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: 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 terpene
lavaender linalool

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 leaves
ociemene terp

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.

caryiphyllene terp
terpinolene terp

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.

How to use terpenes

When shopping for terpenes, you will notice how expensive they are, and how small the bottles are – this is because of how little you need to use.

Always dilute terpenes before use and never use them neat!

Terpenes can be added to your usual CBD vape juice, CBD oil or concentrate. They work in synergy with the cannabinoids in your product and promote the wellness benefits of CBD.

For example, 1ml of terpenes is more than enough for between 2-10 bottles of 10ml CBD oil (depending on your preference for taste, effect).

Usually, between 1% – 5% dilution works well. Always measure out what you intend to use and use less than you intend to at first. Give it a try, and if you like it/want to add more if you add too much the flavour can be intense, and you cannot go back without adding more vape juice/oil.

Terpenes and 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. 

Nonetheless, adding terpenes to products which are not cannabis related or lack a particular profile is becoming more common too. Especially in the use of CBD concentrates, and products targeting specific wellness benefits vs a generalised formula. 

Cannabis terpene profiles

It’s common to detect multiple terpenes in cannabis and various concentrations of each. Some strains are particularly high in one particular terp, whereas others contain a more balanced combination.

Cannabis connoisseurs have long valued these terpene profiles and used them to charge up a pre-existing cannabis-based product or to add them to something completely unrelated such as a bath bomb.

Some of these strain-specific profiles are reproduced as botanical blends based on plant-derived terpenes. Fortunately, this process is being mirrored in products derived from low THC hemp.

Slowly European brands are starting to utilise terps to create strain-specific CBD oils and vapes, for night/day and ‘feeling’ specific blends.

Let’s run through some of the top three most popular terpene blends and why they are in such high demand.

Grandaddy purple strain

grandaddy purple

First introduced in California in 2003, Grandaddy purp (GDP) is known for being an indica heavy strain with a sweet berry taste.

GDP contains myrcene, caryophyllene and pinene. It’s known for being a relaxing terpene blend and is frequently added to CBD concentrates and vape oil as a night friendly option.

We are big fans of this terpene profile, and it features across our CBD concentrate assortment.

OG kush strain

woody

Initially cultivated in Florida in the 1990s, this sativa dominant strain has an earthy taste attributed to its terps.

OGK contains myrcene, limonene and caryophyllene. It’s well established in cannabis circles as a flavourful strain, and the terpene profile suggests it has an earthy but citrusy flavour.

Again, anecdotal reports suggest it’s a relaxing and soothing blend.

Pineapple express strain

pineapple express strain

The other two profiles we have mentioned in this post are geared more towards evening use.

If you are looking for a daily daytime driver, pineapple express might be the one for you!

The pineapple express strain is known to have an energising and sativa terpene profile, with a sweet and tropical taste. Users report it as being uplifting and useful for use during the daytime.

Top tips

You might have noticed, the terpenes featured in some of the most popular blends for adding to CBD are all focused towards unwinding.

Although the terps are often repeated through strains, the different concentrations give different effect and taste profiles. When shopping for terpenes, use these three top tips to find what works for you:

  • Strain-specific terpenes are the most popular, as they contain the right concentrations to mirror pre-existing cannabis strains. Look for reviews of the strains to check what might be right for you.
  • If you are adding terpenes to products yourself, use our guide and always dilute them – never use them neat! 
  • A little goes a long way, err on the side of caution as you can ALWAYS add more to a mix later!

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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.

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