Whether it’s a tincture, topical, edible, capsule, lip balm, vape distillate or other CBD supplement, there could be more in that product than just CBD. If it has a pleasant aroma like limes or flowers, it might be because of infused terpenes. Let’s describe what terpenes are, and what role they play in CBD.
1. What else might be in my CBD product?
Your CBD Product may include terpenes. Terpenes are chemical compounds in the flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruits of many plants. Yes, THC-rich cannabis and its cousin, CBD-rich hemp are included. Each terpene naturally emits a distinctive aroma and flavor, such as citrus, floral, spice or musk. Extraction of terpenes from plants produces certain essential oils! You’ve likely seen essential oils infused into perfumes, cosmetics, medicines and many other products, as well as in aromatherapy. Scientists have identified more than 200 different terpenes from cannabis family plants, but only a handful might be dominant in CBD products.
A CBD product may also have flavonoids. These chemicals are closely related to terpenes but are not very well-understood. Flavonoids are partly responsible for a flower’s or fruit’s pigmentation and add to its aroma. They can even influence the body in the same way terpenes do. Such a collaborative arrangement among CBD molecules, terpenes and flavonoids—in which each performs best as part of an ensemble rather than separately—is called the “entourage effect.”
2. How do terpenes work with CBD?
Enhancing the effects of CBD on the body, as well as offering a pleasant aroma, are the role of terpenes. As ingredients in a CBD product, terpenes may help customers seek relief from conditions like chronic pain or anxiety. Still, it’s a fact that CBD has not been approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement, and CBD processors and sellers can’t make claims about its medical benefits.
Certain terpenes can increase CBD’s effects on the nervous system’s receptors, which are part of the endocannabinoid system that regulates a host of biological functions in mammals. It is believed that CBD molecules can’t bind or attach to these receptors but only reduce or inhibit other molecules. However, a CBD product’s terpene molecules can bind to the receptors and magnify the effects of CBD. Some terpenes might be able to boost the absorption of CBD in the bloodstream and speed directly to the location of pain or distress.
3. Are there terpenes in every CBD product?
Not always. In some cases, terpenes are removed early during processing and added back later. Products labeled as “broad spectrum” include every chemical compound in the hemp plant, except for THC. “Full spectrum” products include every chemical compound in the hemp plant, as well as < 0.3% THC.These fuller spectrum products might include terpenes that produce an aroma and flavor you’re drawn to. However, if the product has an “isolate,” label it won’t have any terpenes, just CBD.
A certain product, such as a tincture to take sublingually, may smell and taste better to you because it includes certain terpenes, and perhaps food-grade and other flavoring. Or, you might prefer an isolate that doesn’t include any terpenes. If a CBD product has been tested by a third party, the store should be able to show you a Certificate of Analysis that lists which terpenes and other ingredients are present in the product.
4. What terpenes should I know about?
CBD products have different terpenes to create a characteristic profile and produce potential effects, depending on why and how you’re taking it. Here are six of the most common terpenes and the effects that customers might anticipate:
· Caryophyllene— Often described as woody, spicy or peppery, this terpene is found in plentiful quantities in cannabis family plants. Because caryophyllene is uniquely thought to interact directly with the endocannabinoid system, some customers tout its use in the relief of chronic pain and anxiety due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
· Myrcene—As cannabis’ signature scent of musky, earthy or herbal, this terpene is present in products containing high THC content. Myrcene is found in CBD, and said to have antibiotic and sedative qualities.
· Humulene—With an earthy and woody smell, also found in hops, this terpene might be able to help some customers suppress their appetite or reduce inflammation.
· Pinene—This terpene’s scent, found in pine needles, might make you think of evergreen trees. Potential effects of pinene in some customers include increasing mental alertness, reducing anxiety, easing pain and fighting bacteria.
· Limonene—Its profile is the fruity, citrusy scent of oranges, lemons and limes. In addition to antioxidant qualities, limonene could help some customers relieve anxiety, improve mood and reduce inflammation.
· Linalool— This terpene is often an ingredient in scented candles and aromatherapy as a way to relieve stress. It smells like lavender. Linalool might offer a variety of antidepressant, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects for some customers.