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Simply put, CBD terpenes increase the therapeutic effects of CBD oil. A more detailed breakdown follows.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are compounds produced by plants to attract pollinators and repel pests. They are almost everywhere in our daily lives. The fragrance of flowers, the aroma of freshly cut fruit, etc. are all examples of terpenes. Terpenes are responsible for the uplifting smell of citrus fruits. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and function as great antioxidants.

The Cannabis sativa plant is one of the richest sources of terpenes among all flora. Cannabis sativa includes marijuana and hemp. Both are different varieties of the same plant. 

Different people respond to terpenes differently. Understanding the terpene profile of a CBD product like oil or edibles allows users to gauge the effect that a particular strain of CBD may have on them. This also helps users narrow down on the variation of CBD that works best for them. 

Terpenes in CBD Oil

At the outset, it is important to understand the difference between terpenes and terpenoids. Terpenes are natural compounds found within the bud or flower of the cannabis plant. Terpenoids, on the other hand, are simply terpenes that have been modified chemically. This chemical alteration can occur via curing or drying a cannabis flower, leading to the creation of terpenoids. 

Full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD oil, oil that contains other compounds from the cannabis plant in addition to CBD, will most definitely contain some terpenoids. In contrast, CBD isolate will not contain any terpenoids. That said, some CBD product manufacturers may add them during the manufacturing phase to increase the effects of CBD.

How Do Terpenes Affect Us?

Terpenes do not induce the ‘high’ associated with THC or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. That said, some terpenes do have certain sedative and anxiety-reducing properties. Listed below are some of the main terpenes commonly found in CBD oil.


Named after Myrcia sphaerocarpa, a Brazilian shrub, Myrcene is used to treat high blood pressure, diarrhea, and diabetes. This terpene is actively used in traditional medicine. Myrcene is found in most cannabis strains as well as mangoes, hops, basil, and lemongrass. 


The terpene Alpha-humulene is found in a vast majority of cannabis strains. It is distinguished by its fruity, earthy smell and is found in plants like sage, hops, and ginseng. Alpha-humulene is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and studies have shown that it can help decrease appetite.


As the name indicates, Pinene is found in pine needed as well as many citrus fruits. This terpene is actively used in traditional Chinese medicine where it is known for its anti-cancer properties. A study in 2019 indicated its ability to suppress cancer cells.


Limonene is largely found in the rind of citrus foods and is used to add a tangy, lemony flavor to various foods, cleaning products, and foods. 

A study published in the Advances in Experimental Medicine & Biology in April this year indicated that limonene also had anti-anxiety benefits.


This terpene is responsible for the unique scent of pepper and it is also present in numerous varieties of cannabis plants. Recent medical research has shown Beta-caryophyllene to react with cannabinoid receptor (CB2) in the body. This suggests that it can be useful in reducing inflammation and pain. 

In October 2020 a study indicated that Beta-caryophyllene helped reduce addictive behavior in animal subjects.


Popularly found in spices such as coriander and cinnamon, the terpene Linalool is largely distinguished by its lavender fragrance. It acts as an anticonvulsant as it has relaxing and sedating properties. Linalool is used in the prevention of seizures.

The Entourage Effect of Terpenes Explained

The CBD products that have these terpenes and more similar compounds are known as full spectrum CBD. These terpenes help in creating what is known as the ‘entourage effect’. In theory, compounds such as THC and CBD contained in cannabis have a synergetic and complementary effect that makes the full spectrum CBD more effective.

Terpenes and cannabinoids are known to work together to help reduce inflammation, fight pain, and help with mental health problems like anxiety. They are also known to help with certain bacterial problems.

That research is underway and more scientific evidence is required before the medical community can conclusively explain how the entourage effect in CBD works. 

What Should You Check For When Buying CBD Products?

To understand the terpenes present in CBD products like CBD oil, make sure that the product you purchase carries a valid Certificate of Analysis (COA) indicating that it has been tested by an independent, qualified lab. This COA gives users a better chance in understanding if and what terpenes a product contains.

Generally, a complete and acceptable Certificate of Analysis will contain a detailed phytocannabinoid profile that lists the levels of THC, CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenes.


CBD products that are derived from Hemp and contain less than the prescribed .3 percent of THC are legal per federal law. However, certain state laws may still deem it illegal.

CBD products that are derived from Marijuana are illegal per federal law but remain legal under the laws of certain states. 

It is advisable to check the appropriate state laws in case of travel. It is important to note that over-the-counter CBD products are not approved by the FDA.

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