What Are Terpenes?

If you think of lemons and hemp, what connects these two? Not much right? The aromas of citrus and hemp are both unique, and if you smell or taste it, you can be sure of what it is without seeing it. The primary reason for these intense flavours and aroma is due to terpenes.

What exactly are terpenes?

Terpenes (referred to as terpenoids when exposed to oxidisation), are aromatic metabolites found in the oils of all plants but found in highly concentrated volumes in hemp and marijuana. 

Secreted through plant trichomes, the production of terpenoids evolved over time to originally act as defence against herbivores and to attract pollinators. 

However, today, these compounds can significantly differentiate hemp strains through varying flavour profiles and effects.  

The variety of terpene aroma and flavour profiles is impressive on its own, but arguably the most compelling trait of terpenes is their ability to interact synergistically with cannabinoids like CBD and THC.

As a result, these compounds are said to play a critical role in defining the effects of different strains of cannabis. 

Common terpenes

Below we will run through the most common terpenes found in hemp. Note of the research today primarily relates to pre-clinical studies, due to the lack of research on humans.

Pinene terpene
Myrcene terpene

Pinene: Found in pine trees, citrus fruit and cannabis. Thought to boost focus and improve wakefulness. Studies suggest pinene has anti-inflammatory and pain reducing properties 

Myrcene: Found in mangos, lemongrass and cannabis. Thought to compliment the sedative effects of cannabis indica. Research suggests the compound has anti-inflammatory and pain reducing properties.


Limonene: anxiety, and the promotion of anti-inflammatory effects.

Linalool: Found in lavender and cannabis, and often associated with the smell of fresh flowers and summer. Studies indicate this compound could help reduce anxiety and pain .


Humulene: Herbs such as basil or coriander are rich in humulene. Studies indicate it could have anti-inflammatory properties.

Ocimene: Found in mint, mangos and cannabis. Research indicates it could prove useful for anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal purposes.


Caryophyllene:Found in cinnamon, pepper and cannabis. Studies outline positive results when used in the treatment of anxiety and depression.

Terpinolene:  Found in applies, nutmeg and cannabis, known to act as a sedative when used in conjunction to cannabinoids. Found to be an antioxidant in a recent study.

Interaction with CBD

Terpenes and other essential oils are left behind in products which are considered full spectrum or broad spectrum

Research indicates that these products could prove much more useful than isolated CBD, primarily due to ‘the entourage effect’, where synergies between cannabinoids and terpenes are thought to increase overall efficacy.

This effect is one of the reasons full and broad spectrum are the two most popular formats of CBD. 

Don’t worry, If you are using products with little terpenes, you can be add these (diluted) to your CBD should you wish to.

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Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Nature & Bloom and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention for any disease. Nature & Bloom products have not been evaluated by the MHRA.