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Everything You Need to Know About Terpenes

Thanks largely to the growing popularity of legal CBD products in the United Kingdom, terpenes have very much come into the public eye. As one of the elements that helps to complement the health supporting qualities of CBD, terpenes are more popular now than they’ve ever been.

However, do you know what they are and how they work? Are they legal? For those who aren’t in the know, we now look into the subject in some detail. You won’t be an expert in terpenes by reading to the end, but you will at least have a better understanding of this natural wonder.

So, What Exactly Are Terpenes?

Terpenes exist in all types of plant and they’re essentially molecules that provide fragrance and flavour. The aroma you experience in the woods or in your local flower shop is an example of terpenes at work and to date, over 20,000 unique varieties have been discovered and that number is increasing with every passing year.

The hemp plant is naturally rich in terpenes, with each strain offering its own individual terpene profile and they are one of the elements that contribute to the entourage effect. In terms of what they offer in products like CBD oil on their own, they can provide a therapeutic and soothing effect on the senses.

How Do Terpenes Relate to CBD?

As you’ll discover by reading our blog dedicated to the entourage effect , terpenes help CBD to be even more beneficial to the body and mind. However, we’ll offer a brief explanation here. When terpenes exist in CBD oil, they help to create the aforementioned effect. What that means is that CBD + terpenes makes both work better than they would in isolation.

Although there’s no science to base it on, it’s believed that terpenes change how CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. However it happens, it essentially complements how CBD works, magnifying its potency and the support it provides.

Are They Legal in the UK?

Absolutely they are. As mentioned, terpenes are found in all plants and they’re everywhere in the United Kingdom! Even those that come from the hemp (a.k.a. cannabis) plant are legal when taken in CBD products such as CBD capsules and CBD spray and the main reason for this is that they’re not in any way responsible for the ‘high’ that some people get from cannabis.

Some particular varieties of terpene are reported by users to offer feelings of energy, happiness and relaxation, however, what they don’t do is provide any kind of psychoactive effect, as it’s THC that causes that particular reaction in the body. Terpenes offer soothing rich aromas, but are 100% non-intoxicating.

Why Do Terpenes Matter?

You might be thinking “so, terpenes make plants smell nice, but why is that important?”. Well, if you’ve ever soaked in a bathtub with a lavender bath bomb or some scented oils, you are likely to have noticed an improvement in your mood or in how relaxed you are. The term ‘aromatherapy’ is based on this idea and it shows that terpenes have a degree of health benefit on their own.

Terpenes have also been known to support health when included in topically applied and internally ingested products. For example, a terpene known as caryophyllene is used in certain brands of skin care because of its anti-inflammatory properties – so it’s not anything new in the world of cosmetic science and with tens of thousands of different types in existence, there are all kinds of subtle benefits on offer.

The Difference Between Terpenes & Terpenoids

When searching the internet for your CBD oil, you may come across another term ‘terpenoids’ which obviously sounds quite similar, but does it mean the same thing? Well, yes and no. Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds, however, terpenoids are a man-made chemical variety that are added to CBD isolates to create a broad spectrum product.

It goes without saying that naturally occurring terpenes are more desirable than terpenoids, as it involves no artificial modifications. It’s for this reason that we’d always recommend looking for products that contain terpenes rather than terpenoids. 

There are literally dozens of terpenes in CBD. Let’s take a look at a few of them now…

  • Myrcene – also found in hops, it’s responsible for the spicy, peppery fragrance in beer
  • Limonene – used as a flavouring, it’s present in the peel of a variety of citrus fruits
  • Linalool – found in a variety of cosmetics and plants such as lavender, jasmine and basil
  • Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene – existing naturally in coniferous trees & pine essential oils
  • Caryophyllene – beta and alpha – a common terpene known for its spiciness and present in black pepper, cinnamon and hops
  • Alpha-bisabolol – possessing anti-irritant, antimicrobial & anti-inflammatory properties, it’s known for its healing and moisturizing properties
  • Eucalyptol – also present in sage, bay leaves and tea tree, it’s most commonly found in the leaves of the Eucalyptus tree
  • Terpineol – also possessing anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-irritant properties, it’s found in lime blossoms eucalyptus sap and pine trees
  • Geraniol – used in the food, cosmetics and fragrance industry, this is aromatic terpene can be found in citronella, lemongrass and lavender
  • Humulene – present in a wide variety of herbs and spices, it’s known for giving beer its unique profile

Are There Terpenes in All CBD Oil Products?

Actually, no there aren’t. There are a number of terpenes that naturally occur in cannabis and hemp plants, which is the reason why some strains have their own distinct smells. That said, it does very much depend on the CBD oil you buy and whether it is an isolate or a broad/full spectrum product.

Isolates are exactly what they sound like – products that contain an isolated CBD strain and no terpenes whatsoever. When you buy a full or broad spectrum CBD product, all of the health supporting goodness is extracted from the plant, terpenes and all. That’s why it matters what’s written on the bottle.

The question then is whether broad/full spectrum is better than isolates. The answer is that it depends on the taker. Many people get on better with products that have all of the plant elements contained inside, whereas others prefer isolates, so it really does depend on what you prefer and what you want to get out of using CBD.

Terpenes – CBD’s Little Helper

Whilst CBD is the undisputed star of the show, terpenes represent the supporting act that makes the star even brighter and more effective. Far from being just an element that gives CBD products their aroma, terpenes are believed to actively enhance their power and make them even more effective at what they offer to the human body.

Terpenes are 100% legal and safe to ingest or apply topically. If you want to know if the CBD oil you’re about to buy comes with terpenes inside, you should look for a product that has been third-party tested with a certificate of analysis that shows exactly what’s inside.

We hope that you have found our blog helpful and that it has shed some light on terpenes and where they fit into the complete CBD landscape.

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