August 26, 2022 5 min read


Cannabis plants contain over a hundred and twenty cannabinoids known as phytocannabinoids, including CBD. These plants also contain terpenes and flavonoids. So, what are terpenes, and why should you add them to CBD oil.

CBD is obtained from hemp, specifically from the leaves, flowers, stems, and roots. Its molecule has a long chain of phospholipid layers that makes it insoluble in water but soluble in other solvents such as ethanol and alcohol. The US allows CBD products with up to 0.3 % THC, while the UK allows up to 0.2 %. CBD oil is processed into full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolates. These compounds vary in composition, concentration, and processing. Broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oils are known to contain all hemp extracts, with the latter containing varying levels of THC. These two forms also contain terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids, which affect the final CBD oil's taste, aroma, and appearance. This article focuses on terpenes.

CBD Terpenes

Cannabis contains over 500 phytochemicals, 140 of which are terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic, highly volatile compounds found in all plants, not just cannabis. However, cannabis is particularly rich in these molecules. Terpenes are responsible for the smell and taste of these plants. Hundreds of terpenes have been identified worldwide, with over 100 linked to hemp plants. The primary reason for the surge in interest in terpenes is the additional health benefits. However, only a few terpenes found in hemp are significant concentrations important for health benefits. Researchers have been studying their therapeutic potential for decades. Beck & Gregorini (2020) concluded that they have a lot to offer regarding users' physiological and emotional well-being. For example, aromatherapy has been used for centuries due to its holistic and natural effects.

Are Terpenes and Terpenoids the Same

People frequently use the terms "terpenes" and "terpenoids" interchangeably. Terpenes and terpenoids have chemical structures that are slightly different. The former is found in trichomes (hormonal glands) on the surface of living cannabis plants. In contrast, terpenoids form when the herb is dried and cured. These two processes alter the molecular structure of terpenes. Terpenoids are frequently mixed with other natural ingredients to make perfumes, essential oils, and spices. , According to Finlay et al. (2020), terpenoids can lower, increase, or change the potency and duration of the effects induced by cannabinoids and give the buds their distinct fragrances and flavors. Simply put, terpenes modulate the effects of CBD; otherwise, they would be bland, and its benefits would be diminished.

Safety of Taking Terpenes

Terpenes are generally thought to be safe. These organic substances can have various health benefits. For example, terpenes can indirectly increase dopamine levels, improving mood. Terpenes are also known for their stress-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, they enhance the therapeutic properties of cannabis. However, more research is needed to determine whether terpenes' therapeutic effects are clinically significant. Certain terpenes can also cause allergic reactions in some people. Although these compounds are not harmful, they can cause allergies when inhaled. Therefore, if your nose becomes runny after interacting with certain aromas, this could indicate allergies.

Types of CBD Terpenes and Their Benefits

Linalool: reduces Stress and Anxiety

Linalool is a terpene found in lavender and birch bark. It has a lavender scent and a spiciness to it. It's also a common terpene found in over 200 different plant species. Linalool is well-known for its sedative effect on stress and anxiety. According to Kamatou & Viljoen (2008), linalool has a sedative effect by decreasing sympathetic nerve activity and increasing parasympathetic nerve activity. Linalool is well-known for its stress-relieving properties. Still, when researchers investigated how linalool interacts with users’ cells and receptors, they discovered several targets relevant to Alzheimer's disease treatment, including anticholinergic, neuroprotective, and antioxidant properties. Although this is exciting, more research is needed to determine how linalool affects our mental state in the face of anxiety and stress.

Humulene: An Anti-Inflammatory Agent

A-humulene, also known as alpha humulene, is a terpene classified as a monocyclic sesquiterpene. It is an essential component of the essential oils found in flowering cones of flower hop plants. Alpha humulene can also be found in cannabis and hemp plants and their extracted oils in high concentrations of up to 40%. Several conductive studies have been conducted to identify an anti-inflammatory compound with the potential to treat allergies. While more conclusive evidence is needed, Bakır et al. (2008) suggested that alpha humulene appears to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent.

Beta-Caryophyllene: Therapeutic Pain Reliever

Beta-Caryophyllene is a common and abundant terpene found in cannabis. Because it directly interacts with the Endocannabinoid System, specifically the CB2 receptor, it is known to act as a cannabinoid. Fungi, cloves, hops, rosemary, and copaiba contain beta-caryophyllene. It has a distinct flavor of black pepper spiciness. According to AZ & O'Radio (2008), beta-caryophyllene is a "therapeutic target for treating inflammation, pain, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis." Scientists injected caryophyllene into mice and discovered that they experienced less pain than those who were not injected in the same environment.


Another common terpene in cannabis is myrcene. It has a strong, earthy, and fruity scent. Despite being the smallest terpene, it can help cannabinoids cross the blood-brain barrier, increasing potency. Al Snafi & Museher (2008) noted that it also acts as a muscle relaxant and, in high doses, can cause drowsiness. Myrcene is mentioned in the scientific literature as an antibacterial compound that can also reduce pain.


Broad-spectrum CBD and full-spectrum CBD contain terpenes maintained during the extraction process. Terpenes are volatile molecules produced not only by hemp and marijuana but also by other plants. They are responsible for flavor and aroma. Terpenes vary from terpenoids in that the latter is synthesized, whereas plants produce the former naturally. Terpenes have pain-relieving, stress-relieving, and anti-inflammatory qualities that improve body health.


Al Snafi, A. E., & Museher, T. R. (2008). Hypnotic, Muscle Relaxant, Anticonvulsant and Endocrine Effects of Myristica fragrans. Thi-Qar Medical Journal, 2(1).

AZ, C. S., & O'Radio, R. (2008). Cannabis Research AZ. Proc Natl Acad Sci US A, 105(26), 9099-9104.

Bakır, B., Him, A., Özbek, H., Düz, E., & Tütüncü, M. (2008). Investigation of the Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Activities of-caryophyllene. International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics, 2(1), 41-44.

Beck, M. R., & Gregorini, P. (2020). How Dietary Diversity Enhances Hedonic and Eudaimonic Well-being in Grazing Ruminants. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7, 191.

Finlay, D. B., Sircombe, K. J., Nimick, M., Jones, C., & Glass, M. (2020). Terpenoids from Cannabis do not Mediate an Entourage Effect by Acting at Cannabinoid Receptors. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 11, 359.

Kamatou, G. P., & Viljoen, A. M. (2008). Linalool–A Review of a Biologically Active Compound of Commercial Importance. Natural Product Communications, 3(7), 1934578X0800300727.