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CBD terpenes | Danu Apothecary

August 19

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What are Terpenes, and Why do They Matter?

By Libby Murphy

August 19, 2020


When searching for the best cannabis products to try, you’ve likely come across the term, terpenes. For many, they’re a mystery, but we’re going to demystify these very important compounds so that you can make more informed decisions when you’re buying CBD products.

Terpenes: The Basics

If you’ve ever inhaled the aroma of fresh lavender or pine needles, you’ve experienced terpenes at work. Terpenes are compounds in plants that lend aromatic qualities, both good and…well, maybe not so good. But they do far more than provide smells and flavors to plants. These aromas can repel predators, heal damage, encourage proliferation, and even protect the plant’s leaves from too much sunlight. On the cannabis plant, they can be found in the little hair-like trichomes on the plant.

photo by Ryan Lange

The aromas produced can be subtle or strong, and more than 20,000 types have been identified to date. When it comes to terpenes in cannabis, more than 100 have been identified so far.  With more research actively being conducted on them, we’re gaining a better understanding of potential benefits they may produce for the user and how they interact with cannabinoids.

Why Cannabinoid and Terpene Profiles Matter

It’s one thing to use CBD, but when it comes to the endocannabinoid system, terpenes can play a larger role in how cannabinoids interact with the body because of the entourage effect. Using cannabinoids as an example, the entourage effect means that the effect of cannabis is greater when combined with terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids than when using a CBD isolate. This is why using a broad-spectrum or full-spectrum product is so important–it contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other beneficial compounds that work together to create a greater effect.

Cannabis strains can contain numerous terpenes and terpenoids, so when you’re searching for CBD oil or other products to use, take a look at the product’s third-party lab testing. This will tell you the terpene profile for each product, and help you decide if it’s the right one for you. Whether you’re shopping for CBD online or in a brick-and-mortar shop, these reports should be available to you (if not, you may not be getting everything you’re hoping for). And don’t be afraid to ask!

This profile can be important because if you’d prefer a CBD tincture that has relaxing effects, but the terpenes are more likely to make you feel energized, you might not be happy with the result. Think of it like you would essential oils, where lavender can have a calming effect and sweet orange can put a little pep in your step. The same concept applies here!

Common Terpenes Found in CBD

Now you’re probably interested in which terpenes to seek out. We’ll go over some of the basics of the most common terpenes found in CBD here! Before we do, it’s very important to keep in mind that this is an emerging field of study and this information is not intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any health issues.

  • Limonene: citrusy, associated with supporting stress and anxiety relief.
  • Geraniol: floral and fruity, with antioxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties.
  • Ocimene: earthy, with anti-inflammatory and immune support.
  • Terpenine: tea tree, with antioxidant properties.
  • Eucalyptol: eucalyptus, with antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and analgesic properties.
  • Guaiol: smoky and woodsy, with anesthetic, expectorant, and antiseptic properties.
  • Caryophyllene: woodsy, with anti-bacterial, analgesic, anxiolytic, and anti-depressant properties.
  • Linalool: lavender, with analgesic, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, and sedative properties.
  • Humulene: spicy, with analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anorectic properties.
  • Pinene: pine, with anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
  • Myrcene: fruity/clove, with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties.
  • Camphene: camphor, with analgesic, antioxidant, and antibiotic properties.
  • Nerolidol: floral, with anti-parasitic, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and anxiolytic properties.

We hope this has given you a better understanding of what terpenes are and how they could interact with the body. We also encourage you to take a look at our products’ third-party lab testing results to see which are in the CBD products you use, as well. This research makes cannabis products even more interesting, and we look forward to adding more to this list as our product line grows.

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