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What are Terpenes in Hemp

What are Terpenes in Hemp

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are fragrant organic compounds found in hemp and other plants that bind to receptors in the human body and carry a variety of health benefits. Terpenes are responsible for the aroma and flavours of some hemp-derived CBD products, and influence its effects by interacting with cannabinoids.

Hemp-derived terpenes are formed inside cannabis trichomes, and their relative presence is directly affected by both the spectrum and intensity of light exposure. Terpene profiles vary amongst hemp plants, influencing their unique aroma profiles. Different hemp plants will produce distinct scents based on their unique blend of terpenes.


Why Do Plants Produce Terpenes?


In some plants, terpenes act as a way to attract pollinators or repel predators, such as insects or foraging animals. Terpenes also play a protective role, helping the plant to recover from damage, while others act as a part of the plant’s immune system to keep away harmful germs.

Terpenes and CBD products

Since the hemp plant contains up to 120 different terpenes, the functions of each one in the entourage effect is difficult to discern, but there is evidence to support certain qualities. The terpenes alpha-pinene and beta-caryophyllene have been shown to dilate blood vessels, enabling cannabinoids to pass through the bloodstream more easily.


Mounting scientific evidence suggests that terpenes play a considerable role in not only tempering the intoxicating effects of THC, but also creating synergy with other cannabinoids and even increasing their therapeutic value. Although hundreds of different terpenes have been found in cannabis, only a select group of them are sufficiently present to warrant mention. These are the 7 most prominent terpenes in cannabis, along with their aromas and potential health benefits as shown in experiments on animals.



Is one of the two most prominent terpenes in cannabis — the other being caryophyllene — meaning most cultivars on the market are dominant in one or both. It is also found in lemongrass, thyme, and mango, and carries the signature earthy aroma found in most cannabis plants.

Similar to several other cannabis compounds, myrcene may be an effective anti-inflammatory, pain medication, and antioxidant, according to a study published in 2020 



Beta-caryophyllene is another predominant terpene found in cannabis. In addition to cannabis, caryophyllene is found in hops, cloves, and rosemary. It carries an herbal aroma synonymous with these plants. Like myrcene, caryophyllene has both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, as well as wound-healing abilities, at least in animal models.



Pinene is another naturally abundant terpene. There are two forms of pinene: a-pinene and b-pinene. Pinene provides the fresh, bright scent of many plants, including pine needles, rosemary, and basil. Pinene may also have some therapeutic benefits.

Shirin-yoku, which means “forest bathing,” is a Japanese therapy that involves taking leisurely walks in the forest, soaking up the atmosphere, and enjoying the scent. Shirin-yoku may have preventive and restorative effects on a person’s psyche and physiology.


A study in Acta Salus Vitae notes that the amount of pinene in the air of a healthy forest is enough to be therapeutic. Pinene acts as a bronchodilator, allowing more air into the lungs. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and may fight against some infectious germs when inhaled.



Limonene is a common terpene that most people can recognise by its scent.


As the name suggests, limonene gives the rinds of fruits such as lemons and oranges their citrusy smell. Limonene is frequently used in a wide variety of natural products, such as fragrances and cleaning supplies, leading some cultivars to be named after and described as smelling like cleaners.


A comprehensive review of existing studies published  in 2021 showed that limonene has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties, and it protects cardiovascular, liver, and gastrointestinal tissues in humans.

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Linalool is found in rosewood, bergamot, coriander, rose, jasmine, and lavender. It carries a very pleasant floral aroma, and is often used in soaps and perfumes. In addition to potentially reducing inflammation and inflammatory pain like several other terpenes, linalool has some unique potential health benefits. It’s been found to inhibit the growth of fungal infections outside the human body, particularly as they arise from the yeast infection candida. It also has sedative, anti-anxiety, and anticonvulsant effects.



Is a common cannabis terpene that’s predominant in hops. It’s also present in sage, clove, basil, black pepper, and ginseng, and carries a corresponding hoppy aroma. Research has indicated that humulene may be an effective topical anti-inflammatory and pain reliever in mice.



Ocimene is derived from the Ancient Greek word Ocimum meaning basil, though the terpene’s profile is not predominantly herbal. However, ocimene does naturally occur in the essential oil of basil.  It’s found in a wide variety of plant life, including mint, mango, parsley, tarragon, basil, and orchids. Omicene can act as an anti-inflammatory and may have antiviral and antifungal properties.

Where are terpenes found on the cannabis plant?


You’ve probably noticed the tiny glandular hairs that cover the surface of cannabis plants, giving them a crystal-like sheen and sticky feel. They’re called trichomes, and they’re responsible for terpene production in cannabis. Trichomes contain resin glands that make terpenes and cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), which turn into tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), respectively, when decarboxylated. In other words, almost everything a user wants from cannabis — including terpenes — are found in trichomes all over the plant’s surface.

Benefits of Terpenes 

So, what are the benefits of terpenes for humans? Terpenes have been shown to cooperate with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), as well as the immune, nervous, and gastrointestinal systems. Terpenes also support other cannabis molecules in producing desired effects. This is called the entourage effect, and it is the reason these aromatic compounds have become such a critical area of cannabis research.

Nuleaf Naturals hemp extract includes naturally occurring phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and more. It is formulated to help support a sense of calm for focus manage everyday stresses, recovery from exercise-induced inflammation, and maintain healthy sleep cycles.


If you are interested in a premium hemp-derived CBD product with terpenes, look at Nuleaf Naturals  full-spectrum CBD products.

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