If you’re here, you probably already know that hemp and hemp-derived products (including CBD) have a unique scent. However, if you didn’t know that, we’ll catch you up — they do.
But did you know that the delightful smell and aroma we associate with CBD are caused by naturally occurring compounds known as terpenes? Even more, these compounds are also responsible for part of the flavor you taste when you ingest CBD products.
Interestingly, that’s not even the best part.
Emerging research shows that cannabis terpenes may offer benefits beyond the aromatic scents they give off.
But how do terpenes affect the body? Keep reading to find out more.
- Terpenes are the compounds in cannabis plants that give them their distinctive scents and flavors.
- Emerging research may prove that terpenes also contribute to how CBD and THC affect the body and brain.
- Some common terpenes include pinene and linalool, which combine to help reduce anxiety, ease pain, and regulate mood.
How do Terpenes Work?
Generally, terpenes alone cannot get you high, but many researchers believe they can slightly influence the sensations and therapeutic benefits you get from consuming CBD and THC products. In other words, terpenes may affect your cannabis experience — especially if you inhale it.
Terpenes are primarily responsible for the slight different effects that various cannabis strains with the same cannabinoid composition will give.
But how do terpenes work?
Here’s a picture for you — if cannabinoids like THC and CBD are the key that turns the ignition of a car, terpenes are the steering wheel that determines the vehicle’s direction. In other words, while THC may get you high, many experts believe that it is the terpenes that determine whether your high is energizing or sleepy, or if you get a head high or body high, etc.
Here are some of the more common terpenes found in cannabis plants:
Myrcene is arguably the most abundant terpene in cannabis and several other plants, including lemongrass, cardamom, and thyme. Some studies show that myrcene may have sedative properties. However, the evidence is inconclusive, and the effects required higher doses.
This terpene is responsible for the spicy scent you may get in some cannabis plant species. caryophyllene is also very abundant in black pepper and rosemary. A 2014 study suggests that caryophyllene may have pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties in humans as well as animals.
Alpha-Pinene is the most abundant terpene in nature and has ample presence in cannabis plants. Experts believe that it has anxiety-reducing effects and can bind to the brain’s neurotransmitters the way drugs like Xanax will do.
Linelool is the primary terpene responsible for the floral scent in cannabis plants. It also has the highest percentage in lavender. Some studies show that linalool may possess anxiety-reducing, mood-stabilizing, pain-relieving, sleep-inducing, and antidepressant properties.
How do Terpenes Affect the Body?
Since their discovery, people have used terpenes to improve the flavor and scent of everyday products, including food, essential oils, tinctures, candles, etc. However, today, terpenes are seeing more applications in healthcare and holistic medicine.
But here’s the million-dollar question — how do terpenes affect the body?
Terpenes go to work on the body’s nervous and endocrine systems when you consume them. As a result, they can help with issues regarding nerves and hormones. But that’s not even the best part.
Terpenes generally work on a principle known as the entourage effect, which is a theory that suggests that terpenes can work together with other therapeutics to boost the effects of those substances.
For instance, if you take terpenes alongside a psychoactive extract (say, cannabis), you’ll likely experience a more well balanced high.
Not surprisingly, experts have found several applications of the properties of terpenes in helping patients struggling with issues regarding their physical and mental health. After all, introducing terpenes into the body can induce quick but powerful brain chemical effects, which may aid healing and recovery. However, effectiveness will depend on dosage and other factors.
Generally, there are two methods through which you can introduce terpenes into your body:
The Olfactory System
The olfactory system refers to the body’s sensory system used for smelling. When you smell the terpenes of the cannabis plant, tiny molecules will travel through your nostrils into the sinus cavity, where they dissolve in a layer of mucus.
This then stimulates the cilia, sending an electrical signal through your olfactory nerves and into your brain, where information processing happens.
The Respiratory System
This is your body’s breathing or respiratory network. In this case, the terpenes are absorbed when you smoke the cannabis product.
Here, the terpenes molecules travel into your lungs and into your bloodstream. Then, your blood goes through your heart carrying the terpenes and spreads to the rest of your body, including your brain. Once they reach the brain, they can then interact with your brain’s neurotransmitters.
Therapeutic Use of Terpenes
Some specific terpenes have unique chemical signatures that can provide several helpful benefits when you consume them. Here are some therapeutic applications of terpenes:
Helps to Improve Mood
Several research publications have shown that terpenes can have several pharmacological effects on the human mind and body. In other words, the aromatic properties of terpenes can produce changes in the body’s hormone and nervous systems.
As a result, these chemical interactions can be used in helping patients improve their mood.
Helps to Boost Serotonin Levels
Serotonin is one of the body’s “happy” chemicals that is believed to help to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, sometimes the body may stop or reduce its secretion of this hormone.
Some research shows that the synergistic effects of terpenes can lead to an increase of serotonin and dopamine (another “happy” hormone) in the body.
Anti-inflammatory Effects and Pain Relief
Over the years, terpenes have seen several applications as alternatives for pain relief. This is because the compounds affect the body’s pain receptors, CB1 and CB2, which are essentially why you feel pain. Also, terpenes have some anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling and redness.
Of course, this means consuming CBD terpenes can also help you sleep if you generally have trouble falling asleep at night.
Anti-anxiety and Stress Relief
Several studies have shown that terpenes can also help reduce stress levels by triggering the body’s CB2 receptors. They can also induce a chemical reaction in the endocannabinoid system, which can help you relax.
As a result, people dealing with anxiety and heightened stress levels may report improvements with terpene therapy.
How Do You Use Terpenes?
There are generally three different methods through which you can consume terpenes and we’ll walk you through each one:
One of the most popular methods of consuming terpenes is by ingesting them orally. In this case, you may choose to eat your terpenes as edibles or add them into your food or drinks.
However, you may also consider sublingual applications. This is particularly common with terpenes in the form of tinctures. In this case, you’ll place the tincture under your tongue to aid faster absorption.
While oral consumption is arguably the best way to consume CBD terpenes, either way, you should note that it’s never a good idea to swallow concentrated terpenes without diluting them first.
Another common way people consume terpenes is by inhaling them. In the past, this almost always meant smoking. However, recent innovation has brought about the vaporization of terpenes.
Smoking terpenes usually means that some of the terpenes will be lost to the heat of fire applications as they are generally fragile. However, vaporizing natural concentrates allows better preservation as you have more specific temperature control and closed-system heating.
Over the years, terpenes have found their way into several day-to-day products that humans use — including soaps, lotions, and cleansing oils. As a result, you can also apply terpenes topically and locally to reap the benefits of these compounds.
Where to Find Terpene-Rich CBD
Emerging research continues to show that there are a lot of potential benefits that can come from consuming terpenes. Thankfully, at Evn, we offer some of the best terpene-rich CBD on the market today.
Check out broad spectrum CBD Gummy Bears that offer you zero THC, gluten-free CBD from organically sourced hemp. With each gummy, you get 10mg of CBD. This is a delicious and easy way to add terpene-rich CBD to your daily routine.
If you’re looking for a more straightforward option, consider our vegan Natural CBD Oil that comes in various sizes, including 500mg and 1000mg. These are great to consume on their own sublingually or a great addition to your favorite food or beverage.