What are terpenes and terpenoids?

Key information from the article on terpenes: in, among other things, full spectrum CBD oils, there are natural chemical compounds of plant origin other than cannabinoids - terpenes and terpenoids; both of these compounds are attributed with still studied potential for health-promoting properties; the composition of terpenes and terpenoids influences the smell and taste of full spectrum hemp oil; smell and taste - also in full spectrum hemp oils - activate areas of the brain responsible for the production of the happiness hormone: dopamine. ERGO: terpenes and terpenoids, but also related flavonoids, can positively influence the amount of dopamine produced by the human body.

Read in: 9 minute(s)

What are terpenes / terpenoids and where do they come from?

Have you ever wondered where the smell and aroma of dried hemp come from? Why does full spectrum hemp oil or cbd oil have such a distinctive taste and aroma?

It is the composition of terpenes that gives hemp preparations their unique taste and aroma.

Terpenes and terpenoids are not the same thing.

  • Terpenes are naturally occurring carbon and hydrogen molecules in the plant.
  • Terpenoids are oxygen-modified terpenes whose chemical structure has been altered by drying and extraction processes.
  • Thus, terpenes ≠ terpenoids.

Terpenes are produced in the cannabis resin glands known as trichomes. They are therefore considered an essential component of the essence of this plant. It is also in the trichomes that cannabinoids other than CBD are produced, e.g. CBDa, CBG, CBC or CBN. There are several hundred in total - with more than 100 terpenes identified to date alone.

Trichomes are found on the flowers and immediately adjacent leaves. These are the kind of shiny, slightly sticky crystals shaped somewhat like a fungus that cover the areas of the cannabis plant mentioned.

Both terpenes and flavonoids protect cannabis from parasites and insects.

The composition of terpenes, terpenoids and related flavonoids contained in hemp preparations such as cbd oil or full spectrum hemp oil certainly influences their quality and may also affect their therapeutic efficacy.

A rich mixture of various terpenes, terpenoids and flavonoids is indicative of a high quality preparation. In contrast, preparations with a marginal or even zero content of these, such as CBD isolate oils, are considered to be much less effective, i.e. of lower quality.

The advantage of cbd oil or full spectrum hemp oil over CBD isolate oils is due to the strong synergistic effect of the former. Full spectrum cannabinoids work more effectively than each cannabinoid acting alone.

terpenes cbd oil full spectrum hemp oil purehemp

Terpenes - how we divide them and how they can affect our mood

In broad consumer terms, terpenes are divided into:

  • sweet
  • sour
  • spicy
  • bitter

These are then further subdivided into more specific aromas and flavours.

Here is an example:

A cannabis flower with a slightly sour smell can have a strongly lemony aroma. In contrast CBD oil or full-spectrum hemp oil extracted from such flowers will have a pleasantly pungent, energising aroma, and may even have a very mildly euphoric effect.

Knowing and being able to differentiate between aromas and even distinguish individual terpenes based on smell and taste allows you to draw some conclusions about the potential effects of the preparation you are holding in your hands.

Popular terpenes - some examples of terpenes in cannabis

Terpenes terpenoids myrcene linolene humulene caryophyllene pinene limonene

MIRCEN - what is it? How does it work?

Mircene is the most common terpene found in cannabis seeds. Studies show that it makes up, on average, more than 20% of their terpene profile. It is associated with earthy, herbal aromas and the scent of cloves or musk. The terpene also has a long history of consumption around the world. In Mexico, for example, it is used in natural medicine and herbal medicine as a calming and relaxing phytochemical added to tea blends, for example. In Germany, preparations rich in myrcene are used to improve sleep quality. What else do we know about it?

  • Myrcene is credited with the key role of inducing and enhancing synergies;
  • One of its considered mechanisms of action is to increase the permeability of cell membranes, including the so-called blood-brain barrier;
  • increased permeability of cell membranes means easier access to cells for other terpenes, as well as flavonoids and cannabinoids;
  • there are human studies proving the anti-inflammatory properties of myrcene (Rufino et al., 2015);
  • also the analgesic effect of myrcene appears to be proven (Rao et al., 1990) although it is believed that this property requires further research;
  • The human body does not build up myrcene tolerance (Lorenzetti et al., 1991);
  • Myrcene can block the neoplastic effects of aflatoxins produced by, for example, fungi;
  • This is due to its antimutagenic properties - mircene inhibits the production of the liver enzyme CYP2B1 that enables aflatoxins to damage DNA;
  • so myrcene can protect DNA from damage or unwanted, because toxin-induced mutations.

LIMONENE - what is it? what is worth knowing and can it harm?

Limonene in its isolated form is associated with a strong fruity, citrus aroma. It is a popular food and cosmetic additive. The potential benefits for the human body are still not fully understood.

The use of limonene in previous studies has indicated such potential properties as:

  • improving mood by increasing dopamine and serotonin;
  • stress release;
  • antifungal properties;
  • antibacterial properties;
  • action against heartburn and reflux;
  • enhances the absorption of other phytochemicals through the skin, mucous membranes and in the digestive system.

What more?

In animal studies, limonene showed promising evidence of anticancer activity by inhibiting the proliferation of neoplastic cells in cases of skin and breast cancer.

These studies were then replicated in a human clinical setting and indeed limonene showed some efficacy in reducing human breast cancer growth.

Studies are also available showing that limonene supplementation for 2-6 weeks silenced the activity of proteins affecting breast cancer development.

In the scientific literature, one can find laboratory reports indicating that limonene has a lethal effect on cancer cells of lung and brain tumours. It induces cell death of these cancer cells.

However, it should be emphasised that the doses of limonene used in the aforementioned studies were high and far exceeded the amounts available in any preparation or dried product.

What else do we know for sure about limonene?

That taking it (inhalation or orally) increases serotonin and dopamine levels in brain regions associated with anxiety disorders, depression and compulsive-obsessive disorders. This is always good news for people struggling with these health problems.

PINEN - alpha and beta pinene

Pinenes (alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene) are terpenes with potentially potent anti-inflammatory properties. They help decongest the respiratory system and airflow and are used among asthma patients. They also minimise the problem of memory loss associated with the effects of THC. Pinene has a pine-like aroma and, in addition to cannabis, it can also be found in orange peel, rosemary, basil, dill or parsley, among others.

Research is currently underway to confirm whether and how pinene works:

  • anti-inflammatory;
  • decongestant for the respiratory system;
  • anti-anxiety;
  • pain relief;
  • preventing short-term memory loss/problems, a problem found in recreational cannabis abusers with higher concentrations of THC.

LINALOL or LINALOOL - what is it and how does it work?

With the advent of the entourage effect theory, terpenes such as linalool / linalool are gaining increasing interest. Linalool is not typically a hemp terpene. Its lavender-like, slightly spicy aroma can be found in more than 200 plants. Linalool is so common that the average person takes in an average of 2 grams of linalool per year from various sources. Linalool does not stay in the body for long, and is not accumulated anywhere.

In plants, linalool provides protection against dangerous micro-organisms. Perhaps it will show the same properties in humans.

In traditional medicine, on the other hand, linalool has been used for many years for its calming and potentially also anti-epileptic effects.

In mouse studies, linalool had an anti-anxiety effect and suppressed typically depressive behaviour. In humans, the mechanism may or may not work similarly. We will probably find out how it really is soon.

What other properties of linalool will be investigated:

  • Does linalool make the immune system more resistant to the negative effects of stress hormones? Stress affects the composition of white blood cells: lymphocytes decrease and neutrophils increase; linalool appears to inhibit this process;
  • Does linalool prevent stress-induced DNA changes?
  • Is this because linalool activates the parasympathetic system?

There are studies indicating that linalool blocks the receptors for glutamate, a hormone associated with, among other things, the feeling of emotions. It is thought that this function may have an anti-epileptic application in some forms of epilepsy.

In addition, linalool shows the potential to have a positive effect on muscle spasticity, relaxing muscle tension while reducing the level of pain experienced. This is likely due to the fact that linalool reduces the 'potency' of acetylcholine - another hormone active in, among other things, muscle function and during movement.

Linalool may have anaesthetic properties. It reduces the stimulation of nerve cells responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. This effect has been studied, and you can read about it in English here.

The analgesic effect of linalool may be due to its ability to raise adenosine levels.

Confirmation of the analgesic properties of linalool can be found in a study conducted on patients following gastric stricture surgery. In it, patients were divided into two groups. One group was exposed to linalool-rich lavender oil vapour and the other, the so-called control group, was not exposed.

Of the linalool-exposed patients, only 46% required opioid (morphine) support with as many as 82% patients requiring opioids among the non-linalool-exposed patients. Little of this. Patients in the linalool-exposed group who needed opioid support at all needed opioids on average almost half as much as patients in the non-linol-exposed control group.

One of the potential applications of linalool with which the greatest hopes are pinned is its therapeutic value in Alzheimer's disease. In animal studies, linalool showed a reversal effect on the effects of this disease. It also reduced the causes of the progression of degenerative brain processes typical of Alheimer's.

HUMULEN - a terpene from hemp and ... hops

Humulene is a terpene with an earthy, woody and slightly spicy aroma. It is found, for example, in hops and some varieties of hemp. It has been used in various forms for centuries in the practice of holistic Eastern medicine.

Research into the use of humulene-rich hops, black pepper or ginseng has proven their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. They may also have an appetite suppressing effect which is particularly important for those struggling with excess weight.

Humulene shows anticancer and antibacterial properties. It can also affect the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of drugs.

In hemp, humulene also has a protective effect by repelling pests and minimising the risk of fungal infection of the crop.

Cariophyllene (BCP) - what is it? What is its action and uses?

Aromatically, it is reminiscent of flowers, earthy scents, musk and light citrus. In higher concentrations, it takes on a strong spicy, pleasantly warm aroma similar to cinnamon or cloves.

What makes caryophyllene an interesting terpene is its association with the human body's endocannabinoid system. In particular, we are talking about its ability to bind to the CB2 receptor. This fact may account for the therapeutic or even medical use of caryophyllene.

Caryophyllene has a unique molecular structure that enables it to bind to CB2 peripheral receptors. It is the only known terpene to have this ability. Activation of CB2 receptors may be associated with the anti-inflammatory properties of caryophyllene.

Cariophyllene has no euphoric effect because does not bind to central nervous system CB1 receptors.

Cariophilene shows the following potential for applications:

  • Anti-inflammatory (e.g. in inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Analgesic
  • Antioxidant
  • Antidepressant and anti-anxiety
  • Anti-ageing
  • Addiction therapy

For all of the above-mentioned uses of caryophyllene, there are already and further scientific studies underway to explain the phenomenon of this terpene.

Terpenes and terpenoids - how do they work?

Like cannabinoids - terpenes and terpenoids combine with receptors in the brain to stimulate brain function.

The effects include increased production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.

Terpenes and terpenoids can also increase cerebral blood flow, improve cortical activity and destroy harmful microorganisms in the respiratory system. Their anti-inflammatory properties already seem to be indisputably proven. For more on this topic, see the scientific article "Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts".

It is also the terpenes and terpenoids that the theory of cannabis research attributes to the synergistic effect. This theory emerged when it was noticed that cannabis varieties with identical THC and CBD produced different effects. Researchers concluded that the only logical explanation was the existence of an enhancement relationship between the composition of terpenes, terpenoids and flavonoids, and cannabinoids.

Not all terpenes have the same effect. Some have a relaxing effect. Others improve mood and give energy. By occurring together in their natural environment, they enhance each other's effects.

Synergy effect is also referred to in English as "entourage effect' i.e. the effect of the environment.

The phenomenon of the entourage effect means that the entire composition of naturally occurring health-promoting phytochemicals in the hemp plant: cannabinoids, terpenes, terpenoids and flavonoids, works to benefit the human body more strongly than the sum of individual compounds. Therefore, full spectrum hemp oil will always be better than oil on pure CBD isolate devoid of the surroundings of other cannabinoids, tepenes, terpenoids and flavonoids naturally found in the hemp plant.

Safe synergistic effect only in cbd and full spectrum hemp oils

At the beginning of this part of the article, we want to make it clear that we are not opposed to either smoking dried or vaporising.

These are two very common methods of taking CBD, the terpenes and flavonoids contained in the cannabis plant.

Unfortunately, we are not fans of this solution either. Here's why:

  1. The vaporisation temperatures of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids vary quite dramatically. THC is boiled at a temperature of approximately 157 oC, but already Linalool (terpene) only at a temperature of approx. 198 o This is quite a difference. This problem is partly solved by the temperature-controlled vaporisation devices available on the market. Their use, however, requires a considerable amount of effort to be put into properly 'configuring' the device correctly and modifying the settings during use.
  2. There is a study proving the negative chemical reactions that occur during the smoking of the dried product. In this process, for example, the terpene called caryophyllene is degraded to a toxic form. It should be noted, however, that the study used a dried product enriched with a caryophyllene isolate obtained from an unsmoked source.
  3. Smoking anything - yes, dried food too - is not ideal due to the fact that the smoke will always contain chemicals that are harmful to the lungs. For one it will help, for the other it will harm. Vaporisation seems to be more delicate in this regard than smoking dried, but it still leaves unresolvable doubts.
  4. Yes, vaporisation and smoking of the dried product deliver active substances to the body in the shortest time. Unfortunately, both the good and the bad ones. They are also characterised by very high bioavailability. However, our lungs pay a price for this. Is the difference of a few minutes shorter reaction time and a few per cent higher bioavailability worth it? In the long term, our body will bill us for our lack of patience and common sense. Of that each of us can be sure.

The safest way to take in the full spectrum of beneficial hemp plant phytochemicals (cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids) remains the use of CBD oil or full spectrum hemp oil orally, sublingually.

Application with a dropper is easy and quick. The absorption of the phytosubstance under the tongue and then in the digestive tract remains at a very high level. A reaction time of 15-30 minutes does not seem to be an obstacle, especially as CBD under the tongue is not accompanied by the risks typical of smoking or vaporisation.

At the end of the day, it is the consumer and his preferences that are decisive here. An adult has the right to make his or her own choice. It is worth ensuring that this choice is always as informed as possible and based on verified sources of knowledge.

To sum up:

With increasing interest and awareness on the part of consumers and patients, more and more scientific studies are being conducted providing new evidence of the health-promoting and even therapeutic properties and effects of certain terpenes.

In time, detailed information on the content of terpenes and flavonoids contained in hemp preparations will become standard. For the moment, this is not the case due to, among other things, standardisation problems and the high cost of laboratory tests.

Will this change? We are certainly heading in the right direction.

For the time being, there remains a choice of preparations with a full spectrum of beneficial phytosubstances (e.g. full spectrum hemp oil), for which the manufacturer/distributor is able to document unequivocally that they have been produced on the basis of a full-flavoured, natural, plant extract from hemp flowers and leaves.

If you are looking for a source of proven cbd full spectrum hemp oil we encourage you to visit our shop.

To do so, simply click on the desired product below:

cbd oil 10% - cbd 10 oil - cbd 10 per cent - Purehemp.co.uk shop

Full Spectrum hemp CBD oil 10%

10 ml | 1000 mg CBD

Out of stock

cbd 3% - cbd 3 oil - cbd 3 - Purehemp.co.uk

Full Spectrum hemp CBD oil 3%

10 ml | CBD | CBDA | CBG

Out of stock

cbd oil 5%

5% Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil

15 ml | 7570 mg CBD

Out of stock

You can find disclaimers regarding the content published on the pages of the knowledge base by clicking here.

Pure Hemp Shop - Trusted
SEMIKO sp. z o.o. Reviews with ekomi-pl.com

We use cookies to continuously improve the quality of our services, our commercial offer and to enrich our content. You can find out more about this and how we process your personal data in our PRIVACY POLICY.

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.