What are CBD terpenes and how can they help?

If you’re familiar with CBD, you may have found references to terpenes on the label of your CBD product. What are these compounds and how can they help?

What are terpenes in CBD?

Terpenes are organic compounds found in plants, largely responsible for giving them their aromas and flavors. In nature they serve both to attract pollinators and to repel predators and pests, but they’ve also been used in natural medicine and aromatherapy for millennia— notably, as mood enhancers and for overall wellness.

The cannabis plant is the most terpene-dense plant known to us, containing over 100 different terpenes. Each one of these compounds has its own beneficial properties, but when combined with others – and with other substances, such as cannabinoids – their therapeutic benefits are magnified. This is known as the entourage effect.

What can CBD terpenes do for you?

Research has proved that, when you take full-spectrum CBD containing terpenes and cannabinoids, both substances work together in synergy to:

  • provide pain relief
  • help reduce inflammation
  • relieve emotional distress
  • improve your mood
  • promote antifungal and antibacterial activity

What kind of terpenes are found in the cannabis plant?

These are some of the terpenes found in the cannabis plant and their main therapeutic properties:

  • Myrcene is also found in hops and lemongrass, and has an earthy, herbal scent. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties, and helps regulate blood sugars.
  • Limonene also appears in citrus peel and rosemary and it has a distinctive citrusy scent. It has antibacterial, energizing, and mood-elevating properties.
  • α-pinene is also found in rosemary and has a smell similar to turpentine. It’s invigorating and boosts mental alertness.
    Linalool is also found in lavender, and it has a similar scent to it, with an added touch of citrus. It is known for its anti-anxiety effects.
  • β-caryophyllene also appears in black pepper and cloves, and its smell is woody and pungent. It activates cannabinoid receptors and reduces inflammation.
  • Nerolidol also appears in lemongrass and lavender. Its green, woody scent is often used in perfumes and in flavoring. It has sedative, antifungal and anti-microbial properties.

Do all CBD products contain terpenes?

The short answer is no. Not all CBD products contain terpenes. If you’re interested in experiencing the “entourage effect”, you must try a full-spectrum CBD contains all phytochemicals naturally found in the cannabis plant, including terpenes.

Some of the beneficial components found in cannabis can be isolated, such as CBD isolate. While CBD isolate has its own beneficial properties, it won’t produce the “entourage effect”, as it doesn’t have any other substances to interact with.

The Bottom Line

Terpenes in CBD provide pain relief, help reduce inflammation, relieve emotional distress, improve your mood, and promote antifungal and antibacterial activity. However, not all CBD products contain terpenes. To benefit from their therapeutic properties – and to maximise the benefits of CBD – choose full-spectrum CBD.

The quality of CBD products is not regulated, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any over-the-counter CBD products. Be sure to check the label to confirm the product has received third-party testing for quality. CBD supplements can interact with other medications, so it is important to talk with your doctor before beginning the regular use of any CBD products.


  1. The Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Terpenoids from Cannabis. 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6308289/
  2. Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. 2008. https://www.pnas.org/content/105/26/9099
  3. Protective effect of linalool, myrcene and eucalyptol against t-butyl hydroperoxide induced genotoxicity in bacteria and cultured human cells. 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19049815?dopt=Abstract
  4. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/
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