Here at VAAY, we love terpenes- not only because these fragrant and flavoured molecules may have the power to relax, heal, and benefit the body and mind, but because, without terpenes, CBD wouldn't be as important as it is today. That's right: terpenes are versatile, aromatic, and, most importantly, the perfect little assistants to potentially promote CBD's effects.
You might have heard of terpenes before- and if you haven't, we're pretty sure you've tasted and smelled many. This is because terpenes are present in pretty much every herb, fruit and vegetable we eat. In fact, these aromatic little hydrocarbons are responsible for a wealth of healthy properties- they provide plants with flavour and aroma. They also offer an incredible source of nutrition and protection. Terpenes are big in variety, delicious in scent, and considerably therapeutic for the system. In the world of CBD, you might find terpenes added to a premium CBD oil or other cannabis-derived product. This is because, in the presence of terpenes, CBD's therapeutic potential gets a lot more powerful.
This is why all of our CBD products are infused with a wealth of terpenes- because we like to use full or broad-spectrum hemp extract in every product we provide, in order to give you the full benefits of terpenes. In fact, we love our terpenes so much that this article will explore the different properties of some delicious terpenes and how they impact our system when we infuse them into our CBD edibles.
We´ll explain the difference between full- and broad-spectrum in much more detail in our full- vs broad-spectrum CBD article
Terpenes and CBD: A Synergistic Relationship
Terpenes are quite abundant- and with the cannabis Sativa plant tending to have over 150 different types of terpenes, it's safe to say that they're also quite versatile, coming in a range of different molecular structures.
But before we delve into how terpenes work for the body, let's look at the effect that terpenes can have on our system. Since many terpenes are bioactive, they affect the body in an elemental way.
The presence of terpenes within a CBD-rich product enhances the potency of CBD- this is because terpenes help to promote the 'entourage effect'. In particular, studies tend to look at how terpenes help to accentuate the effects of CBD- in part, because terpenes are so abundant- which makes them so much easier to infuse into a CBD product; to better enhance the effects of CBD and promote the power of the 'entourage effect’ to a higher degree. This is because, the more cannabinoids in a CBD product, the more potent the ‘entourage effect’. Many suspect that this is down to the ‘entourage effect’ mimicking the original hemp plant- more cannabinoids within a product allows for the product to closely resemble the natural ratio of cannabinoids, allowing the diverse range of compounds to work more potently and more synergistically within the body.
A study, conducted by Ethan B. Russo (‘Taming THC’) concludes that terpenes, along with phytocannabinoids (such as CBD, CBG, THCV, and more) work very well in synergistic harmony- especially when eaten. According to Russo, the phytocannabinoid-terpene synergy could extend to helping treat pain, inflammation, addiction, epilepsy, depression, anxiety, bacteria and fungal infections, and more. This ties in nicely with a wealth of studies and research which claims that terpenes often infused within CBD products can have significant possible effects in helping with anxiety and mood disorders.
Terpenes and Phytocannabinoids: The ‘Entourage Effect’
Terpenes are made in the glandular trichome of the hemp plant- which is where CBD and the majority of other cannabinoids are also produced. The origins of phytocannabinoids and terpenes are the same, with similar factors increasing and decreasing the yield of both plant compounds, such as light exposure and soil fertility. While this explains the origins of both phytocannabinoids and terpenes, it might also explain how they work together. With similar molecular origins, we can see how the two can promote activity in the ECS (endocannabinoid system). The endocannabinoid system is responsible for many vital bodily processes, from your brain to your gut.
Russo, in particular, looks at how terpenes and cannabinoids may work together to promote the balancing of mood disorders- giving CBD products, infused with terpenes, their high status. One way is through the olfactory system. The citrus scent of limonene, for example, has been known for its potential to lift the mood and potentially ease depression and anxiety. The synergy between CBD’s actions, in heightening the body’s response to serotonin (5-HT activity) and indirectly promoting higher levels of the feel-good endocannabinoid anandamide (named after the Sanskrit word for ‘bliss’) and the role of terpenes on the olfactory system can work together.
Terpenes also play an active role in the body, especially when ingested. While studies do show that terpenes don’t actively work with the ECS by attaching to receptors (although many studies have shown that B-caryophyllene might be responsible for engaging with CB2 receptors- which, may improve the function of our immune system and digestion), many do increase the affinity and activity of anandamide- essentially helping CBD do its job.
Likewise, Russo also talks about how specific cannabinoids may work together to potentially impact certain infections, staph-inducing MRSA, in particular. CBD and CBG (cannabigerol) are thought to promote each other’s potential effects. Combining these cannabinoids with a terpene such as pinene, which also prevents MRSA infection, has been shown to be quite potentially effective. In this particular case, the cannabinoids can layer together to better fight against infection, disease or inflammation. In other cases, the cannabinoids’ different properties can also help to strengthen the cannabis product.
For example, if we’re looking at how a broad range of full-spectrum products might help to fight inflammation, we don’t have to look further than the ‘entourage effect’. The terpene, myrcene, and the cannabinoid, CBG, can work together, in harmony, to potentially promote sleep- which is excellent in speeding up the body’s healing process, as rest promotes the immune system into action. Meanwhile, if the product also contains caryophyllene, this terpene is thought to be extremely beneficial when it comes to potentially affecting inflammation. CBD, THC, and THCV may also work together to possibly ease pain symptoms and inhibit the activity of inflammatory molecules. Here we have a working system where an array of different cannabis compounds may urge the body into a state of wellness a lot faster.
The Individual Benefit of Terpenes
Aside from helping to promote the ‘entourage effect’, on their own, terpenes have an array of potentially valuable benefits- from urging the body and mind to relax, to purportedly helping us recover from viruses and bacteria. Here are some of the more common terpenes and their individual qualities:
Caryophyllene has been hailed for its purported health benefits- with its anti-inflammatory properties ranking it as a particularly therapeutic natural agent. Useful in easing the symptoms of arthritic inflammation and nerve pain, caryophyllene can also be used as a treatment for chronic pain.
Likewise, carophyllene’s spicy scent and taste have also been shown to potentially ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Studies tell us that caryophyllene may also play an active role in helping to reduce chronic stress- likely because it is the only terpene that can engage with CB2 receptors in the ECS, to promote the activity of the peripheral nervous system. Interestingly, caryophyllene has also been shown to improve the expression of the hippocampus in our brains (within reason, as hyperactivity in the hippocampus can have negative effects), which can help reduce fear, improve cognition and memory, and lower stress levels.
Found in herbs such as rosemary and dill, pinene is one of the most abundant terpenes out there. Often, this terpene must be synthetically added to cannabis products (we’ve highlighted its importance as a major flavour of one of our vape pens) as it tends not to be found in high levels within the hemp plant. However, pinene is pretty easy to find in a range of herbs, plants, and vegetables- and its therapeutic potential is vast.
Alongside having potential antimicrobial and antiviral properties, pinene has also been shown to potentially improve memory and cognition, as well as decrease stress and anxiety quite significantly. In fact, pinene has been shown to be so promising in helping to treat cognitive impairment (alongside linalool and caryophyllene) that it’s been shown to potentially reduce the symptoms of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Pinene also acts as a bronchodilator- allowing more air to enter the lungs. This can have some seriously beneficial effects on our system. Breathing in more oxygen can engage the parasympathetic (rest and digest) system. Often, when our parasympathetic nervous system is engaged, so is our immune system, focus, and clarity. We tend to feel less stress, anxiety, and worry. More of our muscles are oxygenated; more toxins are carried away, and, overall, we feel much happier.
If you’ve ever smelt lavender, then you’ve actually already come across linalool, whether you knew it or not. Herbs in your cupboard, such as cinnamon and cloves, are also rife with linalool. Found in lower levels within the cannabis plant, much like pinene, we love ourselves some linalool- which is why we’ve added it to our CBD bath bombs and vape pens (every single one contains linalool- we aren’t joking when we say we love some relaxing lavender!) and even within our full-spectrum CBD oil.
One of the main things that linalool can do for the system is potentially promote relaxation. Studies have shown that the lavender scent may act as a sedative and anaesthetic, and not only by engaging with the olfactory system by promoting the activity of the opioidergic neurotransmitter (which is responsible for relaxing the system and helping us to sleep- named after the sedative drug, opium). Oral administration of linalool has also proven to potentially increase the activity of the opioidergic system, as well as our cholinergic neurotransmitter system. To put it simply, this helps to release and modulate more of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which in turn engages the parasympathetic nervous system to promote relaxation and rest.
Linalool also has promising effects when it comes to potentially improving cognition and spatial memory deficits. Linalool may also be a promising aid in helping to treat spasms or convulsions by intercepting glutamatergic and GABA receptors in the brain. As well as being a neuroprotective agent, antioxidant, and anticancer agent, linalool has also made the limelight for improving social anxiety and reducing aggressive behaviours exhibited in mice test subjects.
Every one of our broad or full-spectrum products, from oil to gel to capsule, will contain myrcene- it’s a relatively well-known cannabis compound. Known for being present in hops and lemongrass, myrcene has a spicy and robust scent that can help to uplift the spirit and refresh the system.
Myrcene is known for its purported calming properties, and is one of the most abundant terpenes found in the hemp plant. In fact, myrcene concentration might well be the only difference that separates cannabis Sativa strains from Indica- as myrcene is found in higher abundance within Sativa, which is known to be more relaxing than Indica.
Myrcene’s other potentially beneficial properties also hail it as an antimicrobial and antiviral agent. It’s also a pretty powerful antioxidant- a study conducted on mice shows how myrcene might help to protect the brain from oxidative stress caused by a buildup of free radicals.
You might have seen limonene gracing our lemon-scented vape pen with its uplifting and refreshing scent. We’ve also infused limonene to our Sport and Active gel, and you might even find it in our full-spectrum CBD oil- it’s a terpene found in abundance within all strains of the hemp plant. Outside of CBD, you'll also find limonene in oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits.
Limonene is considered a mood-enhancer- but its other qualities certainly don’t fall short. When ingested, this terpene can act as an antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial agent to help fend off disease. Limonene is also a powerful antioxidant to help fight those free radicals and prevent oxidative stress from occurring. Limonene has some effective anticancer properties, helping with chemotherapeutic activity in rodents as well as providing aid and assistance in patients undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
According to various studies, limonene is also effective at promoting feel-good neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine activity in the brain. In fact, studies that have shown that the citrus scent can ease symptoms of depression via the olfactory system and through ingestion are all attributed to limonene’s efforts. These studies show that limonene, as well as decreasing stress and depression-like behaviour in mice test subjects, may also increase curiosity, mobility, and brain activity. Limonene was especially shown to decrease hyperactivity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (which commonly lights up when we feel stressed out or anxious, as a sympathetic response from the brain).
A key component in hops, cloves, and ginger, humulene has plenty of therapeutic benefits- and is found, quite consistently, in hemp plants. Humulene has been shown to potentially decrease allergic reactions by reducing allergic inflammation in the airways, and even possibly impacting symptoms of asthma.
When we look at how terpenes may work together to promote the ‘entourage effect’ in each other, we don’t need to look any further than humulene and caryophyllene. Humulene has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory benefits when working together with caryophyllene. The two terpenes seem to become a lot more potent when they’re paired together- probably because humulene is a sister compound to caryophyllene, also known as B-caryophyllene. And, much like its sister compound, humulene may also decrease pain symptoms and provide those antioxidants to combat free radical build-up and potentially help keep some signs of disease at bay.
As we’ve stressed before, our range of products come as ingestibles- from CBD oil to capsules and gummies. All VAAY products come from all-natural CBD, because we want you to feel the full potential benefits of CBD’s entourage effect. So, we tend to infuse our CBD with as many terpenes as we can; and we love our terpenes varied and potent so that, no matter what method of CBD you choose to take, you can feel the potential positive effects of phytocannabinoids, working in synergy, to provide you with a host of possible benefits.
So, you might be wondering- how do terpenes work, when we use them in food?
The Bioavailability of Terpenes
When we take any CBD product infused with terpenes via food or drinks, the effect of the product has quite a low bioavailability
This tends to be because the cannabis product has to pass through our digestive system, and subsequently through the liver, before we can feel any potential effects. Often, the liver metabolises the CBD- resulting in lower absorption rates. This is known as the ‘first pass effect’ and happens quite a lot with any oral supplement (not just CBD). But it’s not necessarily a bad thing: bioavailability or not, the oral CBD method can actually be a pretty great method for those who want to feel the possible long-lasting effects of CBD over a more extended period of time.
The oral route can also be excellent for those who don’t want to feel any intense effects too quickly (such as a sudden wave of relaxation or drowsiness- this can be incredibly potent when we vape full spectrum CBD, which tends to contain myrcene and CBG- two cannabinoids which can cause sedation and drowsiness when overused).
It’s always great to remember the concentration and potency of whatever you’re taking- as well as calculate dosage, and consider bioavailability and your own sensitivity to the product. Is the product full-spectrum or broad-spectrum? Does your product have a wide range of terpenes infused in it? What concentration of CBD is in your product?
These factors are important because they affect how potent the product will be and what function the product can serve for you. And, even via the oral method of taking CBD, the combination, ratio, and mixture of cannabinoids and terpenes infused can have a substantial effect on your system- some terpenes and cannabinoids may be great to relax you, while others may potentially uplift your wellbeing and promote concentration.
Day or Night: VAAY’s Terpene Recommendations
So, whether you're planning to take your CBD product during the day to potentially release that slow wave of concentration, or just before a relaxing self-care evening so that you can feel restored and sleepy- at VAAY, we have everything you need. Here are some things to note about terpenes:
- Myrcene and linalool may help to curb your anxiety
- Myrcene and limonene may uplift you for the day
- Linalool alone may be a great relaxant. It can also be paired with pinene to potentially promote sleep and relaxation.
- Limonene alone, can purportedly be refreshing, improve memory, and help awaken your senses
- Pinene may get you calm and focused, in certain doses.
If you find yourself on VAAY’s website and want to feel relaxed, why not try our 5% full-spectrum CBD oil or broad-spectrum gummies? They’ve been handpicked by us to possibly promote relaxation, relief, and calm for those evenings where you want to shut your brain off and indulge in some shut-eye. We include natural hemp extract in all our products- so, THC or not, we can guarantee there will be plenty of myrcene, pinene, (and infused linalool) to potentially get you calm and centred enough to feel at peace with the world... if only for the night.
If you want something a little more sedating, to get your sleep hygiene on another level, our CBD sleep capsules have exactly what you’re looking for. With a mixture of 5-HT and vitamins, from B-12 to D-3, alongside full spectrum hemp extract, with an array of calming alpha and beta-pinene and infused with linalool, these capsules are designed to potentially get you dozing in no time. Our sleep capsules also have a higher bioavailability, as they’re micellised (water-soluble to better absorb into the bloodstream)- to get that CBD absorbed into your system with efficiency and ease.
If you want to get some clarity and focus for the day ahead, our micellised CBD Capsules Plus can be an excellent supplement for your morning routine- perfect to efficiently absorb into your system and get you going for the day. These capsules include broad-spectrum hemp, infused with an uplifting combination of terpenes, we have you covered.
If it isn’t clear enough already, here at VAAY, we love our terpenes. From uplifting limonene to calming linalool, we aren’t just inhaling our terpenes anymore- we’re ingesting them... and reaping all the benefits we possibly can, all the while.
But, ultimately, whether you’re taking your CBD orally, topically, or in vapourised form, just remember: all the comfort, cognition, and calm you may feel is due to team effort. So, here’s a thank you to all the cannabinoids which may work together in the most versatile of ways to keep us smiling or snoozing.