have anti-inflammatory traits, so terpenes have been investigated for their potential to relieve the pain associated with inflammatory conditions like arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Antimicrobial

Many terpenes have been researched for their potential antimicrobial properties. Some terpenes seem to have both antifungal and antibacterial benefits while others appear to strictly target bacteria. Given the rapidly increasing public resistance to conventional antibiotic treatments, which entirely wipe out your gut microbiota and can cause gastrointestinal and immune conditions, natural substances with mild antimicrobial properties are becoming targets of significant scientific investigation.

Pain relief

Limited research indicates that certain terpenes may have analgesic properties. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has embarked on an intensive research program to fully establish the potential pain-fighting properties that terpenes may offer. In particular, it appears that the terpene β-myrcene may provide significant antinociceptive benefits.

Anxiety relief

Preliminary research indicates that certain cannabis terpenes, in particular β-caryophyllene, may have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties. However, research into the potential anxiolytic benefits of terpenes is still in its infancy, and this potential terpene application is mostly supported by anecdotal and indirect evidence. 

Can terpenes make CBD more effective?

It appears that the potential benefits of CBD and terpenes may overlap in significant ways. Like terpenes, CBD has been thoroughly researched for its potential antioxidant, analgesic, and anxiolytic properties. Intriguingly, CBD does not appear to have any significant antimicrobial properties, but terpenes apparently do.

Therefore, it’s possible that terpenes could both boost the effects of CBD and fill in the gaps left behind by the benefits that this cannabinoid does not provide. Of particular note is the fact that full-spectrum CBD oil appears to be more effective than CBD isolate at high doses. 

Researchers generally postulate that this increase in effectiveness is largely due to the presence of minor cannabinoids in full-spectrum hemp extract that isolate extracts do not contain. Limited research suggests, however, that terpenes also play a role in the increased benefits that appear to be provided by the entourage effect. Using CBD products that do not contain terpenes could unnecessarily limit the benefits you’re able to derive from this non-intoxicating cannabinoid.

What are the most important terpenes in hemp?

Myrcene and caryophyllene are the most abundant terpenes found in hemp. Together, these two terpenes are responsible for the “dank” and “spicy” aromas that are commonly associated with cannabis. Limonene is also reasonably abundant in Cannabis sativa, especially in sativa-dominant strains, and this terpene smells and tastes decidedly citrusy. Pinene, which smells just like pine needles, and humulene, which smells like hops, are also reasonably abundant in various strains of cannabis, and other examples of important hemp terpenes include linalool, terpinolene, borneol, and ocimene.

Should CBD vape products contain terpenes?

Vape products that don’t contain terpenes can be inferior for a few reasons. First, a lack of terpenes can indicate that a vape cartridge contains CBD isolate, which is less potent than full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD.

Also, terpenes make CBD vapor taste better, which results in a more enjoyable experience. Lastly, increased concentrations of terpenes may make CBD vape products more effective. Secret Nature CBD vape cartridges contain added live-resin cannabis terpenes for increased flavor and effectiveness. 

What do terpenes do in CBD flower?

The more carefully a Cannabis sativa plant is cultivated, the more terpenes it expresses. Flavorful, aromatic buds are the hallmark of well-grown flower, and happy, fragrant hemp plants usually don’t contain any agricultural toxins or other contaminants.

When you smoke or vape CBD flower that’s rich in terpenes, you inhale gasified terpenes at the same time that you inhale cannabinoids. This combination of active ingredients may provide you with a more potent, enjoyable CBD flower experience. Secret Nature CBD flower is grown indoors using organic cultivation methods, resulting in aromatic, tasty buds.

Terpenes make CBD better.

Terpenes are undeniably potent plant compounds, and we’re just starting to discover all the impressive benefits that these substances may have to offer. Using CBD or other cannabinoids without ingesting terpenes at the same time is a waste, so we recommend that you always use full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD to capture the full benefits of these tasty, aromatic substances. For more information on the terpenes present in Secret Nature products, see this blog post, and contact us if you have any questions.

More from Green Entrepreneur

Brittney's a Certified Financial Planner who can help you manage your business and personal finances and navigate the ups and downs of starting a business.
Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for winning strategies, exclusive features and all the tools you need to strike gold in the Green Rush.

Latest on Green Entrepreneur