CBD oil is one of the many products derived from the hemp plant. Unless the CBD is isolated, the oil naturally contains terpenes, aromatic plant compounds found in many kinds of herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, and many plants.
The terpenes found in the cannabis plant are abundant. They do not simply provide a variety of flavours and aromas. They also interact with CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids to encourage an entourage effect. It means that they help enhance the benefits of the major cannabinoids.
While hemp extract naturally has terpenes present, manufacturers may separate cannabinoids from the other plant compounds during the extraction process. They often do this to get rid of as much THC from the extract as possible.
Terpenes are often reintroduced to the end product to produce broad-spectrum CBD oil. They are also used to enhance the efficacy of CBD distillates. Terpenes are not necessarily only for flavour and aroma. They are essentially added to CBD oil because they provide many health benefits.
This article will tackle the many benefits of CBD oil with terpenes. However, we will first speak about CBD oil and its many uses and benefits before delving into terpenes in more detail.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is one of the significant cannabinoids extracted from hemp, various Cannabis Sativa with a high CBD concentration and a 0.3% or less THC level. CBD extract has a thick oily consistency and is not easy to consume on its own. It is typically added into a carrier oil to produce CBD oil. The carrier oil is usually coconut MCT oil, but some use hemp seed oil or olive oil.
The CBD oil can come in CBD isolate oil, full-spectrum CBD oil, or broad-spectrum CBD oil. Isolate oil contains pure CBD added into the carrier oil. Full-spectrum oil contains CBD, THC, terpenes, and other minor cannabinoids. Broad-spectrum oil contains CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids except for THC.
How do you know that CBD oil contains terpenes? Check the product label and the certificate of analysis. Third-party lab test results provide you with a complete list of compounds present in the product. Never buy CBD products from the illicit market because you cannot determine how safe and potent they are.
How to Use CBD Oil
There are four fundamental ways to consume CBD-infused oil.
The most straightforward way is to ingest the oil. It will pass through the digestive system, get absorbed, metabolized in the liver, and sent to the different parts of the body. Ingestible oil can come in dropper-type tinctures, capsules, or CBD-infused foods and beverages.
Sublingual administration is one of the fastest ways to get CBD into your system. Take a dropper and place a few measured drops of oil or tincture directly under the tongue. Allow the oil to sit there for at least a minute or more until the sublingual membranes absorb the liquid. The active ingredients will go directly into the bloodstream and produce the desired effect in a matter of minutes.
Topical application is the best way to deliver the powerful effects of CBD to specific areas of the body. You can apply the oil directly to the skin to reduce inflammation and pain wherever needed. Once absorbed, the CBD will interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the skin to reduce inflammation and soothe muscle and joint pain.
Not all CBD-infused oils are suitable for vaping. Be sure to use vape juice or any other product designed for smoking or vaping. Inhalation provides a rapid onset of effect. Once inhaled, the lungs absorb the cannabinoids and other compounds and transport them directly to the bloodstream.
Effect of CBD on the Body
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body. The ECS is an extensive network of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors that help regulate physiological functions.
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by the body. They play an essential role in achieving homeostasis or chemical balance in our system.
CBD and other phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids made by plants) help the body achieve homeostasis by interacting with the endocannabinoids and the cannabinoid receptors to affect specific physiological functions mentioned below.
- pain perception
- immune function (e.g. inflammation)
Main Benefits of CBD Oil
More than 60% of CBD users take CBD oil and other CBD products for three main reasons: pain, anxiety, and depression. Although the FDA has not yet approved the use of CBD as medicine, preliminary research and anecdotal evidence show that it may have a significant impact in aiding people with these three conditions.
Pain is the result of inflammation in the body. Preliminary studies on animals show that CBD has the ability to reduce inflammation and pain. In a 2017 study, topical CBD significantly reduced pain and inflammation in rats with osteoarthritis. Continued use prevented further pain and averted nerve damage in the joints.
A 2019 study indicates that CBD may be beneficial in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks, and phobias. There has not been a large-scale study on the effects of CBD in treating anxiety, but the preliminary research is promising.
Preliminary studies on animals show that CBD has the potential to treat depression. In a 2016 study, mice with surgically induced depression were treated with CBD. The cannabinoid acted fast on the brain receptors to enhance the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that functions to regulate mood. Another study in 2019 shows that CBD induces antidepressant effects in mice.
The data on animal studies are promising, but tests have to be advanced to study its long-term effect on humans. Although many first-hand user experiences testify of the antidepressant effects of CBD, these cannot be considered scientific evidence unless studied in a controlled environment.
What Are Terpenes?
Of the 500 known compounds found in cannabis plants, around 140 are categorized as terpenes. These phytochemicals are aromatic compounds found not only in cannabis but also in other plants. These compounds are the reason for the taste and smell of nearly all plants.
Terpenes are not only beneficial because of their flavour and aroma. They protect plants with their antibacterial properties, repel pests, and attract pollinators for further propagation.
Hundreds of terpenes have been identified worldwide, and more than 100 of them have been linked to cannabis. Nevertheless, not all of them are beneficial to our health. Only a few terpenes occur in significant concentrations in hemp plants to provide any notable effect.
Potential Cannabis Synergy
Researchers are interested in terpenes because of their potential medicinal properties to human health. Previous studies on terpenes provide a good overview of how these compounds help our physiological and emotional well-being, especially when combined with cannabinoids.
Terpenes are often added to essential oils, spices, and perfumes to create a variety of smells. They have also been used for centuries in aromatherapy, a holistic practice believed to help heal the body. They are often introduced into different cannabis products to give unique aromas and distinct flavours.
Some researchers believe that terpenes may increase, reduce, or modify the potency of cannabinoids in the body. Terpenes modulate the effects of CBD and THC. It makes cannabis products more exciting to consume while enhancing the positive impact of the major cannabinoids.
Terpenes are safe for human consumption and often positively affect our health. When consumed, they increase dopamine levels, enhance our mood, relieve stress, reduce inflammation, and enhance the benefits of cannabinoids.
Although more research is required to confirm the benefits of terpenes and their therapeutic properties, it is safe to say that terpenes play a significant role in our experience of cannabis. Nevertheless, some people may be allergic to particular terpenes. If certain terpene aromas cause your nose to get runny, it may indicate allergies.
Major Terpenes in CBD Oil and Their Benefits
Not all CBD products contain terpenes, but most CBD oils have a variety of terpenes. The terpene profile of a CBD product depends on the cannabis strain. Terpenes provide the specific aroma and flavour of the product while enhancing the potential health benefits of the primary cannabinoids.
The entourage effect is why most people choose broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum CBD products over CBD isolate products. Let us take a deeper look into specific terpenes that are more abundant in CBD oil.
Limonene is a common terpene that provides the fragrance and taste of citrus fruits. As you may have guessed, it is abundant in lemons, limes, and oranges. The terpene is energizing and stress-relieving, which is why it is often used as a fragrance for perfumes marketed for energy and zest. Research into this substance reveals that it can enhance the effects of cannabinoids and other terpenes.
Myrcene has an earthy, pungent, and fruity aroma. It is one of the most common terpenes in cannabis that can easily penetrate the brain-blood barrier. It can relax the muscles, reduce pain, and provide antibacterial effects. When taken in high doses, it can cause drowsiness with its sedative effects.
As you may have thought, pinene is the most abundant terpene in pine needles. However, it is plentiful in cannabis and many citrus fruits. This specific terpene is an antibacterial compound with anti-inflammatory properties. It can also be used as a bronchodilator agent.
Beta-caryophyllene is the primary terpene in broccoli, black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves. It is a promising terpene because it can interact with cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors to provide therapeutic effects. Its interaction with the ECS allows it to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Cannabis strains with a floral aroma contain linalool, the same terpene found in lavender and chamomile. Linalool affects our state of mind to provide stress relief and anti-anxiety properties. It is often found in hemp topical creams and ointments because it helps provide calming and soothing aromas.
Terpineol has a distinct aroma and flavour. It is found in lime blossoms, lilacs, and exotic fruits. Its particular fragrance makes it an exceptional terpene for perfumes and lotions. According to scientists, this terpene may provide potent anti-oxidant effects.
Bisabolol is a terpene commonly found in chamomile and has high concentrations in the candela tree. Its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects are helpful in many skin care product applications. Its fragrance offers calming effects, as well.
Trans-nerolidol is a common terpene found in lemongrass, jasmine, and tea trees. It has notes of roses, apples, and citrus fruits. Preliminary research into this terpene suggests sedative, antifungal, and antiparasitic effects.
Effects and Benefits of Terpenes in CBD Oil
Terpenes serve a crucial role in the immune system of plants. However, they also offer a wealth of benefits to humans. They enhance the effects of cannabinoids and interact with the ECS to maintain homeostasis in the body.
Cannabinoids and terpenes work in synergy to provide more enhanced benefits for the body. This phenomenon is called the entourage effect or the ensemble effect. It was introduced in 1998 after Raphael Mechoulan discovered that cannabis extracts from the whole plant produced more therapeutic benefits than isolated compounds.
Scientists assume that cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in cannabis have a unique synergistic relationship. When these compounds are consumed in dry flowers or oil extracts, they enhance the effectiveness of the primary cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC. In some cases, they mitigate the adverse effects of THC, such as anxiety and paranoia.
Some of the synergistic effects are attributed to other cannabinoids and not terpenes. For instance, CBD can counteract the psychoactive effects of THC, which may be helpful to people who have a high sensitivity to THC. Therefore, CBD can balance out the adverse effects of THC intoxication, which results in a more clear-headed high.
Small doses of THC can also amplify the relaxing effects and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Therefore, many experts believe that full-spectrum CBD works better than broad-spectrum or isolate-based products.
The bottom line is that terpenes and cannabinoids work better when taken together. First of all, the terpenes provide flavour and aroma to CBD products. CBD isolate tastes rather bland. Adding terpenes to it makes it more exciting to consume. Second, terpenes enhance the beneficial properties of CBD.
How to Use CBD Terpenes
Terpenes are not as valuable on their own because they do not provide as many health benefits as cannabinoids. Nevertheless, they make a substantial difference when combined with CBD products. Specific terpenes are added to CBD to provide particular fragrances and flavours and modulate the effects of CBD.
In general, terpenes are often added to oils and vape juices.
Terpenes for CBD Oils
When hemp undergoes CO2 extraction, the hemp extract contains all the organic compounds found in hemp, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Manufacturers can leave this extract unfiltered and sell it as raw CBD oil. This kind of extract encourages the entourage effect because it contains all the major compounds in hemp. However, it may also have higher percentages of THC, which may not be legal depending on where you use it.
Manufacturers process the raw CBD extract further through fractional distillation to isolate the individual compounds into different chambers. Distillation helps them keep the THC level at a legal threshold of less than 0.3%. The terpenes can be added back with the CBD isolate to produce a more effective CBD oil.
Sometimes, a legal amount of THC is also introduced back into the mix to produce full-spectrum oil. Both cannabinoids work in synergy with the different terpenes to deliver enhanced therapeutic benefits.
Terpenes for CBD Vapes
You can produce CBD vapes with various flavours by adding specific terpenes. It is a process you can do safely at home as long as you have a quality CBD vape juice, a thinning agent (propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin), and cannabis terpenes of your choice.
Experts suggest that vape juice should have at least 1% terpene concentration and a maximum of 5%. At least one percent solution allows you to achieve the desired flavour and aroma. More than 5% terpene concentration may make the flavour and aroma too strong.
Preliminary cannabis research shows that high-quality CBD products provide various health benefits. Most users take CBD for three main reasons: pain, anxiety, and depression. Some scientists believe that terpenes can further enhance these benefits.
Terpenes do not simply add flavour and aroma to CBD products. They enhance the therapeutic effects of CBD oil. Many researchers have investigated the synergistic relationship between terpenes and cannabinoids for many years. While there is still a lot more research to be done, preliminary studies show a lot of promise.
If you want to experience the full benefits of CBD, you may wish to use full-spectrum or broad-spectrum varieties. Having a bit of THC into the mix is the most beneficial, but it all depends where you live.