Smells Too Good To Be True
So you’re interested in CBD, have tried it a few times and now you’re getting into the detail? If that’s the case you might have heard mention of terpenes in your research.
If you are familiar with "essential oils" you already have some experience with terpenes. Ever picked a sprig of mint and held it under your nose, or smelled the unmistakable scent of a pine tree brought inside for Christmas? These smells belong to the plant’s own aromatic oils, otherwise known as Terpenes. Terpenes are hydrocarbon compounds produced by a variety of plants (including cannabis) as a form of protection to deter predators, but for us mammals they often smell great and can contain many benefits.
Secreted by the same glands that produce cannabinoids like CBD and THC, each terpene has its own distinct scent, ranging from citrus, to woody notes, spicy and peppery. Without realising you may have already sampled some of the more common terpenes - limonene is in the essential oil of lemons and limes, alpha and beta-pinene are found in the essential oil of pine needles.
Currently, there are at least 20,000 different terpenes in existence and the cannabis plant has more than 100 of these terpenes - it’s a lot to take in, we know - so we’ve found this chart from spiritofhemp.com highlighting the top 6 terpenes found in the cannabis plant.
The Sciency Bit
Although serving it’s function as an aromatic repellent for plants - for people and other mammals alike, terpenes can also provide benefits as they act within our endocannabinoid system (neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors found in most mammals' nervous systems). Together with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, they react as one to form what is known as ‘The Entourage Effect’. The combination of compounds produces a stronger influence than any individual one, this means that not only do terpenes smell good, they also contribute to the ‘high’ when taken with THC, and adds to the relaxing effect when taken with CBD.
So What About Terpenes in CBD?
The most common terpene found in commercial cannabis today is Myrcene - found in high concentrations in hemp, it is only prevalent in broad and full spectrum CBD oil. This is one of the reasons why it’s often stated that full and broad spectrum extracts are more effective than isolates (although experience of individuals varies). We use broad spectrum CBD, which means you get the added benefits of the terpenes without the psychoactive THC.
Myrcene is responsible for the peppery, musky notes found in Thyme, Lemongrass and Mango and is believed to promote calming effects when taken in high quantities.
Historically Myrcene rich crops like hops and lemongrass have been used in traditional medicine as a sedative or to ease anxiety. Today with an increased use of CBD for relaxation and sleep, it suggests that Myrcene has played a key role in the booming success of CBD products today.
But still there is much research to be done, where science has primarily focussed on cannabinoids in isolation, terpenes have been overlooked. While we can’t know for sure, the anecdotal benefits of CBD and it’s terpenes are in abundance. Maybe you’d like to try for yourself? Grab yourself a Dutch Courage or a Mellowdrama and let us know how it makes you feel. ✌