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What are Hemp Terpenes versus Botanical Terpenes?

Written June 24, 2019 by Kat Merryfield

What are Hemp Terpenes versus 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 hemp extract labels say “hemp terpenes” while others just say “terpenes.” What’s the difference? Or is there even a difference at all?

Surprisingly, the phrase “hemp terpenes” are just that — they are terpenes that come from hemp. In fact, thousands of plants contain terpenes, which are oils that give off a unique fragrance and flavor. 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, an aromatic botanical, also found in hemp terpene profiles, that promotes relaxation, reduces stress, and even contains anti-itch properties that help soothe irritation. Amazingly, lavender contains 25% to 45% of linalool, enticing most CBD hemp extract 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 hemp extracts is b-caryophyllene. B-caryophyllene is commonly found in black pepper — but 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 botanical and hemp terpenes

There are various reasons why CBD hemp extract products contain both botanical and hemp terpenes.

  1. Using botanical 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 want to pull away 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.

  1. 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 terpenes that are predominant in that specific strain. However, if you were to take those terpenes that are predominant in the Gorilla Glue strain and add them to a CBD hemp extract, the CBD hemp extract 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 botanical and hemp terpenes necessary in hemp extracts?

It’s not necessary to add hemp or botanical terpenes to a hemp extract. 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 hemp extract 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.

But if you don’t want terpenes into your hemp extract product, it’s important to remember that only full-spectrum hemp extracts 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, but 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 hemp extract to taste bitter or spicy because we don’t focus on finding and infusing tasty terpenes — but we don’t formulate our full-spectrum hemp extract 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 terpenes found in CBD hemp extracts

Each hemp terpene found in hemp extracts offers a unique aroma and specific effects on the body. Let’s discuss what each terpene found in hemp extracts actually do within the body.

  1. Myrcene

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.)

  1. Limonene

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.)

  1. B-Caryophyllene

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 bodies nervous system responses.

(Info check: Visit Sciencedirect.com for an overview of b-caryophyllene and how the terpene binds with CB2 receptor cells.)

  1. Eucalyptol

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.)

  1. A-pinene

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.)

  1. A-Bisabolol

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.)

While it’s true these terpenes show therapeutic benefits, more research is needed. As scientists continue to research hemp and other high-terpene profile plants, we’ll develop more of an understanding of how these essential constituents act within our body, and how we can thoughtfully incorporate them into more of our products.

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