What are Terpenes ?

As you learn more about Hemp based CBD products, you may also encounter a word called terpenes. So, what exactly are they, and how might they impact the body? Take a look at several important points below, and learn more about what the research has shown regarding terpenes.

What Are Terpenes?

So, what are terpenes? These are compounds that are found naturally in a wide variety of plants and some animals. Terpenes come in all shapes and sizes, leading to different colors, flavors, and aromas that are frequently seen in nature. Terpenes are also commonly found in cannabis. They are responsible for the reason why some cannabis strains might smell differently than others.

Furthermore, terpenes can also be processed to make dyes, pesticides, and medicinal products. As a result, there are a lot of professionals who are researching the impacts of terpenes on the human body, trying to see if they provide therapeutic benefits. 

The History of Terpenes:

Even though there is a lot of research going on involving terpenes right now, they have actually been used by a wide variety of ancient civilizations. For example, civilizations in Ancient Egypt used terpenes for a wide variety of religious purposes. Terpenes can also be traced back to the use of camphor in Eastern Europe during ancient times. Even during the colonial era, there were many scientists who were exploring the benefits of using terpenes. Even though terpenes took a back seat when cannabis products were frowned upon, they are an area of focus in the scientific community currently. 

Where are Terpenes Found?

Even though the vast majority of plants contain terpenes, some of them contain more than others. Furthermore, different types of plants contain different terpenes, which contributes to different appearances, smells, and impacts. There are several common locations where you might run into terpenes. 

This is a brief overview of where terpenes are found. Depending on the exact types of plants you consume, the impacts of the terpenes could be different. So, if you consume them, how might they impact your body? 

How Terpenes Affect the Body:

There are a lot of researchers who believed terpenes are used to protect plants against predators and harsh weather; however, there is still a lot of research ongoing regarding how terpenes behave in the human body. Because terpenes come in all varieties, a lot of studies are being done to classify them, allowing consumers and researchers to better protect their effects on the human body. Right now, there are thoughts that terpenes might work with CBD and THC to exert different effects on different people, but this is still an area of active research.

For example, terpenes might be the reason why two different strains that have similar levels of THC lead to such different experiences. It is possible that THC, terpenes, and CBD might work together. It will be interesting to see what researchers uncover in the future. 

Can Terpenes Get You High?

Of course, a natural question is whether terpenes might get you high. Even though some terpenes are considered to be psychoactive because of the effect they exert on the brain, they do not cause you to feel high in the same manner as THC. 

Terpenes alone are not intoxicating; however, they may have some impact on how to THC works in the body. THC is a cannabinoid responsible for the traditional high that people associate with cannabis. It gives people a feeling of euphoria when consumed at certain levels. 

Even though it is important to take a look at the THC content before trying a cannabis product, it is just as important to focus on the terpene profile. It is possible that terpene could dramatically change the way THC impacts the user. There is still research exploring how terpenes affect high, so it is critical for users to think about how certain terpene profiles might make them feel, particularly when paired with the THC content of certain products. 

Are Terpenes Cannabinoids?

No, terpenes are not cannabinoids; however, they do work with two of the main cannabinoids to exert certain facts. THC and CBD are examples of cannabinoids found in cannabis. Cannabinoids and terpenoids play a role in what you might expect from a cannabis product; however, they are not the same. 

Right now, there is a hypothesis called the entourage effect that dictates how THC, CBD, and terpenes interact with each other. The idea is that terpenes and cannabinoids work together to lead to the sensations and impacts that people feel when using cannabis. Instead of attributing everything to a single substance, a little bit of everything plays a role in what people experience when they use cannabis products. 

For example, when people are trying to take advantage of the therapeutic impacts of CBD, they frequently try to find something that has CBD only. Even though this might be a good place to start, it might be better to reach out to a “full-spectrum” product if you do not get the desired effects from that CBD isolate. A full spectrum product has THC, terpenes, and a wide variety of other cannabinoids that could change the way you feel when using that product. Then, you might get the impacts you are looking for. 

Are Terpenes Lipids?

When people think about lipids, they usually think about oils, fats, and waxes because of their appearance. Even though terpenes do have a lot of differences when compared to traditional oils and fats, terpenes are technically lipids. 
This is because terpenes readily dissolve when placed in an organic solution. They are relatively simple lipids, and they do not contain any fatty acids. Because terpenes are lipids, this could impact how they are metabolized by the human body. 

A Few Examples of Terpenes and Possible Health Benefits:

So, you might be wondering which terpenes do what. There are hundreds of terpenes present in cannabis; however, only a few of them have been thoroughly researched. Therefore, it is possible to predict a few of the impacts of certain types of terpenes. A few examples of common terpenes and their potential impacts include:
  • Beta-Caryophyllene: This is a terpene that is commonly found in hops, Rosemary, and cloves. Even though people react differently to this compound depending on how it is used, it could be beneficial in the treatment of certain mental health conditions. This includes anxiety and depression. If you decide to try this terpene for mental health reasons, you should talk to your doctor to make sure this is not going to interact with any prescription medications you are taking.
  • Beta-Pinene: This is a terpene that is commonly found in trees. If you have smelled something fresh in a coniferous forest, this is probably what you were detected. This is a terpene that could have potential anticancer and antidepressant properties, but it is still an active area of research.
  • Humulene: This is a terpene that is commonly found in ginseng. Even though it is mostly used in folk medicine, ginseng has been shown to have a wide variety of health benefits. Therefore, it could lead to energizing impacts in some people. 
  • Limonene: This is one of the most commonly located terpenes in nature. It has Citrus notes, and it could have anti-anxiety and anti-cancer properties. This is another compound that is still being researched. 
  • Linalool: If you are someone who likes the smell of lavender, there is a good chance this is what you were noticing. There are some researchers who believe this terpene is responsible for the relaxing properties associated with lavender. 
  • Myrcene: This terpene is commonly located in mangoes. There is some evidence that this compound could have anti-infectious properties, as it is shown to deter fungi and bacteria. It could also help people relax. 
It is critical to remember that the research regarding terpenes is still in its relatively early stages. Therefore, it is important for everyone to talk to their doctor before they consider trying these compounds to help them with health issues. Even though some research has been done and animals, there is more research that has to be done on humans.

That way, there can be a better understanding of the impact these compounds might have on the human body. While they might be beneficial to your health, it is still important to use them with extreme caution. Get a feel for how a specific terpene profile will impact you before you decide to increase your dose. It is possible that more benefits might be uncovered down the road, which is why terpenes matter.

Are Terpenes Legal?

Yes, terpenes are legal; however, it is important to take a look at the other ingredients in whatever you are taking. Just because terpenes are legal does not necessarily mean that the other compounds in the product are illegal. Remember that local regulations can vary widely from place to place, so it is important to be familiar with the regulations of the local area. 

Because terpenes are legal, they are commonly infused into commercial products. This includes health supplements, therapeutic remedies, and more. Because everything from hemp to fruit terpenes is available on the open market, these compounds are becoming more common in numerous products, including CBD products. 

Can Terpenes Make You Sick?

After learning a lot about terpenes, you might still be wondering, are terpenes bad for you? Similar to other products you might take, it is important to be familiar with a few possible side effects. A few possible side effects you may experience if you are consuming terpenes include: 
  • Headaches: Can terpenes cause headaches? It is possible. If you have a history of tension or migraine headaches, you should start low and go slow when consuming terpenes for the first time. That way, you can figure out how you respond to that specific compound before you increase your dose. 
  • Nausea and Vomiting: There is also a chance you may experience nausea and vomiting when taking terpenes. It is important to give your body a chance to get used to the terpenes before you try taking more.
  • Irritation: Can terpenes be vaped? It is possible that you may vape terpenes. At the same time, remember that this could lead to some mild respiratory irritation. This is not unlike the sensation you may get if you vape other cannabis products. 
  • An Allergic Reaction: Finally, it is possible you may experience an allergic reaction. That is why you need to start with a low dose when you are trying something new. If you have a history of allergies, you should have other people around you when you try this for the first time. That way, they can intervene if you have a bad reaction. 
Even though side effects are unusual, you should always start with a low dose so you can figure out how that product will impact you. Then, if you are not feeling the desired effects, you can increase the dose later. 

Can Terpenes Kill You?

Even though it is highly unusual, it is possible for terpenes to kill you. At very high doses, you can experience acute toxic effects. Some of these could place you in the hospital. That is why it is very important for you to read the label carefully before you try a product with a new terpene profile. Once you get a feel for how that product is going to impact you, you can increase your dose. 

Are Terpenes Safe?

You should treat terpenes like any other CBD or THC product. You need to start low and go slow if you are trying something new. That way, you can anticipate the effects of certain products if you increase the dose later.

It is also very important for you to meet with your doctor before you try a new product for the first time. Particularly if you are taking prescription medications, you need to work with your doctor to make sure the product you take does not cross-react with any prescription medications you are taking. If they do, you could run the risk of having a bad reaction. Your doctor can help you figure out which product is best for you. 

Maximizing the Benefits of Terpenes:

If you have spoken to your doctor and are curious about maximizing the benefits of these unique compounds, you might be wondering where to get started. Even though there are some benefits you may enjoy, there are several tips you need to follow. That way, you stay as safe as possible. A few important tips to keep in mind include:
  • Always Read the Label: Just as you read the label if you are exploring CBD products, you need to do the same thing if you are looking for specific terpenes. When you are reading the label, there are several important things you should look for. First, you should take a look at the specific concentrations of various terpenes in the product. This is going to play a significant role in how it impacts you. Then, you should take a look at lab-tested brands, because the information on the label is more reliable. If you have any questions about the product you were thinking about purchasing, you should talk to a professional before you make a decision. 
  • Consider the Freshness of the Product: Similar to other products, the freshness of terpenes can diminish over time. Therefore, take a look at the date on which the product was packaged. If the product was packaged relatively recently, then you know the terpenes should still be potent. If you are purchasing something that has a flower in it, you may want to give it a sniff to see how strong it is. You are looking for a product that has a strong fragrant to it, not something that smells stale.
  • Think Carefully About CBD Oil: Is terpenes CBD oil? Not exactly. It is possible CBD oil could have terpenes in it; however, you need to be careful because some oil vaping products have synthetic terpenes in them. Right now, it is unclear if synthetic terpenes behave the same way as natural terpenes; however, synthetic terpenes are commonly used to create household chemicals and solvents. You should be very wary of marketing materials that make promises, and keep in mind that synthetic terpenes could lead to some nasty side effects if you are not careful. 
  • Be Careful With Heat: Even though you might enjoy heating up other CBD products, this is probably something you should avoid when it comes to terpenes. If you heat them, particularly synthetic ones, they could degrade. It can be difficult to predict the byproducts that might result, so you are better off avoiding heat and staying on the safe side. Instead, you might want to stick with vaping terpenes or adding them to edibles. It is easier to predict the effects of terpenes if you use these routes. 
  • Read Reviews and Ratings: Before you try something new for the first time, you may want to check out a few reviews and ratings. Just as you read numerous reviews before you purchase other products or services, you may want to read a few reviews of specific terpene profiles. This may help you figure out which compound do you want to try next.
  • Consider the Reputation of the Seller: Furthermore, you should also think about the reputation of the seller as well. Some people may have left reviews of that specific establishment. Particularly when you are trying something for the first time, you want to purchase your product from a reputable shop that will guide you in the right direction. 
  • Track Your Experiences: You might be wondering, which terpenes are similar? Because this is still an active area of research, it can be difficult to predict which terpenes are similar and which are different. Furthermore, different people are going to react differently to different compounds. That is why you should track your experiences in a journal. If you experience something nice from a specific category of terpenes, you should write this down for the future. Or, if you have a bad reaction to a specific compound, you may want to record this, so you can stay away from that later. Record your experiences to get a better feel for how you will respond to certain compounds in the future. This can play a major role in your decision-making process.

These are a few of the most important points you should keep in mind if you are exploring terpenes for the first time. There is no single “best” type of terpene out there. Instead, it is important to do your research before you try something new.

That way, you can figure out how you might react to that specific compound. If you find something that works well for you, then you may want to stick to it. Or, you may want to try compounds that are similar. This will help you maximize your experience when you use terpenes.

Why Are Terpenes Important?

Ultimately, terpenes are important because they may play a significant role in how the cannabis plant interacts with the human body. Because more people are using cannabis every day, it is important to be able to predict how people might respond to certain products.

Right now, a lot of the focus has been on CBD and THC, which are important; however, these are not the only compounds that are present in cannabis and hemp products. Terpenes are another significant ingredient. It is important to understand how they interact with CBD and THC because this could impact how people respond to certain products.

With more research being done on cannabis, more benefits could be uncovered in the future. Then, there might be novel applications of certain CBD products. Because terpenes could play an important role in this, it is important to keep doing research, exploring the role they might play in the future.

There are hundreds of terpenes, and this is still an active area of research. If you are interested in including terpenes in your cannabis experience, you need to start low and go slow. Get a feel for how certain terpene profiles impact you. If you have questions, reach out to a healthcare professional for help. Then, consider trying a few profiles safely to see how they make you feel.

What are terpenes good for?

It depends on the type of terpenes you use. Keep in mind that different people are going to respond differently to certain terpenes. It is possible terpenes could help the body fight off infections, remove toxins, and encourage a state of relaxation. There are also some people who believe terpenes help them manage mental health issues including anxiety and depression. This is still an ongoing area of research that could lead to more discoveries down the road.
Is it bad to smoke terpenes?

It is not necessarily bad to smoke terpenes. Whenever you smoke anything, including terpenes, there is a chance that you could cause mild respiratory irritation. Therefore, you should do this in moderation. Smoking terpenes could be a good way to access their benefits, but you need to be careful if you expose terpenes to a lot of heat. They may break down before they enter the body, and the byproducts might be dangerous. 

Can you overdose on terpenes?

Yes, it is possible for you to overdose on terpenes, so you need to start with a low dose before you increase it. If you overdose on terpenes, you could develop headaches and a state of confusion. You might also develop nausea and vomiting. Acute terpene toxicity could put you in the hospital, so you need to be careful. 

Can Terpenes Show on Drug Test?

It depends on the exact product you use, but terpenes are not cannabinoids. Therefore, they should not show up on most drug tests. If there is a drug test that has been specifically designed to detect terpenes, then they will show up, but this is unusual. Keep in mind that if you consume a product with terpenes, THC, and CBD, then the THC could show up on the drug test. Therefore, you should use caution.

How are terpenes extracted? 

If you are wondering how terpenes are isolated from the plant, this is usually done either through steam distillation or hydro distillation. In steam distillation, a basket is suspended over boiling water. Then, steam passes through the basket and penetrates the plant, releasing the terpene. In hydro distillation, the plants are added directly to eh water before it is brought to a boil. Then, the vapor is condensed through an indirect cooling method to isolate the compounds. 


Terpenes are organic compounds that are found in many plants, and they play a crucial role in the plant’s growth and survival. They are responsible for plants’ unique flavors and aromas and are often used in perfumes, cosmetics, and food flavorings.

In addition to their sensory qualities, terpenes have also been found to have various health benefits. They possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant properties, among others, and are being studied for their potential therapeutic applications.

As you mentioned, terpenes are considered nectars in the Indian Sutra and are essential to many traditional healing practices, such as Tibetan Buddhism Sowa Rigpa Healing Science. Their healing properties have been used for centuries to treat various ailments and diseases.

Modern science is now beginning to explore the full potential of terpenes, and there is growing interested in using them for medicinal purposes. By understanding how different terpenes interact with the human body and with each other, researchers hope to develop new treatments that are both safe and effective.

Moreover, because terpenes play a vital role in balancing ecosystems, they may be key to finding natural solutions to the many health challenges we face today. By studying how different terpenes interact with each other and with other components of the natural world, scientists may be able to develop new ways to support and empower specific healing trajectories for different ailments and diseases.

In summary, terpenes are essential to many plants and hold great potential for medicinal purposes. As we continue to explore the healing benefits of terpenes, we may discover new ways to use these natural compounds to support our health and well-being while promoting our planet’s health.

Many terpenes have been researched for their potential medicinal properties, but here are 20 of the most researched terpenes and some of their findings:

  1. Alpha-Pinene: Found in pine trees and other conifers, alpha-pinene has been found to have anti-inflammatory, a bronchodilator, and antimicrobial properties.
  2. Beta-Caryophyllene: Found in black pepper, cloves, and other spices, beta-caryophyllene has been found to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
  3. Beta-Myrcene: Found in hops, mangoes, and other plants, beta-myrcene has been found to have sedative, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  4. Camphene: Camphene has been found to have anti fungal and antimicrobial properties in camphor trees and other plants.
  5. Delta-3-Carene: Found in rosemary, cedar, and other plants, delta-3-carene has been found to have anti-inflammatory and bone-strengthening properties.
  6. Eucalyptol: Found in eucalyptus trees and other plants, eucalyptol has been found to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties.
  7. Geraniol: Found in roses and other plants, geraniol has been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties.
  8. Humulene: Found in hops, ginger, and other plants, humulene has been found to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
  9. Linalool: Found in lavender, coriander, and other plants, linalool has been found to have sedative, anxiolytic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  10. Limonene: Found in citrus fruits, limonene has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antiviral properties.
  11. Menthol: Found in mint plants, menthol has been found to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties.
  12. Nerolidol: Found in jasmine and other plants, nerolidol has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antifungal properties.
  13. Ocimene: Found in basil and other plants, ocimene has been found to have antifungal, antimicrobial, and insecticidal properties.
  14. Phellandrene: Phellandrene has been found to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties in eucalyptus and other plants.
  15. Pulegone: Pulegone has been found to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties in mint plants.
  16. Terpinene: Found in pine trees and other plants, terpinene has been found to have antimicrobial and insecticidal properties.
  17. Terpineol: Found in lilacs and other plants, terpineol has been found to have sedative and anticonvulsant properties.
  18. Terpinolene: Found in sage and other plants, terpinolene has been found to have anti-tumor and sedative properties.
  19. Thujone: Found in wormwood and other plants, thujone has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antiviral properties.
  20. Valencene: Found in Valencia oranges and other plants, valencene has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

It's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential therapeutic properties of each terpene, and how they interact with each other and with other components of the natural world.

There have been several human clinical trials done with terpenes, but the research is still in the early stages, and more studies are needed to understand their potential therapeutic effects fully. Here are some examples of human clinical trials with terpenes:

  1. Beta-Caryophyllene: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that beta-caryophyllene reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice and suggested it may have potential as an antidepressant and anxiolytic agent in humans.
  2. Linalool: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that linalool had a significant sedative effect on human participants, suggesting it may have potential as a natural sleep aid.
  3. Limonene: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that limonene reduced symptoms of anxiety and stress in human participants, suggesting it may have potential as a natural anxiolytic agent.
  4. Myrcene: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that myrcene had a significant analgesic effect in human participants, suggesting it may have potential as a natural pain reliever.
  5. Terpinolene: A study published in the journal Planta Medica found that terpinolene had antimicrobial activity against several strains of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains. While this study was not done on humans, it suggests that terpinolene may have potential as a natural antibiotic.

It's important to note that more research is needed to understand the potential therapeutic effects of terpenes fully, and the studies listed here are just a few examples of the research that has been done so far.