While cannabinoids usually enjoy most of the spotlight when it comes to cannabis compounds, hemp terpenes are not to be overlooked… Find out all about these amazing compounds in our latest guide!
To the untrained nose, all cannabis, including hemp, smells about the same—slightly sweet, a lot skunky, and maybe a bit earthy. However, ask a cannabis cultivator, researcher, or everyday connoisseur, and you’ll find out this family of plants can have aromas so diverse that it’s almost mind-blowing.
In fact, people who know their stuff can take a single sniff of dried cannabis and tell you:
- The age of the plant when it was harvested
- The likely strain of the plant
- The possible potency of the plant
The diversity of aromas that can radiate from hemp can range from deep and earthen with hints of sage to sweet and fruity with an almost citrus fragrance. While many people familiar with good hemp strains may know that Hawaiian Haze smells totally different from something like Jack Herer, many don’t know that hemp terpenes are behind all this diversity. Even more interesting, terpenes may serve up something more than just fragrant experiences when you smoke hemp.
So, what are terpenes, what’s their purpose, and how do these hemp constituents work? We’ve pulled together this comprehensive guide to serve as a formal intro for curious beginners.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are aromatic compounds, hydrocarbons actually, found in plants. These naturally-derived compounds are responsible for the characteristic scent of the hemp plant. These compounds actually give each hemp strain its unique aromatic profile, as each strain can boast a different combination of terpenes.
Though the assumption is that these compounds are just a cannabis thing, they’re actually found in many, if not most, plants and even in some animals. It just so happens that plants in the cannabis family actually boast higher concentrations of terpenes than a lot of other plants.
Numerous types of terpenes exist, each with its own fragrant characteristics. Pine trees in the forest, fresh lemon slices, just-cut grass, soothing lavender, juicy raspberries—awesome fragrance experiences, right? All this is possible thanks to terpenes. Terpenes are thought to be one of the most abundant compounds on the planet. Life would be missing something spectacular without them.
How Do Terpenes Work?
In nature, terpenes may serve multiple purposes. The sweet smell of the terpenes of a rose may attract pollinating insects and the cool smell of terpenes in mint may deter pests. As much as terpenes are associated with smell, these hydrocarbons are more than just random compounds; they are actually considered to be biochemically active.
To better understand the biochemical actions of terpenes, consider essential oils and aromatherapy. Lavender essential oil, which is pretty much a concentrated form of the plant’s terpenes, is thought to induce a calm, relaxed state. Likewise, rose essential oil is thought to reduce anxiety. Therefore, just taking in the aromatics of certain terpenes may have some beneficial outcomes. But, there may be even more to tell.
Some terpenes support the well-being of plants, such as helping a plant heal after damage or supporting a plant’s immune system. Scientists suspect terpenes could serve similar roles when consumed by humans. Certain terpenes have been shown to produce beneficial effects on the human body. At least one study mentions the possibility of terpenes becoming a valuable component in alternative therapy.
How to Use Terpenes
Terpenes are just getting started and making their way into the alternative-medicine spotlight, so a lot of research is lacking on some of these compounds. While you can find cannabis derived terpenes and non-cannabis-derived terpenes marketed on their own, specifics on how to use terpenes precisely is currently up for debate.
If you truly want to take advantage of the proposed benefits of these hydrocarbons, it may be best to stick with using terpenes in their natural form for now. By using full-spectrum CBD products (which naturally have some terpenes still included) or simply smoking hemp, you can take in these constituents and possibly reap their supportive benefits.
Do Cannabis Terpenes Get You High?
Terpenes don’t get you high. They may support some of the therapeutic effects of CBD or hemp, but they are not really known to cause any psychoactive effects like certain cannabinoids like THC. Terpenes themselves have a different chemical structure altogether when compared to cannabinoids like THCs.
This may bring up the answer to another common question: Are terpenes legal? Yes, as long as they’re not sold in products that contain more than the .03 percent THC, just as it is with CBD.
Exploring Several Common Hemp Terpenes
In just hemp flower, you can find as many as 100 different terpenes. Some hemp strains contain a full collaboration of many terpenes. While we may not be able to cover all types of terpenes, we can take a look at some of the best terpenes known to be found in various hemp strains.
Also found in mangoes, lemongrass hops, and thyme, myrcene is a well-recognized terpene because it’s found in higher concentrations in the cannabis plant family. This hemp terpene is usually touted as being the primary culprit behind the telltale skunky smell, but myrcene could also be described as having a slightly musky or fruity aroma. You may find an abundance of myrcene in high-CBD strains, such as Suver Haze.
In animal studies, myrcene was shown to help prevent oxidative damage to the brain after a stroke due to its antioxidant status. Myrcene also seems to have certain anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in the treatment or prevention of osteoarthritis.
Pinene is found in plants like rosemary, basil, and obviously, pine needles, but it is also highly abundant in hemp, specifically strains like Hawaiian Haze. This terpene serves up a sharp, woody scent, which is thought to perhaps help open up the bronchial pores to encourage better breathing. However, pinene is also historically a mainstay in Chinese medicine because it is an antioxidant and may even be antibacterial.
Linalool is actually touted a lot in aromatherapy, specifically in reference to lavender, because it is thought to induce a state of calm. Linalool may be beneficial for a long list of issues, including:
- Antimicrobial effects
- Neuroprotective qualities
Even though linalool is well-known, it has not been thoroughly examined to determine its exact mechanisms of action in the body.
Beta-caryophyllene is found in quite a few other plants, including pepper and cloves. Once you are able to point out the spicy, almost woody aroma of caryophyllene, you can pick it up relatively easily in certain hemp strains like Suver Haze and Fire OG.
Much like other terpenes, beta-caryophyllene is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. In an animal study published by the European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacol in 2014, researchers noted that the terpene seemed to have an analgesic effect and could potentially be good for long-term pain.
Bisabolol can offer a range of aromas depending on concentrations, and it is also found in chamomile. Some would say the terpene has an almost nutty fragrance, while others claim it has a somewhat fruit note with floral undertones. Just as the aromatics of this hemp terpene are diverse, so are its proposed benefits. Some studies suggest bisabolol may be antiinflammatory, but it may also act as a relaxant. The compound is commonly added to topical skin products because it is believed to have skin-soothing abilities.
Limonene is known for its easily recognized citrus scent, which means it is also present in citrus fruit like lemons and oranges. As one of the oldest-known terpenes, limonene may very well be one of the most studied terpenes to date. One particular study published in Chemico-Biological Interactions mentions that limonene may:
- Help with inflammation
- Have anti-cancer properties
- Have antiviral properties
- Act as an antioxidant
- Help with diabetes
One interesting fact about this terpene is it seems to behave in similar ways as cells found in the immune system. While it is only speculation, this could mean the terpene could be supportive of overall health.
Add Hemp Terpenes to Your Lifestyle with TIMBR Organics
Whether you are looking to experience terpenes strictly from an aromatic standpoint or want to explore how these hemp compounds enhance the effects of CBD, smokable hemp is a good place to start. By smoking hemp flower, you take in the full spectrum of cannabinoids offered, as well as all those wonderful, fragrant terpenes that may highlight the experience.
Looking for a powerful way to add hemp terpenes to your lifestyle? At TIMBR Organics, we offer a wide selection of premium, terpene, and cannabinoid-rich hemp products including hemp flower, hemp pre-rolls, hemp cigarettes, and hemp oil vape pens.
Try one of our top-rated products and take advantage of the natural wonders hemp terpenes has to offer today!
Thanks for reading Hemp Terpenes 101! We hope that it helped to inform you about the amazing world of hemp terpenes and provided you with actionable insights to help improve your lifestyle.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, we’d love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts with our team in the comments.
This article is not intended to serve as a substitute for advice or consultation from a certified doctor or health professional. Before trying CBD or hemp flower products, it is strongly advised to conduct your own research and consult with a licensed doctor. While the World Health Organization considers cannabidiol to be “generally well tolerated with a good safely profile,” more research is needed to properly evaluate the safety and efficacy of CBD for general use.