What are terpenes?

What are Terpenes and the Future of Hemp

| Spencer Beaudreault

What are terpenes?

Terpenes have therapeutic properties on their own, but they also work beautifully with cannabinoids, a phenomenon known in the scientific community as the "Entourage Effect." Terpenes are most important to cannabinoids because they speed up the passing of cannabinoids into our bloodstream. As an example, Linalool can alter the way our neurotransmitters respond to cannabinoids, resulting in sedative and anxiolytic effects.  Additionally, CBD (with the help of specific terpenes) lessens the loss of long-term memory associated with THC, and helps offset the overall psychoactive effects of THC.

In addition to CBD and THC, the cannabis plant offers so much more. Together with the other hundred or so cannabinoids, both of these cannabinoids play an important role in the health and wellness aspects of cannabis.  Nevertheless, researchers are increasingly convinced that the hemp plant's other properties  may enhance the effects of its cannabinoids. In this article we'll discuss facts on the hemp plant, cannabinoids, terpenes, and we've broken it down into the following sections:

  • What is hemp? 
  • Does Hemp Contain THC? 
  • Cultivation of Hemp  
  • Hemp: Sativa or Indica? 
  • What are Terpenes? 
  • Cannabinoids and Terpenes

What is Hemp?

cannabis plant

The hemp plant is a dioecious variety of Cannabis sativa L, meaning it can be separated into male and female plants. Plants like these have served many purposes for more than 10,000 years. Plant stems contain fiber, seeds contain protein, leaves contain oils, and the smokable flowers produce oils. The fibers in hemp can be used to produce paper, clothing, textiles, ropes - or even as building materials.

Does Hemp Contain THC?

Delta 8 THC molecule

Hemp produces a large number of cannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the key factor in marijuana. However, hemp does not produce enough THC to create intoxicating effects.

It is true that hemp does not produce much THC, but it can release high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. Cannabis-derived CBD supplements have become one of the most popular types of cannabinoids on the market.

There are many countries that differentiate hemp from marijuana according to how much THC is contained in the plant. Cannabis sativa L, defined as industrial hemp in the US, contains a maximum of 0.3% THC content. In the EU, the limit is 0.2%, whereas in the UK it is zero, unless growers have a cultivation license for industrial hemp with no more than 0.2% THC.

Cultivation of Hemp

There are significant differences between hemp and marijuana in terms of cultivation and harvesting. Hemp male plants flower more quickly and produce much less fiber than female hemp plants. As opposed to marijuana fields, which typically eschew all males, hemp fields tend to include males sporadically. A male hemp plant releases pollen that female hemp plants use to create seeds for food or to plant for future crops. To maximize the total number of sinsemilla (seedless) flowers in marijuana fields, male plants are typically removed.

In contrast to marijuana, hemp cultivation does not require as much space for mold or bacteria to flourish. One plant for every four square feet  is typical for marijuana crops.  For hemp plants that are grown for oil, about forty to sixty plants per square foot are planted. Fiber plants are more densely planted, with about 100 to 120 plants per square foot.

As opposed to marijuana plants, hemp is always grown outside, whereas marijuana plants are typically grown in greenhouses or indoors. Many hemp growers employ a technique called crop rotation, in which alternating crops are planted in the same place to avoid any buildup of predators, diseases, and insects. By doing this, nutrients return to the soil, avoiding any buildup of harmful organisms.

List of Terpenes

List of terpenes

What are terpenes? Cannabis plants naturally contain organic, aromatic compounds called terpenes. Terpenes, the counterparts of cannabinoids, give cannabis strains, including hemp, their distinct flavors, colors, and scents. Terpenes make up an important part of the entourage effect when they are combined with CBD instead of used alone, from which broad effects can be derived.

The list of terpenes include:

  • Bisabolol. In addition to its chamomile and tea tree oil notes, bisabolol appears to be beneficial in reducing inflammation and irritation. Additionally, microbial, and pain-relieving properties may be associated with it.
  • Caryophyllene. This peppery, spicy molecule may help reduce anxiety, ease depression, and ulcers.
  • Linalool. Known for its floral notes, linalool is said to aid in relaxation and boost mood.
  • Myrcene. Known as the most common terpene, this earthy, herbal compound may aid in reducing anxiety and insomnia.
  • Ocimene. Terpenes of this kind produce a basil, mango, and parsley aroma. One of its primary effects may be to ease congestion and prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.
  • Pinene. It produces a strong pine scent, as its name suggests. Memory may be improved, pain may be reduced, and unpleasant THC side effects, like nausea and problems with coordination, may be alleviated with it.
  • Terpinolene. The smell of cannabis containing this compound may be similar to apples or cumin. There is evidence that it contains antifungal, antibacterial, and sedative effects.
  • Limonene. This terpene produces bright citrus notes. According to some sources, it reduces stress and improves mood.
  • Humulene. Like hops or cloves, this terpene has earthy and wooden characteristics. Strains of cannabis with this molecule may reduce inflammation.
  • Eucalyptol. The refreshing and invigorating properties of this molecule are brought about by elements of eucalyptus and tea tree oil. Additionally, it is believed to help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation.


Hero Products have terpenes


Cannabinoids and Terpenes

The cannabis plant contains dozens of molecular compounds called cannabinoids. Many of the effects of cannabis use are due to these naturally occurring components. Cannabinoids can have hundreds of different functions, but there are two that get most of the attention: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), among other common compounds.

The most sold in the market include:

  • THC. Cannabis plants contain the euphoria inducing compound THC. The high that is associated with cannabis use is caused by this compound. In recent years, growers have been trying to produce hybrids with higher concentrations of THC.
  • CBD. CBD has NO euphoric or intoxicating effects. While it does not produce a “high,” it can provide a number of health benefits, such as reducing pain, nausea, preventing seizures, and easing migraines.
  • CBN. Cannabidiol (CBN) can help ease symptoms and side effects of neurological conditions such as epilepsy, seizures, and uncontrollable muscle stiffness.  It is also used to aid in sleep. Products like CBN Gummies are great.
  • THCA. THCA (tetrahydrocannabinol acid) is similar to THC however it does not exert a euphoric effect. It may reduce inflammation caused by autoimmune diseases and arthritis. Additionally, it might alleviate the symptoms of neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease.
  • CBG. Cannabigerol (CBG) is believed to reduce anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression.


CBN Gummies


Terpenes and cannabinoids both increase blood flow, enhance cortical activity, and kill respiratory pathogens. Combining terpenes and cannabinoids results in what is known as the “entourage effect". Cannabinoids and terpenes combine to produce this effect by locking onto different receptors in our brains. The British Journal of Pharmacology published a report in September 2011 stating that cannabinoid-terpene interactions produce synergistic effects in the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.” The interactions between cannabinoids and terpenes have also been found to enhance cannabis' beneficial effects while minimizing THC's anxiety-inducing effects.

As a result of reading this article, we hope we've answered the question "What are terpenes?" and how they pair so well with CBD, and with all other cannabinoids. Try combining CBD with terpenes found on a non-cannabis plant type or spice if you're having trouble finding them at your local CBD store or online. If the terpenes are not naturally present, you may not achieve the same synergistic effect, but there will still be healing properties from the terpenes and healing from CBD. You can also add other plants like lavender, which is high in nerolidol, if you can't find terpenes in hemp supplements. Terpenes play an increasingly important role in CBD supplements, which is why companies now add different terpenes to supplement those naturally found in hemp.

To learn about our Hero Products visit us here. 

Spencer Beaudreault

Spencer Beaudreault is the Founder of Hero Brands, a Business Development & Marketing Expert, and a lifelong advocate & user of cannabis, hemp, & plant-based alternatives.
Tags: Terpenes