What are Terpenes and What Makes Them Important to CBD?

    by John Reid / April 6, 2019

    As more CBD research moves brightly toward new discoveries, one thing everyone seemingly agrees on is the power of the entourage effect. Meaning CBD is more powerful when in the form of a whole plant extract compared to an isolate that strips the CBD of valuable complementary elements. 

    Collectively, the 3 main elements responsible for the entourage effects of CBD are:

    • Cannabinoids: Primarily CBD. Secondarily, CBN, CBG, CBDA, among others to complement primary effects
    • Terpenes: 200+ unique scents that shape the overall effects of CBD
    • Flavonoids: ~20 unique compounds that give CBD it’s color, odor, flavor, and benefits

    The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

    Cannabinoids are the main drivers of CBD’s effects. Terpenes and flavonoids will shape the experience of consuming CBD by magnifying certain therapeutic effects. So, if we know the plant profile, we can match that to desired effects! This video does a great job of providing an overview of this concept.

    Terpenes and flavonoids are known to work, but vastly understudied. Whether they increase the properties of cannabinoids or curb their efficacy is not fully known and will require further research.

    More detail on terpenes

    There are about 250 terpenes that give a plant its unique effects and flavors. Terpenes are not unique to CBD; they are found in fruits, vegetables, spices, and other botanicals in the natural world. Terpenes naturally protect the plant from insects as it grows and once the plant is harvested terpenes are what gives the plant an aroma. Terpenes are made in the crystals that cover the leaves and buds of the plant and then act as an essential oil. Think of pines or lemons – the terpenes are what give these plants their distinctive smells. While there are 20,000 known terpenes, 250 or so found in cannabis, but only a few are important for CBD’s purpose.

    Common terpenes found in CBD

    Common Terpenes in CBD - Relief Scout Graphic

    Let us take the anxiety out of purchasing CBD

    We realize with the concept of terpenes, purchasing CBD just became a whole lot more complicated. But rest assured - when you take the Relief Scout questionnaire, we match the right CBD for your needs - which you better believe includes the effect of terpenes. We do the research and verification of each vendor’s CBD and we review certificates of analysis to pair the right terpenes to optimize for your needed effects - anxiousness, sleeplessness, inflammation - you name it.

    Have questions or want to learn more with our experts one on one? Schedule a 15-minute consultation to learn more about terpenes and how to dial up the right CBD for you.


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    John Reid

    John Reid

    John has over 13 years of experience in finance and consulting. John has joined the industry-wide mission to educate and introduce people to the value of this often misunderstood component of the hemp plant. When not working with the Relief Scout vendors, you can find John and his wife enjoying the great outdoors and surfing in San Francisco. And if you ever want to talk music, John is all ears.


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