Terpenes 101: The Scent Molecules

Terpenes 101: The Scent Molecules

Estimate reading time: 3 minutes 49 seconds

    What are terpenes?

    Essential hemp terpenes








      Terpenes and the entourage effect


      Terpenes are tiny, super-sensitive molecules produced by many plants. They’re very similar to essential oils; the most crucial oils on the market today are about 80% terpenes and 20% trace compounds.


      Terpenes protect plants from threats from insects or bacteria — an added plus is that they smell good to humans. Some of them do, at least.


      What makes terpenes so fragrant? It’s a chemical thing: because terpenes are such small, oily molecules, they tend to evaporate quickly. They waft right into the air with just a little heat or pressure.


      Another thing to know about terpenes: they are virtually everywhere. Plants, herbs, trees, fungi, and insects come from terpenes. Terpenes may even be one of the essential communication mediums of the natural world. One study called them “the most popular chemical medium on our planet.”


      While terpenes themselves are far from rare, the hemp plant has something special going on. It contains hundreds of terpenes — in thousands of potential combinations — not found anywhere else.


      And that’s not all. True to nature’s intelligence, terpenes have health benefits—more on those.




      It would take far too long to list hundreds of cannabinoids here, so we’ll look at the highlights instead. What follows are some of hemp’s most important terpenes:



      Where does pinene come from?

      If you guessed pine trees, then you’d be correct! Pinene gives its namesake tree that distinct piney smell; it is also why forest bathing is so relaxing.


      In other good news, pinene is one of the most common terpenes in hemp. It confers energizing cognition-boosting effects. Pinene may also be great for those with asthma.



      Myrcene is a tropical terpene produced by everything from hops to mangoes. Hemp has it, too!


      If myrcene is good for anything, it’s good for pain relief. One study examining more than 2,000 patients discovered that myrcene was exceptional for pain relief. Myrcene may also reduce inflammation, sleep problems, and muscle spasms.



      Whether you realize it or not, you’re probably familiar with linalool — it’s the most common terpene in lavender.


      And lavender, of course, has been used for ages to improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Even the mere act of inhaling a little lavender EO is relaxing.


      The research agrees. And while CBD often gets the credit for its namesake oils’ ability to reduce seizures, some research shows that linalool may help, too. One study found that linalool could reverse some neurological problems to benefit those with Alzheimer’s disease patients.



      This earthy terpene exists throughout the world of herbs and spices; black pepper is an excellent source.


      (BCP) is found in all sorts of stuff, including cinnamon and black pepper.

      What does beta-caryophyllene do? Well, it’s antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory — and that’s just for starters. Beta-caryophyllene is one of the few compounds to be classified as both a terpene and a cannabinoid. 


      When taken consistently, it does something similar to CBD.

      According to one study, beta-caryophyllene’s “[potential] activation of the CB(2) receptor is a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of inflammation, pain, atherosclerosis, and osteoporosis.”



      Like pinene, limonene’s plant source is pretty predictable.

      Can you guess it? Limonene is present in all things citrus. Lemons, of course! And limes and grapefruits.


      And if limonene is good for anything, it’s good for digestive health. On a related note, limonene may also elevate serotonin levels (this “happiness hormone” is primarily made in the gut). Some studies have even tied it to improved responses to cancer.



      Guaiol is an earthy-scented terpene derived from something called the guaiacum plant. You may not have heard of it before. Still, guaiacum was renowned among soldiers during the Spanish inquisition for its virus-fighting properties. Much more recently, this 2007 study confirmed guaiol’s antiviral effects.



      Humulene is a hoppy terpene that’s closely related to beta-caryophyllene. What does it do? Primarily reduce oxidative stress. That’s right: humulene is a potent antioxidant. At the same time, however, it can take up the oxidation of cancer cells — so much that at least one study describes humulene as “anti-tumor.”


      Humulene is also pretty antiviral. It reduces infections in both humans and plants alike!




      As impressive as all the above benefits may seem, here’s the thing: they don’t occur in isolation.


      It’s true. These terpenes synergize and make CBD even stronger when taken together (in the form of a full spectrum product!). 


      “The therapeutic synergy observed with plant extracts results in the requirement for a lower amount of active components, with consequent reduced adverse effects,” study authors concluded. Scientists call this CBD + terpene synergy the entourage effect. Studies have found that it makes full-spectrum products up to 4 times more potent than isolates. Terpenes heightened power also makes full-spectrum CBD easier to dose than more one-dimensional CBD.


      In light of this entourage effect, we’ve been intentional about the flavor + terpene combinations that make it into our products. Might the lavender-derived linalool present in our CBD salve heighten its overall effects? What about the orange-derived limonene in our 500 and 1000 mg CBD oils? There’s only one sure way to find out!




      If you’re ready to get your daily dose of terpenes, we’re here to help. We offer terpene-rich CBD products for both human wellness and animal health.


      Ordering is convenient, too: we offer free local delivery within the U.S. Virgin Islands and free shipping to any part of the United States. Call (678) 404-9398 to place an order or visit us online.


      That’s it for now. Take Care!