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Terpenes are a staple ingredient in CBD products. Come check out this guide on the importance of the flavor profiles of these wonderful compounds!
By: Chloe Persichetti
This title may have raised some questions in your mind. How could CBD and a walk in a pine forest ever correlate? Let’s get right into it: you find yourself in the middle of a forest, and as you walk, each deep breath fills your nostrils with a fresh pine scent from the trees. That pine fragrance makes the walk memorable, and guess what? What you’re smelling in that forest is the exact same type of compound that you can find in your CBD products! While you were on that stroll, you were smelling compounds known as terpenes lingering in the air.
Terpenes are an organic compound found in plants, trees and fruits, among other things. There are an estimated 20,000 different kinds of terpenes found in various plants, and around 120 terpenes in CBD alone! Terpenes are a massive and diverse class of biologically active molecules. To put it in simple terms, terpenes are what help give nature its scent, color, taste and flavor. This is actually where essential oils that have been used widely for centuries come from. Terpenes are extracted from flowers, plants and trees to create these oils; you are probably more familiar with terpenes than you thought! The main reason terpenes are still a huge component in nature is because the smells they omit work for both protection and hunting. They protect living organisms by deterring predators and also attract prey that the organisms can then feast on.
The word “terpenes” has close ties specifically to the pine tree. It stems from the word “turpentine,” which is the resin from pine trees, and it gives off the classic scent. Even the word correlates back to the pine tree! Whether or not you realize it, you taste terpenes quite frequently, in situations such as when you bite into a mango slice or eat an Italian caprese salad of basil, mozzarella, and tomato.
While you could get up close to a flower to smell it, you can also catch its aroma in the air around it. This is because terpenes are evaporative, meaning that being the tiny compounds they are, they can easily break off from the rest of the plant and float out into the air. That’s why it’s so easy to smell pine trees when you do a nature walk! You are smelling the airborne terpenes, which are not so different from the terpenes found in the CBD oil that you ingest, vaporize, and topically apply. In the example of pine trees, the exact terpenes you’re smelling are called “pinene.” There are two types: Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene. These twin terpenes give pine their smell! Other plants that contain pinene include rosemary, parsley, cannabis and basil. The terpenes in CBD hemp extracts range from smelling like being in a pine forest to the zest of a lemon and the smell of flowers.
You may have never considered this, but many experiences in your life simply wouldn’t be the same if you took away all of its olfactory cues. If pine trees didn’t give off their signature smell, that walk through nature wouldn’t be the same; same goes for Christmas trees and all other situations in which the scent of pine would be especially prominent.
When we breathe in and smell a scent we either like, dislike or are neutral to, that is all because of our olfactory system. Wonder why you love some scents more than others? This is the system we use every time we smell. Humans, most mammals and reptiles all have an olfactory system, and as a result, we all get to enjoy the smell of terpenes in the air!
So now we know breathing in a smell is more than just that simple act — there’s a “behind the scenes” aspect we don’t normally think of. Beyond smelling for the sake of taking in certain aromas, researchers are discovering the unique ways in which individual terpene aroma profiles affect us. There’s much more to smells than you thought!
This is a reason aromatherapy has found constant popularity across centuries — our brains react to various scents in different ways! Aroma-intake practices are said to have begun with the Chinese and Egyptians over 6,000 years ago. Essential oils are a big part of this and are used in countless people’s daily lives worldwide. These essential oils are extracted from plants and flowers that, you guessed it, are comprised of terpenes.
Now, you can find terpenes is a vast array of CBD products, including each of our CBD vape pens and delicious edible products!
Terpenes vary in structure so much that their types of uses are highly varied. Terpenes are typically thought of when referring to the cannabis plant, but terpenes are everywhere — not only in our top-tier CBDfx products.
Terpenes are the largest class of natural products on the market due to their chemical diversity. Even jet fuel uses terpenes! They can be used as fuel all on their own, or can be mixed with gasoline/diesel engines. Top-of-the-line lubricants and food flavors are also comprised of terpenes. Additionally, terpenes are often actually seen in the makeup industry. Many cosmetics are getting their pigmented colors from terpenes. Remember that terpenes are naturally occurring and therefore, are safe for the skin!
But what about other perfumes — where do they get their scents? Fragrances also get their scent from the natural smells found in nature. Thousands of different terpenes can be found in a perfume’s list of ingredients, a couple of the more popular options being linalool and citral. Feel free to learn more and go in-depth with specific terpene strains here!
Distillation, a way of extracting terpenes from plants, likely first appeared in Europe in the 12th century. Soon, the process was being used across the globe. This gave way to essential oils becoming more available where they perhaps weren’t before. Extraction methods have since changed. Due to the massive range of structures that terpenes can be made up of, the methods for their extraction can vary, terpene to terpene. One of the main methods now is to purely grab the terpene by breaking the plant cell and releasing other unwanted chemicals.
When we consume CBD and terpenes together, in the form of products such as our CBDfx Terpenes Pens, our experience might be completely different from what is felt after using a product containing CBD isolate. Terpenes directly affect the characteristics of a given CBD product. When terpenes come in contact with CBD, the user is experiencing a fuller slice of what the hemp plant has to offer. The combination of terpenes and CBD, as well as other interesting cannabinoids, allows the extract to potentially be even more effective; and this is what is commonly referred to as the “Entourage Effect.” These compounds joining forces can be powerful, which is why CBDfx’s products mainly contain broad-spectrum and full-spectrum extracts, meaning that terpenes are not stripped away from the CBD oil during the extraction process. You still get terpenes and that great flavor!
Another fascinating fact about terpenes is that they can be sensitive to their surroundings; so much so that their characteristics can actually be modified. Aspects such as time of day, weather and how old the terpenes are can be huge proponents in how they are produced and what properties they possess. Even the kind of soil and fertilizer used to grow the plant can change the terpene profile.
Terpenes are all around us, and probably more important to our lives than you previously thought. Whether it’s the terpenes in your CBD, perfume or the jet you take to your next getaway, remember that it all comes from tiny molecules in the wild! If you’d like to see how terpenes in CBD products work for yourself, you can check out the wide variety of products that we sell on this website, each possessing its own interesting terpene profile.
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