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What Are Terpenes and Why Do they Matter with CBD?

When we talk about 12Twenty’s broad-spectrum, THC-free CBD, we also talk about terpenes. But why is that the case? What are terpenes, and why are they an important part of your CBD’s entourage effect? Well, those are all great questions. So we plan to answer them today, if you just keep reading!


What are terpenes?

The first thing to know is that we find terpenes in many different plants, not just in hemp strains of cannabis. In every plant, terpenes are notably scented compounds. But they do more than just create unique smells. In fact, many terpenes are associated with potential health benefits. Which is why terpenes are the main ingredients in many essential oils.

Now, when they’re inside plants, terpenes do one of two jobs: they produce a bad scent that scares away predators. Or, they give off pleasant smells to bring in insects to help with pollination. But once they’re extracted for human use, their roles change. And, when we extract terpenes from hemp to include in your broad spectrum CBD, they work together with the cannabinoids to boost your endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is when you might start to enjoy some of the reported benefits of CBD.

How can terpenes boost CBD effects?

Let’s get back to the point we made earlier, that some terpenes may offer their own health benefits when ingested.

Produced in the cannabis plants’ sticky resin glands, there are at least 11 different terpenes in hemp, all of which can then be extracted for inclusion in a broad-spectrum CBD product. There’s myrcene, which studies suggest has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. [i] Then, there’s limonene, known for heightening your senses and associated with stress and anxiety relief. There’s also linalool, which produces a sedative (relaxing) effect, and which may reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms, [ii] according to emerging research.

In other words, all on their own, terpenes could be beneficial to your health. But it’s hard to take terpenes on their own, since you shouldn’t ingest essential oils. So taking full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD is a great way to access the benefits of terpenes. And that’s true before we even talk about what terpenes add to your CBD experience.

How do terpenes interact with CBD?

As we suggested earlier, terpenes are a big part of the entourage effect you experience when using full or broad spectrum CBD. Remember, cannabidiol CBD is just one of many cannabinoids in the hemp plant. And, research teaches us that these cannabinoids work better together than on their own. (This is also why your results will be more dramatic if you choose broad spectrum CBD over a CBD isolate.)

Now, we know that terpenes play a role in the entourage effect, but we aren’t sure of that exact role. Still, we have good guesses, which go one of two ways. The first option? Terpenes are actively involved in the way CBD molecules interact with your ECS receptors. And the second? This theory suggests that terpenes somehow offer a complimentary role to CBD once they enter your body.

Supporting our first theory is research done by Dr. Ethan Russo, which suggests that terpenes such as caryophyllene are able to bind to your ECS receptors. In this way, it could trigger your ECS and amplify or impact the effects CBD produces in your body. [iii]

The other theory is that cannabinoids and terpenes produce many similar effects, so, together, they can magnify each other’s benefits. This could be true for terpenes such as ocimene, that—like CBD—is associated with anti-inflammatory benefits.

Now that you understand why terpenes can be good for you, let’s talk about how you get them. As we said earlier, hemp plants are one of the best sources of terpenes. But not every hemp-extract you take will deliver the benefits of terpenes.

Remember, only broad or full spectrum CBD products will include terpenes. (Full spectrum CBD includes every cannabinoid and terpene found in cannabis. Broad-spectrum CBD does, too, with one important exception. When you choose a broad-spectrum product, THC has been filtered from your final dose, so you never have to worry about failing a drug test.)

Already a fan of broad-spectrum CBD? Great—you’re ready to enjoy the benefits of terpenes. All that’s left to do is choose your delivery method. Because, whether you prefer a topical or edible CBD, or like to keep it simple with CBD oil tinctures, the choice is all yours. Every single one of these products contains a full ingredients list of terpenes. Which means you’re getting all of the plant-based goodness that hemp products have to offer!

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