How Do Terpenes Affect CBD Oil?

Woman smelling terpenes of a hemp plant

How can organic compounds extracted from resin to make turpentine oil also have an effect on your CBD oil? 

Turpentine oil is used to heal joint pain, muscle pain, and toothaches, and CBD oil can be used to heal muscle pain and joint pain; so, what do they both have in common? 


Terpenes are found in essential oils of aromatherapy, used in the perfume and cosmetic industries and, well, you can also use them as a natural pesticide to keep insects from munching on your kale. 

As you dive into the new world of the use of terpenes for the health of your vegetable garden, consider the beneficial effects of terpenes in your CBD oil. 

Terpenes are organic compounds (made up of carbon molecules) found in the buds and flowers of plants (and even some insects) that provide aroma, pest-resistant oils and, in some cases, healing properties. 

When you take a whiff of your CBD, part of what you will smell is the carrier oil that the CBD has been extracted into. Another part of what you will smell could be the type of terpenes present in your CBD product.

Some terpenes found in Cannabis sativa plants can also be found in lemongrass, which might be why you get a citrusy waft that not only smells pleasant but also has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in sleeping. 

The terpene compounds found in CBD oils have anti-inflammatory effects and are found useful in treating a variety of health issues such as depression, anxiety, and cancer. 

Terpenes that are present in CBD products have also been known to treat THC related anxiety and enhance healing properties. Likewise, they are known to reduce hallucinogenic components of CBD products that contain higher levels of THC. 

So why not just extract the terpenes out of the CBD and just rub them all over your body or ingest them? Most terpenes are highly volatile and difficult to extract. 

Synthetic versions made from petrochemicals are produced for adding to certain products without much research on their benefits. Those, however, are not what interests us here.  

Cannabis sativa plants are said to have one of the highest naturally available levels of terpenes, which, when extracted with CBD, provide healing benefits that can be easily absorbed and utilized in our bodies. 

The shelf life and presence of terpenes in CBD products are related to the strain of cannabis used, growing conditions, and how long it takes after harvest for the cannabis plants to be processed. 

Cannabis sativa plants carry over a hundred terpene compounds located in the same flower or bud that CBD is extracted from. 

Vacuum drying ovens and carbon dioxide extractors are used to isolate cannabis terpenes to use in full-spectrum CBD  oils. These extraction processes carefully remove terpenes from the cannabis bud to prevent evaporation and destabilization. 

After cannabis plants are cut to produce CBD oil they begin to oxidize. As plants oxidize, the level of available terpenes for CBD products decreases. Therefore, to maximize the beneficial effects of terpenes in CBD oils, look for live plant harvesting methods or for cannabis plants that are being processed within hours after they have been picked. 

Compare it to a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice that you drink right away versus orange juice that is pressed, bottled and stored. 

Which one do you think contains higher levels of available vitamin C? 

Given a choice, which one would you choose if you were looking to increase your vitamin C intake? 

The same can be said of CBD products. The more terpenes present, the more benefits you receive from the effects of your CBD oil. 

Terpenes in CBD oil horizontal infographic

How do terpenes and cannabinoids work together synergistically? 

The “Entourage effect” of deriving CBD oils that contain both terpenes and cannabinoids is the difference of having a balanced meal versus an isolated portion of one specific food group. 

A balanced meal allows your body to maximize nutrient absorption. Similarly, terpenes and cannabinoids work together to optimize the benefits of CBD oils. 

What about a cannabis plant that has grown with limited nutrients or using a lot of pesticides? 

Studies have shown that products grown with nutrient-rich organic fertilizers have more available nutrients than produce grown in nutrient-poor conditions. 

This is something that should be considered in cannabis production methods for CBD oils. 

What you are really looking for is a product that provides the best benefits for your needs, and not all CBD oil products are grown and processed using the same standards. 

This can impact the availability of terpenes in the final CBD oil product. 

Here are a few practical reasons for paying attention to the availability of terpenes in a CBD product and how it has been produced:


You are interested in CBD products that contain higher levels of THC to treat issues like arthritis and joint pain but you hesitate because of the potential effects of THC.  

Researching CBD oil products that use processing methods that capture the maximum amounts of terpenes available from the cannabis flower is a way to maximize the benefits of CBD oil while eliminating the unwanted effects of the THC content. 

You are interested in getting the same benefits from a smaller amount of CBD oil. 

Choose a product that is high in terpenes and harvested directly from the buds of cannabis flowers to provide more stretch to your product. Make sure to store your CBD oil in a cool and dark location to decrease oxidization, and therefore, destabilization of the terpenes in your CBD oil. 

You want a CBD oil that contains specific terpenes to alleviate specific ailments. 

Inquire about CBD oils derived from specific strains of cannabis that contain higher levels of terpenes that target your specific health issue. 

The next time the scent of lavender wafts over your nose or you taste the fruity hops in your beer, you can attribute the sensations to the terpene compounds at work on a molecular level.  Similarly, you can now attribute how your CBD oil works and the ways it smells to the presence or absence of specific terpenes. 

Now the question is, which of the 100 plus terpenes compounds growing in cannabis are improving the effects of your CBD oil? Luckily, CBD oil can be tested for the presence of terpenes so you do not have to leave it up to chance. 


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Jack Studebaker

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