Fruits with hemp leaves on top of them.

Key Takeaways

  • Terpenes are strong aromatic compounds that make plants smell the way they do and are believed to interact with our bodies through our sense of smell.

  • Terpenes work with other compounds found in the cannabis plant to produce the entourage effect – use full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products to achieve that.

  • Some of the most common terpenes found in CBD include myrcene, pinene, limonene, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, and humulene, all of which have similar analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties.

You may have encountered several unfamiliar terms if you’ve been reading up on CBD and its benefits.

One of these new words, which often appears alongside CBD, is terpenes.

You may have seen it pop up a few times in our blog, and in this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about terpenes and what role they play in CBD.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are found everywhere in our daily lives. They are strong aromatic compounds that make plants smell the way they do.

It is responsible for your garden’s different aromas and favorite fruits. It also gives essential oils their characteristic fragrance and believed health benefits.

In addition, because numerous products use essential oils, you can find terpenes almost everywhere around you. Including your favorite skincare product or the air freshener you use.

Looking to science, plants produce terpenes for evolutionary reasons such as attracting pollinators or warding off predators.

In addition, some insects also have terpenes that play a vital role as pheromones.

How Do Terpenes Interact With Our Body?

Terpenes are believed to interact with our bodies through our sense of smell.

And since the sense of smell links to parts of the brain responsible for controlling emotions, essential oils for aromatherapy have been in use for centuries due to this belief.

Although that does seem plausible, there is more to the story.

Each terpene interacts with a specific brain receptor, generating different outcomes. 

In addition, each terpene can affect several areas in the brain and the nervous system. This function is why some terpenes can produce multiple effects.

Because terpenes can affect the body, we call them bioactive compounds. However, the extent of this effect depends on the concentration and the method of consumption.

Terpenes and CBD

You may have guessed by now that terpenes are responsible for the aroma of hemp. 

Interestingly, because hemp and cannabis produce numerous terpenes, each strain smells different from the other.

However, the role of terpenes does not end here.

Terpenes work with other cannabinoids to produce the entourage effect.

This effect is a mechanism where the cannabinoids may act synergistically to create a more significant therapeutic experience.

Terpenes may help bring about the entourage effect in two ways:

First, research suggests that some terpenes may play a role in how CBD binds to the cannabinoid receptors by binding to these receptors themselves.

As a result, this may alter the way CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system and, therefore, help increase or decrease the effects of the consumed CBD.

Secondly, terpenes complement the effect of CBD.

So, for example, if you’re taking CBD to relax, the terpenes in your CBD product may also have relaxing effects to reinforce the impact you want it to have.

Similarly, pairing your CBD with terpenes that have anti-inflammatory properties may further encourage these effects.

Terpenes Vs Terpenoids

You might have also encountered the word terpenoids and terpenes in your CBD journey.

Although it is easy to think that terpenoids and terpenes are interchangeable, they mean different things.

Terpenes are natural compounds in plants. Terpenoids, on the other hand, are oxidized terpenes.

For example, in a live hemp plant, the aromatic compounds found in the bud or flower are the terpenes. Drying and curing the plant oxidizes the terpenes forming terpenoids.  

Terpenes Found in CBD

To date, more than 200 different terpenes have been identified in hemp plants.

Here, we have reviewed six common ones and the benefits they may offer:


Myrcene is the most common terpene in the cannabis plant.

It may allow the effects of CBD to occur faster by lowering the resistance across the blood-brain barrier.

Moreover, myrcene may have potent analgesic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.


Pinene is another common terpene that may bring about anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It may also be used as an expectorant and as a bronchodilator.  

Furthermore, this terpene may have anti-cancer properties and preventive and restorative effects on an individual’s mental and physical health.


Limonene is known for its citrusy smell. It is a well-researched terpene with many health benefits.

According to a study, limonene has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antidiabetic, and anticancer properties.


Ever wonder which terpene is responsible for the scent of your favorite lavender oil? Well, here it is.

Linalool has been around for centuries to help relax and aid sleep. It may also have properties that may help reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Linalool may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties; a study showed that linalool might significantly reduce lung inflammation caused by cigarette smoke by blocking carcinogenesis.

Another study looking into the anti-inflammatory effects of linalool suggests that this terpene may reverse some of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease and restore cognitive and emotional function.

In addition, linalool may have antimicrobial and antidepressant properties.


Beta-caryophyllene may help treat anxiety, depression, inflammation, and pain.

A study revealed this terpene interacts with the CB2 receptor, which suggests that it may effectively treat pain and inflammation.  

Another study revealed that Beta-caryophyllene helps prevent nephrotoxicity caused by chemotherapy in cancer patients.  


A study has shown that Humulene may prevent allergic reactions and asthma by reducing inflammation in the airways. This suggests that it could be a potential anti-allergy medication.

Humulene may also have anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties. Furthermore, it may also help suppress appetite for those looking to lose weight.

Final Thoughts

CBD products have a lot more going on than just CBD, and using terpenes may help you unlock more benefits that CBD has to offer.

Of course, it all comes down to whether you’re comfortable using terpenes and CBD.

If you are, remember to look for broad-spectrum and full-spectrum products to enjoy the effects of both terpenes and CBD. Otherwise, CBD isolate may be the choice for you.

And as always, do your research before making a purchase!

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