Let's Talk about Terpenes

by VitaLeaf Staff March 13, 2019

Have you ever heard of terpenes before? No matter where you fall on the spectrum of knowledge relating to terpenes, we are here to give you an entire rundown of the aromatic compounds we call cannabis terpenes.

From what they are to their benefits, there are numerous different kinds of terpenes found in cannabis plants and we covering them in full. From there, we'll point you in the right direction for buying terpenes-containing medicinal remedies.

Where Do Terpenes Come From?

Although terpenes are most often discussed in relation to cannabis than any other plant, they are not special nor are they unique to marijuana. Terpenes interact with our olfactory systems every time we smell a scent from a plant.

From pine cones and cherry blossoms to rosemary and lavender, terpenes are the reason that plants and flowers all smell differently from each other. Without these little chemical compounds, life would smell...well, probably not that great.

If you've heard of terpenes before, you probably already know that these mysterious things are often talked about when discussing marijuana. As you might already know or have already come to suspect, terpenes are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. They are so strongly associated with cannabis, for one reason in particular.

The reason is that terpenes are the aromatic compounds responsible for that oh-so-unique smell of weed.

Also found in THC and CBD oils, terpenes are also the reason why CBD and THC have a taste to them. From pine-scented fumes to fruit-flavored aftertastes, terpenes create a variety of flavors and aromas, making for quite an array of cannabis strains in terms of how it interacts with both the gustatory system and the olfactory system.

Terpenes are metabolites. As such, terpenes play a key part in the metabolization processes of our bodies. Naturally, terpenes influence the way our bodies respond to our environments, which is incredible because it means that terpenes can help us exist in places that might not be incredibly suitable.

For example, if you are an anxious person who lives in the heart of a city and finds over-stimulation hard to manage, certain terpenes can alter the way your body and your mind approach the busy lifestyle of downtown living. This will make the place you live less stressful and more manageable.

Cannabis-derived terpenes have an array of potential health benefits, and along with their anti-anxiety properties, these organic compounds have anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic effects, to name a few.

Then even more incredible is the therapeutic synergy these essential oils they have with the cannabinoids, boosting their medicinal properties.

Despite being called essential oils, terpenes are not essential. Just like cannabis in general, terpenes are not necessarily vital for a healthy lifestyle. You do not need the terpenes found in cannabis, but like a supplement or vitamin, terpenes can improve your life.

Together, terpenes can create some of the most profound changes in the way you feel on a day-to-day basis. You might not even realize how much better terpenes can make you feel until you introduce them into your lifestyle. People report feeling less stressed and more energized after making terpenes a staple in their everyday lives.

One terpene on its own can be magical, but when multiple terpenes are combined, their effects are far greater and more likely to be life-changing. When terpenes interact with each other, they play off the qualities of one another. Terpenes help to enhance the effects of other terpenes, so in a way, they work as a team.

Another fascinating aspect of terpenes is the ease of manipulation when it comes to tailoring terpenes for certain medicinal purposes. Increasing the concentration of one terpene within a strain of cannabis can subsequently change the effects of cannabis's therapeutic properties.

For example, a terpene called beta-caryophyllene, which we will soon explain in detail, is incredibly efficient in lowering stress levels. If a particular strain of cannabis is curated so that it contains a higher concentration of beta-caryophyllene, then that strain will have even greater rates of stress reduction than you might expect naturally.

So while terpenes can surely increase your quality of life, they are not an absolute necessity. But sometimes, even though you don’t need something, it can be really good for you, in the proper doses. Terpenes are not all the same, however. And their effects differ greatly. Let’s talk more about the various kinds of terpenes and the effects they typically have.

Extensive research has shown that there are many terpenes and terpenoids in cannabis that we are currently aware of, but when it comes to terpenes that you should pay attention to, only eight are currently worth mentioning. Not that the other ninety-two or so aren’t important, but in terms of health benefits and noticeable effects, the following eight terpenes are the most influential.

We want to preface these individual descriptions by mentioning that all of these terpenes have similar underlying health benefits. Naturally, since terpenes are found in cannabis, and cannabis is recognized for its healing properties, it is not a surprise that terpenes are also very calming and soothing. There are slight differences among the eight most common terpenes. This means a cannabis strain can vary from another due to its unique terpene profile, which will give it its own distinct scent and therapeutic benefits.


Terpinolene is similar in scent to Beta-Caryophyllene and Alpha-Pinene in that Terpinolene smells a bit like wood and trees. Think about the smell of Christmas pine as a terpene, and there you have it! Terpinolene is incredibly beneficial for the overall well-being of people who are prone to nervousness or who fall anywhere on the spectrum of anxiety disorders.


Linalool is a terpene that smells like a bouquet with its distinctive aromas As expected, linalool is known to elate moods and activate dopamine receptors in the brain. Also found in lavender plants, linalool makes people feel more at ease. From genuine pain and low moods to mental illnesses and difficulties sleeping, linalool is recommended for anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed mind.


Alpha-Pinene is a terpene that smells the way you would expect a forest of pine trees to smell. This is easy to remember because the word pine is part of the terpene's actual name.

Interestingly enough, alpha-pinene is known for increasing awareness of your surroundings and storing experiences more readily in your brain. Wondering why alpha-pinene smells so similar to pine trees? Well, that is because it is found in the needles of pine trees!


If oranges and lemons were terpenes, they would be Limonene. Even the name itself makes you think of citrus fruits, doesn't it? Limonene smells like orange peels and lemon rinds, among other similar scents. If you can envision yourself slicing open a citrus fruit, you will recognize the smells that the terpene, limonene, exudes. And who doesn't feel lighter and happier upon smelling citrus?

The calming and uplifting smells so often associated with oranges and lemons are because limonene induces a slight elevation in moods. As such, limonene is recognized for its impressive ability to lower rates of depressionanxiety, and stress among those who use it for such purposes.


Humulene has an earthy smell to it, like a mixture of dirt and open air. Most terpenes tend to have a range of medicinal benefits associated with them, but when it comes to humulene, the primary healing property of this terpene is its ability to counteract inflammation. Basil and coriander are two of a few other plants that contain humulene.


Myrcene is an impressively powerful terpene. As a brief side-note, cannabis that contains THC is broken down into two categories: indica and sativa. Indica cannabis strains are known for their calming, sedative effects on the body and mind, whereas sativa cannabis strains will actually energize someone who takes it, making them more active and their brain more alert.

If you have ever wondered how this is possible, you've finally found the answer to your question. The terpene, myrcene, is the determining factor that separates the energizing vs. relaxation effects contributed to different cannabis strains.

Often found heavier in indica strains. Myrcene has a calming effect on the body and the mind, making it an excellent sleep aid for anyone looking to counteract the symptoms of insomnia.


Ocimene is interesting because the aromatic properties of this terpene are a mix of sweet floral scents and dense forest-like smells. Ocimene can be thought of as having a light, woodsy scent. As a terpene that you can also find in fruits like kumquats and seasoning plants like basil, Ocimene is well-known for its protective nature against viruses. While it cannot cure infections or illnesses caused by viruses, Ocimene can certainly help keep you out of harm's way and increase the possibility of evading viruses.


Beta-Caryophyllene is most commonly used and known for its ability to lower stress levels in the brain, making people feel more well-rounded and relaxed overall. Beta-caryophyllene has a bit of a kick to it, aromatically speaking. Aside from being found in cannabis, beta-caryophyllene is commonly found in spices, particularly cinnamon and pepper.

The Phenomenal Effects of Terpenes: All About the Entourage Effect Phenomenon

There is one phenomenon in particular that is directly correlated with terpenes. Called the entourage effect, this phenomenon is defined as the understanding that utilizing all aspects of the cannabis plant is far more effective than deriving one cannabidiol -- like THC or CBD -- and consuming it on its own. If you think about the fact that entourage refers to a group of people or a conglomeration of things, then the concept begins to make more sense.

Just as there is more power in a group than one person can exhibit on their own, multiple components of cannabis are more impactful when used together than they are when they’re set apart and used separately.

Now that you have some more background information on the entourage effect, you might be wondering how in the world terpenes come into play.

So, to briefly recap, terpenes are the compounds that contribute to the aroma that cannabis gives off. While they aren't the star athletes, -- that would be the cannabinoids -- they are the coaches, doctors, and assistants those athletes rely on.

From there, let’s think about all the different kinds of cannabinoids contained within the cannabis plant. The two most commonly talked about cannabinoids are CBD, or cannabidiol, and THC, which is short for tetrahydrocannabinol. However, although these two have heightened levels of popularity, there are at least sixteen main cannabinoids in total.

Here is a list of the other fourteen cannabinoids, beyond THC and CBD:

  • Cannabichromene -- CBC

  • Cannabichromevarin -- CBCV

  • Cannabidiolic acid -- CBDA

  • Cannabidivarin -- CBDV

  • Cannabielsoin -- CBE

  • Cannabigerol -- CBG

  • Cannabigerol monomethyl ether -- CBGM

  • Cannabigerovarin -- CBGV

  • Cannabicyclol -- CBL

  • Cannabinol -- CBN

  • Cannabicitran -- CBT

  • Cannabivarin -- CBV

  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid -- THCA

  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin -- THCV

The Cannabinoids

Every single cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant has its own properties and they each influence the body -- and the mind -- in their own ways. For the sake of simplicity, let’s focus on CBD and THC. Let’s say you consume about 0.5 milliliters of CBD oil. The effects you’ll receive are very calming on the body, producing a chilled-out experience without subsequently affecting your mind.

Remember that CBD is not psychotropic, so the effects do not cause any alterations to the ways your mind functions. Anxiety symptoms, along with the anxiety itself, are often resolved with CBD, but not in a way that makes you feel other-worldly.

That said, if you compared your experience with CBD to a situation in which you inhale about fourteen milligrams of THC, the latter scenario will result in very different effects. THC is psychoactive, which just so happens to be one of the main reasons people smoke, eat, or consume THC in the first place.

By influencing the reward system in the brain and activating various cannabinoid receptors, tetrahydrocannabinol causes an uproar of stimulation among various neurons. As a result of THC entering the brain, the parts of our brains that contribute to the release of dopamine become activated. From there, the pleasure centers of our minds illuminate with activity, at which point we recognize that we feel good.

As is human nature, anything that creates a positive sensation in our minds and our bodies will be sought out and chased. While this instinct can be detrimental in many cases, the thing about cannabis -- whether it be THC, CBD, or any other cannabinoid -- is that it’s entirely natural. There is nothing harmful about these substances. And better yet, they work impressively well as alternatives for many prescription drugs intended to treat pain.

From here, we’re going to zero in on CBD and the terpenes found within CBD oils. Cannabidiol has been detected as being an incredibly effective substance for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. While many psychiatrists are quick to prescribe Xanax and Propranolol for the treatment of mental illnesses of this nature, CBD has been proven to do the trick in an all-natural way.

While Xanax can cause changes in your brain’s chemical makeup by influencing GABA receptors, Propranolol is less dangerous in the long-term, but potentially still not the safest. That’s where CBD comes into the equation.

Cannabis Terpenes and CBD: The Magic Duo

Are you wondering, “What are terpenes in CBD oil?” If so, take note:

CBD oil with terpenes is not psychoactive. In fact, terpenes enhance the cannabinoids' therapeutic benefits on the endocannabinoid system.

People that are in search of an all-natural remedy for certain ailments are sure to find comfort and relief in CBD oils. The terpenes found within CBD of any form are specifically tailored for relaxation, calmness, and obliteration of stress.

Cannabidiol does not contain the primary ingredient responsible for the psychoactive effects of the cannabis flowers, which is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. This means that you cannot get high from CBD! All you will feel is a greater sense of calm. What could be better?

Where to Buy CBD Oil and Other THC-Free Cannabis Products


PurCBD+ Full Spectrum PhytoCannaBinoiD Oil

VitaLeaf is a reputable online retailer of all-natural, terpene-containing CBD for people like you and me! From CBD oils to capsules containing CBD, VitaLeaf has an inventory that is sure to spark your interest. If you read this article and you feel that terpenes are the solution to an ailment of yours, we highly recommend that you test CBD oil from VitaLeaf for yourself!

Our CBD is specifically tailored for people who want to calm their minds, relax their bodies, and soothe their souls. Everything is better with the help of CBD. But don’t take our word for it. Try our VitaLeaf CBD oil for yourself!


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