Terpenes, which are also sometimes referred to as terpenoids, are organic compounds produced by a variety of plants and responsible for certain scents and flavors. They are the primary constituents of many essential oils, as well as CBD oil, and can have beneficial effects on the body and mind when consumed.
These include calming effects, energizing effects, inflammation reduction, and even an improvement in focus. The terpenes contained in CBD oils are produced by the cannabis plant’s flowers.
- The Difference Between Terpenes and Terpenoids
- How Are Terpenes Extracted from the Cannabis Plant?
- How Can Terpenes Affect Your Mood?
- List of CBD Terpenes
- Non-Cannabis Terpenes and Concentrates
- Using Non-Cannabis Terpenes with CBD
- Vaping Terpenes
- How Do You Use Terpenes?
- How Can I Dilute Terpenes?
- Do Cannabis Terpenes Have Intoxicating Effects?
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TERPENES AND TERPENOIDS
The terms terpenes and terpenoids are often used interchangeably.
However, there are some minor technical differences between the two. Terpenes occur naturally as combinations of hydrogen and carbon. Terpenoids, on the other hand, are compounds that are related to terpenes but are often arranged differently and include oxygen functionality.
HOW ARE TERPENES EXTRACTED FROM THE CANNABIS PLANT?
Trichomes are small hair-like structures which grow on the outside of a plant.
Usually, they are single-celled and glandular. The trichomes in a cannabis plant cover the leaves and buds and protect the plant from insects and other organisms by acting as a form of defense. It is in these trichomes where terpenes are produced.
Whether for cosmetic purposes, food flavoring or for extracts such as CBD or essential oils and supplements, there are various ways to extract terpenes. These include the following:
Terpenes can be extracted through steam distillation, which is also known as hydrodistillation. As the steam travels through the plant, it gathers the terpene compounds with it. The required pressure and amount of steam are dependent on how delicate or sensitive the plant is. After the terpenes are gathered, the steam condenses into water, then the terpenes and water are separated.
Even though this technique is simple and effective, it not usually possible to extract heavy terpenes.
Trapping of Emissions
Plants release more than oxygen into the air; they can also release terpenes. It may be possible to extract terpenes as they are released by collecting them in a gas chamber, then separating them from the other particles in the air.
Extraction Through Solvents
This takes place by completely submerging a plant into a solvent. The terpenes are extracted as the plant sits in the solvent. When the plant is removed, the solvent evaporates and leaves behind isolated terpenes.
HOW CAN TERPENES AFFECT YOUR MOOD?
Studies have shown that certain smells can affect mood by promoting feelings of energy, tiredness, happiness, or calmness.
For example, a lemon-like scent may cause people to feel happy and energetic. Also, various studies have shown lavender to decrease anxiety and increase calmness.
When you have an understanding of terpenes and the different kinds that exist, you can utilize them as and when required.
LIST OF CBD TERPENES
Cannabis offers a variety of possible benefits, especially when it comes to CBD terpenes. The varied biological makeup of the plant means that it contains not only more than 100 different cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, but also more than 100 different terpenes.
That makes it a challenge to identify each terpene and its flavor, scent, and effect. When it comes to identifying the differences between terpenes, there are four main classifications: sweet, sour, bitter, and spicy. The terpenes in each of these classifications generally have different effects on the body.
Remember that, when mixed with CBD, a lot of the terpenes are only legal under federal law as hemp terpenes, not as marijuana terpenes (read more about CBD’s legal status here).
There are six common CBD-related terpenes: linalool, myrcene, limonene, pinene, caryophyllene, and humulene. However, this list is not exhaustive. The list below can help you better understand what will likely suit you best. However, many companies have created terpene wheels or terpene charts to help consumers make their decisions.
Linalool has a strong connection to lavender flowers. It has a floral, citrus, or candy-like smell which can cause sedation or relief from anxiety. The calming effect of CBD linalool could possibly have great impact on helping the treatment of anxiety or as an anti-depression supplement.
Myrcene has an earthy aroma, although it can often smell slightly herbal, and some report it as smelling of cloves. Similar to linalool, this compound can be great to relieve anxiety or as a method of relaxing muscles. However, it can also help with inflammation and may possess anticarcinogenic and antibiotic properties.
This has a heavy citrus aroma and may help with depression due to its possible ability to promote a happy mood. Limonene may have anticarcinogenic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also be effective in relieving nausea.
This terpene can give users a boost of energy and improve their focus. It smells slightly woody, such as pine trees or pine needles.
Caryophyllene has a spicy or peppery smell and is useful when it comes to relieving pain. According to studies, it also has anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties and may have the ability to help with CBD treatments for anxiety and depression.
Humulene’s smell is often herbal, spicy, or woody. Like some of the other terpenes, it has been shown in studies to be anti-inflammatory and possibly work well with CBD to relieve pain. However, humulene is also thought to be an effective appetite suppressant with anti-tumor properties.
NON-CANNABIS TERPENES AND CONCENTRATES
The terpenes discussed in the previous section (linalool, myrcene, limonene, pinene, caryophyllene, and humulene) are found naturally in the cannabis plant and, therefore, can all be mixed with CBD.
However, they occur in other plants, too. For example, linalool is also found in lavender; myrcene also occurs in lemongrass, thyme, or mangoes; limonene is not just found in cannabis, but also lemons, oranges, and juniper; pinene is found in pine needles, rosemary, and sage; and finally, caryophyllene occurs naturally in cotton, black pepper, and cloves among others.
There are also many other natural terpenes that are not found in cannabis plants. These are often mixed into CBD to enhance its effects. They include, but are not limited, to:
This is found in eucalyptus radiata (a narrow-leaf eucalyptus plant), parsley, and peppermint, but may also come from a eucalyptus plant with broader leaves. Phellandrene smells like either mint or citrus and has a variety of health benefits, such as antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties.
This terpene is most commonly found in roses, but also in other plants and flowers such as lemongrass and geraniums. It can even be found in carrots and blueberries. It often has a rose or other floral scent. When we look at the health benefits, studies suggest it may be able to help prevent tumor growth.
Terpinolene is most commonly found in apples, lilacs, and cumin. Its aroma may be either piney, floral, or sweet. There is a huge variety of health benefits associated with terpinolene, mainly due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties. It also is antioxidant and anticarcinogenic and could have sedative effects.
The terpene itself can be found in orange peels or orange essential oils and is best used through aromatherapy or topical application. Unsurprisingly, it smells like orange. Massaging this terpene into your skin when mixed with other diluting products is a great way to not only protect your skin but also promote relaxation and calmness. In addition, nerolidol has antimalarial properties.
USING NON-CANNABIS TERPENES WITH CBD
Many enjoy mixing non-cannabis terpenes with CBD, believing this will double the health benefit. However, this may actually have a detrimental effect on consumers’ health. Products which mix isolated CBD terpenes with non-cannabis terpenes and concentrates have been shown to cause kidney issues in animals.
Interestingly enough, when these ingredients were tested individually rather than as a mixture, this particular study showed no negative effects. Further examination showed that one type of isolate terpene known as beta-caryophyllene degraded into natural toxic chemicals when mixed with cannabis smoke.
Despite the many studies that have been conducted, medical professionals still see CBD and hemp-based products (such as products containing terpenes) as new and relatively unknown. Because of this, nobody is completely sure how terpenes and other products related to hemp can affect humans and how we function. It is still a subject that needs to be explored extensively. Therefore, it’s critical to educate yourself on terpenes, CBD, and cannabis products in general before committing to purchasing and consuming them.
Vaping terpenes can be a challenge because their individual boiling points are very specific. As with cannabinoids and CBD, some terpenes need high temperatures to vaporize. Others, conversely, become completely ineffective when exposed to such high temperatures.
Therefore, if you still wish to vape terpenes, be sure to choose a vaporizer which is shown to work well specifically for your chosen terpenes. For example, linalool has a vaporization point of 388 degrees Fahrenheit, where pinene vaporizes at 311 degrees. THC becomes vaporized at 315 degrees Fahrenheit, but when it comes to cannabinoids and CBD, they often start to vaporize at 285 degrees.
Luckily, when it comes to choosing your vaporizer, there are plenty which offer a range of set vaporizing points, while others are completely customizable. Some vaporizers will let you change the set temperature through your mobile device, through an app, or directly on the device itself.
It should be stressed that smoking does not have a positive effect on your health. Even vaping, when the wrong products are used, can quickly become an issue because the ingredients in the products can be particularly harsh on your lungs. Even though vaporizing is, in general, considered more gentle on your lungs and your body as a whole than smoking, its effects can still be very negative.
HOW DO YOU USE TERPENES?
Terpenes can also be used to enhance different flavors in food, drinks, and supplements. Additionally, as some studies have found, they are also considered to have therapeutic and medical benefits that may be achieved through aromatherapy, topical application, or oral application.
When it comes to CBD terpenes, it is important to note that there are no medically recommended dosages because they are not considered to be medication under federal law. CBD terpenes are instead classed as supplements or essential oils. Also, each terpene may require different dosages to be effective. As a result, more often than not, you will be required to choose your dosage depending on what you feel works best for you. However, there are some guidelines you should follow.
Terpene concentrates are, as the name suggests, extremely concentrated. For this reason, they are often sold in bottles that use droppers for specific measurements. One to two drops is often more than enough to be effective. Whether it is being used for therapeutic or culinary purposes, even a small amount of terpene concentrate can have a prominent aroma or flavor. Too much can often be extremely overwhelming.
HOW CAN I DILUTE TERPENES?
Terpenes can work great in their pure form, but it is sometimes a good idea to dilute them in some way so you can reap their full benefits.
Terpenes can be diluted with different kinds of food and oils. In fact, they mix efficiently with several types of plant extracts and concentrates. The oils used most commonly in dilution are MCT (also known as coconut oil), PEG, and PG. This dilution is necessary when it comes to vaping, but luckily, quite a few companies already offer pre-diluted terpene cartridges.
DO CANNABIS TERPENES HAVE INTOXICATING EFFECTS?
This is a frequently asked question and a cause for concern for many people. However, terpenes that occur naturally in cannabis plants do not have any intoxicating effects because they don’t contain enough (if any) THC.
Even when terpenes are mixed with a hemp CBD oil, the THC levels are required under federal law to be so low (less than 0.3%) that it is impossible for intoxication to take place.
In fact, the terpenes in cannabis hemp strains are considered to be essential oils and safe for almost everyone without an allergy to use. Of course, it is important to remember to use the terpene essential oils as directed and not in incredibly high amounts, as this could lead to undesirable effects.