What the hell are terpenes? - Hoo Raa

CBD 101

What the hell are terpenes?

The real truth about terpenes in cannabis and their benefits

Come on into the CBD space, a world where many names get thrown about, including this one. So, if you’ve done some digging into CBD products, you’ve probably heard about something called terpenes. 

The truth is terpenes can play an important role in cannabis products. Even better, they may help you determine what types are best for you. More and more companies are using these compounds to enhance flavor, aroma, and user experience while boosting potential health benefits. Yes, there are goodies to be had from CBD with terpenes, and learning more about them can unlock the right cannabinoid therapy for your specific needs. All you need is a jump-off point, so here’s our comprehensive guide on terpenes and the promising therapeutic value they offer.

The ipso facto on terpenes in CBD

cbd terpene benefits

Interestingly, terpenes or terpenoids are naturally occurring compounds and they’re found (predominantly) in various plant life. Hugely complex, they comprise more than 30,000 unique physical and chemical properties. They’re also the primary constituents of essential oils of many plants and flowers giving each botanical’s particular aromas, flavors, and occasionally even colors.

Along with the pretty stuff, their biological function plays a role in disease resistance, attraction of pollinators, plant-to-plant communication, and other essential stuff needed to support the plant’s immune system. It’s a no-brainer then to say that these plant compounds have been used for fragrances and flavors in products running from perfumes to cosmetics, beverages, and foods for an age.

At the same time, preliminary clinical research supports that many terpenes may have exclusive medicinal potential differing from compound to compound. Just think about traditional treatments like aromatherapy and you can see how this is an important component. Throughout history, people have harnessed terpenes for mood alteration like stress relief and relaxation. Right from citrus fruits to savory herbs, terpenes are all around us in nature. All plants synthesize a different suite of several hundred terpene compounds with individual roles for unique benefits. 

Head on back to the cannabis plant, and you’ll find that it’s one of the most prevalent plant sources of terpenes. Brimful of them, cannabis has been identified to contain more than 150 types of terpenes all working together to give us diverse strains and signature scent profiles. The compounds develop naturally in female cannabis plants within the trichomes’ resin glands dotted throughout the surface of flower buds and in smaller concentrations on the leaves and stems.   

What are the benefits of cannabis terpenes?

cannabis terpenes benefits

Hooray for the exclusive scent profiles each special suite of terpenes creates, but hold up, because these compounds may also have a scope of therapeutic effects. Identified as a revolutionary frontier in cannabis treatment, more and more emerging research on popular cannabinoids like CBD and THC is becoming center stage. It’s believed that all terpenes show individual combinations of therapeutic and medicinal properties. The crazy thing is that studies show that some of the effects terpenes have on people may mimic their immune support function in cannabis and other plants. This emerging science points to promising antiviral, antimicrobial, and pain relief properties among other potential benefits.


Along with boasting unique medicinal properties, researchers hypothesize that cannabis terpenes work in beautiful harmony with cannabinoids and all other plant compounds to optimize cannabis’ maximum healing potential. This cool theory is referred to as the entourage effect. Preliminary studies support the exclusive whole-plant synergy produced by cannabis plants when all present cannabinoids and terpenes are consumed together, instead of in isolated forms. We’re talking full-spectrum versus CBD isolate when we say recent studies, like this one, show better therapeutic promise in CBD products containing whole-plant cannabinoids and terpenes.

Jumping on board, the cannabis industry is working on this emerging research, formulating CBD products with added terpenes to create specific wellness supports and enhanced health potential. While the science on terpenes is still widely in its infancy, up-and-coming research on each of these common cannabis terpenes may help you find a better-suited CBD product for your needs.

The most common cannabis terpenes and their promising benefits

While over 150 different types of terpenes are found in cannabis, many only occur in trace amounts. Here is your run-through of the most common cannabis terpenes and their potential effects:



carophyllene cbd benefits

AKA beta-caryophyllene or β-caryophyllene, this terpene is also a biggie in rosemary, cloves, black pepper, and oregano. The peppery, spicy aroma produced by caryophyllene is super distinctive and it’s a dominant force in many cannabis strains. From a science POV, caryophyllene is the only cannabis-specific terpene that’s been discovered to bind to the CB2 receptor, which is why it’s sometimes called an atypical cannabinoid. Caryophyllene may offer the following medical benefits:


  • Recent studies on the terpene show its promising anti-anxiety properties while multitasking to support various chronic conditions ranging from degenerative neurological conditions to liver fibrosis. 
  • Caryophyllene may offer antidepressant-like effects by targeting the CB2 receptor.
  • Current studies on the terpene’s CB2 receptor activity point to its potential for treating conditions with an inflammatory component.
  • It may also enhance wound healing through cell proliferation and migration as well as activating the CB2 receptor for decreased pain.


cbd mycene benefits

Myrcene is another dominant terpene among cannabis strains, and it’s also found in hops and lemongrass. The musky, earthy, herbaceous gorgeousness of this terpene is responsible for the subtly sweet flavor profile in cannabis (as well as mangoes). The terpene content in cannabis strains is at the root of its sedating and energetic effects. Strains with high concentrations of 0.5% or more are more likely to be relaxing while strains with less than 0.5% are more inclined to be alerting. Studies on myrcene support the following promising benefits:


  • Myrcene may offer pain-relief properties. These studies report that it may inhibit pain perception and offer a local opioid-mediated effect.
  • It may prove beneficial for chronic pain management by targeting the TRPV1 channel.

Studies also show potential for anti-inflammatory and pro-anabolic properties for chronic conditions like osteoarthritis.


limonene cbd benefits

Mainly found in citrus fruits, ginger, and cannabis, limonene has a fresh, citrus aroma making it a well-known uplifting terpene. It’s already popularly used in your day-to-day products ranging from cosmetics to household cleaning stuff. More studies have been completed on this terpene in non-cannabis-focused research, but these studies show potential for the following therapeutic applications:

  • Studies show that limonene may increase the production of antibody-producing cells vital to the immune system. It’s these that address pathogenic viruses and bacteria.
  • It may also provide anti-inflammatory and anti-stress effects, reducing the physical and mental response to stressful stimuli.
  • Limonene may offer anti-anxiety properties by increasing tyrosine hydroxylase, GAD-67, and dopamine levels. 
  • Several studies, like this one and this one, show promising antitumor activity in various forms of cancer. 


pinene cbd benefits

Pinene is one of the most widely researched terpenes, available in two different compounds called alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. Alpha-pinene is the more dominant variety found in cannabis while beta-pinene features more trace amounts. It gives the product an earthy, piney aroma, yummily-like Christmas trees. The terpene is also found in basil, parsley, and evergreen trees, and is the most common terpene in all plant life. Preliminary studies support the following potential benefits:


  • Several studies point to pinene’s potential for gastroprotective, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, and neuroprotective effects. 
  • Pinene may offer anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties for addressing a wide scope of conditions.
  • It may prove particularly beneficial for neurological conditions due to its ability to influence multiple neurotransmitter, inflammatory, and neurotrophic signals.  

The terpene may also provide bronchodilator and pain-relieving benefits.  


linalool cbd benefits

The floral, characteristic lavender aroma with a delicious hint of spice and sweet citrus, linalool is naturally occurring in over 200 plants including lavender, birch bark, and cannabis. It’s commonly produced due to the variety of benefits it can provide plants throughout their growth cycles. Many of these benefits may be mirrored similarly in therapeutic effects for people. Linalool may offer the following therapeutic promise:



eucaluptol cbd benefits

AKA cineol, eucalyptol is a common terpene in cannabis, eucalyptus trees, sage, cardamom, and other plants. The vibrant, fresh, minty scent has been commonly used in aromatherapy practices. Renowned for a variety of promising benefits, there are preclinical studies that support the traditional uses of this terpene. Eucalyptol may provide the following medicinal benefits:


  • Clinical trials show promise for supporting common sinus infections, helping promote pain relief, and opening airways.
  • Eucalyptol may offer anti-inflammatory and pain-relief properties, as shown in this study after knee replacement surgery.
  • An interesting study conducted in a nursing home supports eucalyptol’s potential for improving cognitive function for individuals with dementia. 
  • The terpene may also provide antioxidant effects for providing therapeutic value for chronic conditions including respiratory disease, pancreatitis, cardiovascular disease, and more. 


humulene cbd benefits

Humulene is distinctive in its subtle woody, spicy, and earthy aroma, and it’s behind that distinct taste in hoppy beers. The herbaceous terpene is also found in ginseng, black pepper, and cannabis. Just like pinene and myrcene, humulene is a fundamental terpene in cannabis, responsible for the overall aromatic profile of these plants. However, it’s found in mini quantities compared to other terpene counterparts. The terpene may provide therapeutic benefits, including the following:


  • Humulene may contain anticancer and analgesic properties and may offer a beneficial influence on the efficacy of classical chemotherapeutics.
  • This terpene may promote antibacterial activity against certain bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. 

It may also deliver anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects, providing a potential tool for treating or managing inflammatory conditions.


bisabolol cbd benefits

Also called alpha-bisabolol or levomenol, this terpene has a sweet, floral aroma. It’s a fave for cosmetic products due to its scent and potential skin benefits. Bisabolol is found in cannabis as well as chamomile flowers and other herbal teas. Emerging research is showing promising health benefits like:

  • The terpene may reduce inflammation in the skin, offering potential skin-healing properties. Its anti-inflammatory effects may also address other conditions.
  • It may also stimulate gastrointestinal tract receptors, causing smooth muscle relaxation.      


ocimene cbd benefits

The sweet, earthy, citrusy aroma produced by ocimene has made this terpene a common additive in perfume products. Ocimene is present in cannabis as well as hops, bergamot, parsley, mint, kumquats, and many other plant species. It’s thought to act as a protective agent against harmful elements for various plant life. The terpene may provide the following therapeutic values:


  • Ocimene may provide anti-inflammatory properties shown to suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines.
  • It may also deliver antioxidative properties in addition to inhibiting essential enzymes that are connected to hypertension and type 2 diabetes.     


terpinolene cbd benefits


Terpinolene is known as one of the least-abundant terpenes found in cannabis. However, it’s worth noting as its promising effects can be profound on the cannabis experience despite its small concentrations. It plays an important role in both aroma and taste in many cannabis strains and is believed to synergistically impact therapeutic qualities. The piney, herbaceous, floral, and subtly citrusy aroma produced is also present in nutmeg, cumin, and lilacs. The terpene may have the following benefits:


Finding the Right CBD Product for You

Like any supplementation, self-experimentation is key in finding the right product and regimen for you. If you’re looking to treat something specific think about researching the potential therapeutic background of terpenes. It’s also important to find a dependable CBD company to help you find the right terpene and cannabinoid profile for your needs. the Hoo Raa team is always here to help you set out a customized CBD regimen based on your goals. Speak to one of our cannabinoid therapy specialists today for an individualized plan for you.


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