What are Hemp Terpenes vs. Botanical Terpenes?
It’s not always easy to understand what terpenes are, let alone hemp and botanical terpenes. It’s even more confusing when some CBD labels say “hemp terpenes” while others just say “terpenes.” What’s the difference? Or is there even a difference at all?
Understanding hemp terpenes vs. botanical terpenes
Surprisingly, the phrase “hemp terpenes” is just that — they are terpenes that come from hemp. In fact, thousands of plants contain terpenes, which is why the term “botanical terpenes” exists. It’s an umbrella term, describing terpene isolates from legal plant sources.
All terpenes are oils that give off a unique fragrance and flavor to provide a pleasing smell and taste. According to Wolfgang Dostmann, Ph.D., a pharmacology professor at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, “Anything that is plant-derived and smells aromatic contains some combinations of terpenes.”
Take lavender for example. It’s a very fragrant plant, but what makes its aroma so distinctive is linalool. This aromatic botanical, also found in hemp terpene profiles, promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and contains anti-itch properties that help soothe irritation. Amazingly, lavender contains 25% to 45% of linalool, enticing most CBD companies to utilize lavender to extract the terpene and put it in their products.
Another example of a botanical and hemp terpene that you’ll find in CBD products is b-caryophyllene. B-caryophyllene is commonly found in black pepper. A hemp strain that’s high in B-caryophyllene will provide the same hint of spice that you typically taste in black pepper.
Moreover, myrcene, another popular botanical and hemp terpene, offers a distinctive, hoppy taste. While you can find a hemp strain with traces of myrcene, the terpene is much stronger in hops plants. In fact, some beer-making companies infuse their drinks with myrcene to provide a hoppy flavor that many people like.
The benefits of combining hemp and botanical terpenes
There are various reasons why CBD remedies contain terpene blends that include both botanical and hemp terpenes. Pulling terpenes from other plants and combining them with hemp terpenes has benefits.
1. Using botanically derived terpenes enables you to get the specific terpene you want.
If you’re extracting from the hemp plant, depending on the genetics of that species, you may or may not have the components of the terpene you want. You also might not find specific terpenes in large amounts.
For example, say you’re extracting from hemp and are interested in isolating terpenes like linalool. Once you get the hemp into a distiller to get that terpene off, you’re not going to find as much linalool as you would if you extracted it from lavender. Not to mention, it’s also cheaper to grow lavender. The cost-effective benefit will allow you to produce lavender in a larger quantity so you can obtain linalool in much more significant amounts.
2. Botanical terpenes give you different flavors and effects.
When hemp is rich in terpenes, it actually contains less THC. More often than not, when you buy hemp terpenes, you’re buying a specific strain. What does this mean? Let’s say you buy a strain called Gorilla Glue. This strain has a specific flavor and effect on your body because the terpenes and cannabinoids give a particular flavor and effect.
When you purchase Gorilla Glue or any particular strain, you will consume the cannabis-derived terpenes that are predominant in that specific strain. However, if you were to take those terpenes that are predominant in the Gorilla Glue cannabis strain and add them to a CBD product, the remedy will taste just like Gorilla Glue.
The only difference is it won’t offer the same mind-altering effect because you’re only adding the terpenes and not the THC or other cannabinoids present within the Gorilla Glue strain. This difference is why you want to add botanical terpenes — doing so will help you create the desired effects you want to achieve.
Are terpenes necessary in CBD products?
It’s not necessary to add hemp or botanical terpenes to a high-quality CBD product. After all, CBD is going to do what CBD does. However, if you’re looking to achieve a specific result, it’s best to choose a product with terpenes that produce the effects you want to achieve. We at Kat’s Naturals, for example, add specific terpenes to our products to provide a holistic effect and promote the entourage effect.
But if you don’t want terpene extracts in your CBD remedy, it’s important to remember that only full-spectrum CBD remedies have terpenes. And usually, the types of terpenes in the full-spectrum hemp extract are random because you can’t control what terpenes are in the hemp plant. Still, they will be particular to that strain of hemp.
That’s why we specifically test and choose hemp plants (strains) with the best terpene and cannabinoid profiles. We take our time and do our due diligence to find hemp plants that are high in b-caryophyllene, myrcene, linalool, limonene, and any other terpenes that we believe are beneficial for the human body.
This decision may cause the full-spectrum CBD remedy to taste bitter or spicy because we don’t focus on finding and infusing tasty terpenes. We don’t formulate our full-spectrum CBD product for the taste. We formulate it for the effect. After all, if we’re going to do something, we’re going to do it for a purpose.
The most common hemp and botanical terpenes in CBD
Each hemp terpene found in CBD remedies offers a unique aroma and specific effects on the body. Let’s discuss what each terpene in CBD products actually does within the body.
Ironically, myrcene is the most common terpene found in hemp. It has an “earthy”-like aroma as well as a musky-like clove smell. Despite its earthy smell, myrcene tastes a lot like spiced balsamic and red grapes. It also helps cannabinoids get absorbed in the blood barrier of the brain while binding to receptor cells found in the endocannabinoid system.
(Info check: Visit Greencamp.com for insight into myrcene’s aroma and research on the terpenes’ properties.)
The name alone suggests a citrus-like aroma. You can find this terpene within the resin of the hemp flower, but it’s most commonly found on rinds of citrus fruits like lemons, grapefruit, oranges, and limes. Limonene produces numerous health benefits — it alleviates stress, helps with acid reflux, contains antibacterial properties, and it’s a powerful antifungal. Limonene can also assist with the absorption of additional terpenes into the skin and digestive tract.
(Info check: For thorough research and information on limonene’s health effects, go to Leafly.com.)
As mentioned earlier, b-caryophyllene is found in black pepper and hemp. It’s also found in hops and the popular cooking spice, rosemary. This terpene is also unique and in high demand, because it acts as a cannabinoid within the body’s endocannabinoid system. What’s more, researchers have found that b-caryophyllene targets the CB2 receptor cells, which help modulate the response of the body’s nervous system responses.
(Info check: Visit Sciencedirect.com for an overview of b-caryophyllene and how the terpene binds with CB2 receptor cells.)
What makes this terpene so unique is its ability to fight fungus and bacterial overgrowth. Eucalyptol, otherwise known as Cineol, is mostly found within the eucalyptus tree, but trace amounts can be found in hemp as well as peppermint. Although more research is needed, studies have shown eucalyptol to work well with the brain. It’s also known for its cool, minty scent and is often found in a number of cosmetics and other popular products.
(Info check: Check out Cannacon.org for research studies that point to eucalyptol’s potential to improve Alzheimer’s.)
There are actually two types of this terpene: a-pinene and b-pinene. The one we’re focusing on is a-pinene, a strong, forestry pine-scented terpene. Research has suggested that a-pinene contains beneficial properties and a very effective bronchodilator, meaning it helps open the airways of the respiratory system. Other studies suggest it helps with brain stability.
(Info check: For various research on a-pinene and its properties, go to Leafly.com.)
From lotions and sunscreens to lipsticks and anti-aging creams, this terpene has been an ingredient in many popular cosmetic products. A-bisabolol contains a number of therapeutic benefits.
(Info check: Visit Terpenesandtesting.com for insight into a- bisabolol’s therapeutic properties.)
Research will unlock more insights into terpenes
While it’s true these terpenes show therapeutic benefits, more research is needed. Scientists must continue to research hemp and terpenes from other botanical sources. Then, we’ll get a better understanding of how these ingredients act within our body, and how we can thoughtfully incorporate them into more of our products.