What are Terpenes?

Often times when we speak to friends and family, they ask us how they can tell the difference between one CBD oil from another.  They want to know how they can check to see if what they are getting is quality. 
The answer is normally long-winded yet we always narrow in on one key part of the oils and that is the Terpenes. 
 
Plain and simple, Terpenes are oils that are produced by plants.
Whether you’ve heard of them or not, you’ve certainly encountered them in everyday life, considering there are more than 20,000 unique terpenes. More than 100 of them can be found in cannabis. When you see the term “natural flavors” listed on a food product’s ingredients, oftentimes this refers to terpenes. They are also commonly used in personal health-care, high-end perfumes, and cosmetic products. Take a look at your favorite lavender perfume, and you’ll likely see the ingredient Linalool. It’s one of your favorites.

The therapeutic values of terpenes are not the only reason we’re interested in them. A CBD oil with high levels of terpenes is indicative of cannabinoid-rich strains that have been grown using organic farming methods, natural sunlight, and proper nutrients. 

Terpenes in the healing arts
Terpenes have been utilized in medicine for much of human history. In the practice of aromatherapy, terpenes are used to affect our physiology and state of mind dating back thousands of years. 

Terpenes have been shown to provide a wide array of medicinal benefits, many of them similar to cannabinoids, such as anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant. For example, studies have shown that a terpene called linalool, which gives lavender its distinct scent, can produce a marked reduction in stress. 

Why are these molecules so incredibly potent in terms of their aroma and effects? Terpenes have evolved for a myriad of purposes in the plant kingdom, most notably to repel pests and attract pollinators. In order to be detected from a distance, they must be highly aromatic. And, moreover, they must have the power to affect the physiology of animals in order to attract or repel them.

Examples of terpenes found in CBD oil
Here are just a handful of the scores of terpenes which are commonly produced by cannabis:

Terpenes

Scent

Effects

Linalool 

Lavender, flowers

Sleep aid, anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory, pain relief

Terpinolene

Turpentine

Antioxidant, immune modulator, antibiotic, antifungal, sleep aid

Myrcene

Earthy, musky

Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antitumor, pain relief, sleep aid

Limonene

Citrus

Antifungal, antidepressant, anti-tumor, immune stimulant

Pinene

Pine

Asthma relief, anti-inflammatory

Citronellol

Citronella

Antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, immune regulation


It’s important to point out that terpenes are what give cannabis strains their distinctive aromas and flavors. Selective breeding has produced a cornucopia of cannabis strains, each with not only its own distinctive scent but with a particular set of healing properties. It is the combination of various terpenes that make one strain better for, say, pain relief, and another better for mood enhancement, or any number of combinations of medicinal effects. 

So, next time you use your lavender shampoo, or bougie perfume, remember that it’s terpenes that produce their relaxing, invigorating, or uplifting effects.