What are Terpenes?

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You’ve experienced terpenes all your life, you're probably just not aware of them. Simply put, terpenes are what gives an orange its citrusy smell, they give pine trees their unique aroma; and they’re even responsible for the relaxing effects in lavender. Terpenes are natural chemicals that determine how various plants and fruit smell, and more recently scientists have discovered that terpenes are also linked to a range of health benefits.

Terpenes, also known as terpenoids, are a large class of organic compounds produced by plants. They are the scent bearing, primary constituents of the essential oil component of many medicinal plants and flowers, and are the subject of increasing interest by researchers in regards to their potential therapeutic and medicinal applications. 

Today, terpenes and terpenoids are being investigated for their stand alone therapeutic effects, in particular their anti inflammatory, analgesic (pain relieving) and mood enhancing qualities, as well as their potentiating and synergistic properties when taken as an adjunct to CBD therapy.

Certain terpenes such as myrcene and caryophyllene have been shown to activate the CB2 receptors. What this means is that the body is able to access a plethora of benefits ranging from calmness, deeper sleep states, gut digestion and immune function, anti-inflammatory properties and the list goes on. You can view our CB2 Science page for a detailed list of studies conducted on terpenes.

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Below is an introduction to some of the more prominent terpenes and their associated benefits.
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Myrcene 
Is most commonly found in mangoes, it is also the primary terpene found in cannabis plants. In fact, some plants can have up to 65 percent of their terpene profile made up of myrcene alone. Myrcene helps calm the body and is known for its sedative properties. 
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Caryophyllene 
This terpene, which has a spicy, woody, peppery scent, is also found in black pepper and cinnamon. Studies indicate that this one small terpene is capable of performing the big job of treating anxiety, depression, and inflammation.
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Limonene 
Is found in various citrus fruits and is responsible for the citrusy smell. Limonene has powerful anti fungal and antibacterial properties, it can also help to bust stress and enhance mood by increasing serotonin production.
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Pinene
This terpene’s name says it all, really. Pinene is found most abundantly in the pine tree and is what gives pine needles its distinctive smell. Pinene is a strong bronchodilator, but also has strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects that have been used for centuries in herbal medicines. Alpha-pinene has been proven to help with focus and cognitive performance.
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Linalool
If you’ve ever used lavender for its relaxant effects, then you’re familiar with the terpene linalool. Linalool is widely known for the stress-relieving, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant effects.