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June 5, 2020

What Are Terpenes? The Definitive CBDfx Guide

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CBDfx Team

What Are Terpenes_ The Definitive CBDfx Guide

Not sure exactly what terpenes are? Come check out our guide on the terpenes that give our world its sweet flavors and delightful aromas!

By: Atticus McKittrick

It’s no secret that CBD has become one of the most popular wellness products on the planet. With a vast array of companies surfacing almost daily, and a seemingly endless variety of products to choose from, the CBD market is now bigger than anyone could have predicted. 

With so many brands and products available to you, it can be difficult to keep track of all the ingredients that you should be aware of. You are probably familiar with the basic differences between broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD, but there is a specific set of compounds that are present in both of these and deserve our attention.

What Are Terpenes?

We all know a bit about CBD, or cannabidiol, and are most certainly aware of THC, a psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. However, there is another key compound that is present in both broad spectrum and full spectrum hemp extracts: terpenes. CBD enthusiasts see the word written all the time on CBD websites, in product descriptions and mentioned in CBD blogs, but a surprisingly small number of people actually know what terpenes are, what they do, and why they are an important part of hemp extracts. 

Everyone has already experienced the power of terpenes, whether they are aware of it or not. Terpenes are present in more than just hemp extracts; they can be found in just about everything. Even though we have all experienced the power of these compounds, many of us don’t have a very clear terpenes definition. We want to help you understand these compounds a bit better, and in this definitive guide, we aim to answer all of the questions we are frequently asked about this fascinating compound, as well as shed some light on the importance of terpenes and their remarkable qualities.

What Are Terpenes In CBD Products?

Terpenes are present in almost all CBD products, with the exception of products containing CBD isolate extracts. Whether you enjoy products made with broad spectrum CBD, or prefer those made with a fuller spectrum of cannabinoids, you are enjoying the aromatic presence of terpenes. When CBD first hit the market, one of the biggest appeals to consumers was the fact that they could enjoy CBD edibles and other products without having to deal with the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD hemp oil extracts had been hampered by misunderstanding to a large degree for at least one hundred years, and though technology had developed, there hadn’t been much research on hemp oil extracts due to their extended prohibition in the United States.

When scientists began researching CBD and the way it interacts with the human body, it didn’t take long for them to recognize the presence and power of this compound. Ever since people realized the importance of terpenes in hemp extracts, CBD manufacturers have made a point of including the compounds in their product descriptions. This is to ensure that customers are aware of terpenes present in the hemp extract oil used in their formulations. No full or broad spectrum CBD oil would be complete without the presence of terpenes. If you are curious to know the difference between a CBD oil with terpenes and one without, then try a CBD isolate and pay attention to the flavor. You will be amazed how quickly you recognize the absence of this often overlooked compound!

What Are Terpenes Used For?

While we see terpenes for sale as an essential part of hemp extracts and include them in CBD products, nature uses terpenes in just about everything. Terpenes are what give an orange blossom its sweet smell, and lavender its calming aroma. Terpenes are also what gives a hemp extract its distinct, rich taste and earthy smell, which so many of us have come to love and appreciate. We, as humans, utilize terpenes on a daily basis without ever really articulating the fact – or even being aware that we are doing so. When you use any product that embraces the soothing aromatic qualities of lavender, you are enjoying the calming power of terpenes through your sense of smell. When you drink that cool, incredibly refreshing glass of orange juice in the morning, you are allowing terpenes to ignite your body through your sense of taste. 

Terpenes can be found in everything, and though they are rarely pedestalized or placed in the forefront, they are a powerful and important part of our everyday life. Just imagine a world without the light fragrances of flowers after a rainstorm; a world where you could never again enjoy the ripe, sweet notes of your favorite fruit. It is not a very pleasant thing to imagine, but it helps us realize what a truly important role terpenes play in our lives and the world around us. Whether people recognize that terpenes are present or remain completely unaware of their existence, they will continue to use and experience the compounds in an incredible number of ways.

True Terpenes

The truest types of terpenes exist all around us in nature. They are present in the hemp plant that your favorite terpenes oil was extracted from, in the lovely lavender oil that has become such a staple in the world of aromatherapy, and even in the fresh juice that gives our body that powerful boost first thing in the morning. Terpenes are very much a part of the human experience, and the more you familiarize yourself with them, the more you will be amazed. We recommend checking out a terpenes cannabinoids chart if you are a more visual learner and want to be blown away by the remarkable diversity that these compounds offer.

Cannabis Terpenes

There are over 100 different terpenes present in the cannabis plant, each with their own powerful and unique properties. After creating and analyzing a terpenes chart, scientists found that Mycrene is by far the most abundant terpene found in cannabis and can account for up to 65% of the total terpene profile in a given plant. Not only does Mycrene play a large part in the taste and smell of the hemp plant, but it has also proven to be a powerful compound when facing discomfort. Cannabis derived terpenes are used in a variety of ways, and can be added to CBD isolates to increase their flavor and the overall user experience.

Do Terpenes Get You High?

There is a plethora of terminology used in the world of CBD, and it can be fairly difficult for even avid CBD fans to familiarize themselves with all of them. This can lead to confusion and misunderstanding surrounding some fundamental aspects of hemp extracts. Both full- and broad spectrum CBD oils are extracted from the hemp plant. Hemp is in the cannabis family and often gets confused with its cousin, marijuana. Many people are familiar with marijuana as its psychoactive properties have given it a distinct reputation. Though hemp and marijuana are both types of cannabis plants, they have very different effects and contain very different concentrations of the active compounds they’re famous for.

Hemp plants are rich in CBD and contain only trace amounts of the psychoactive compound THC. Products made from hemp extracts contain less than 0.3% THC, so a properly-crafted product will never cause you to feel its intoxicating effects. Those enjoying CBD hemp extracts will not experience any feeling of being “high” due to the fact that it requires a far greater concentration of THC. 

Many CBD users love being able to experience cannabis without dealing with the psychoactive effects of THC. Terpenes are completely non-psychoactive and though they are present in both hemp and marijuana, they do not get you high. The terpenes present in marijuana have nothing to do with its psychoactive effects. Even though terpenes are present in many products that also include intoxicants, they are not guilty by association and will not provide you with effects similar to THC and a few other cannabinoids. 

List of Terpenes

There are so many different types of terpenes that naming them all would be far beyond the scope of this guide, but we did put together a list of 5 terpenes commonly found in the hemp plant. If you would like to go further in depth about specific terpenes, it will require a solid background in science and a great deal of time.


This is the most common terpene found in the hemp plant and can account for up to 65% of the overall terpene profile of certains strains.


Caryophyllene is responsible for some of the spicier aspects of hemp’s flavor profile, and binds to the CB2 receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system.


This terpene is also found in cinnamon, lavender and other aromatic plants. It plays a big part in the spicy-sweet smell of hemp. Terpenes such as linalool are desirable for their aromatic effects.


Out of all the terpenes present in the cannabis plant, Limonene is the second most common after Mycrene. Though counterintuitive due to its prominence in many strains, this terpene is not present in every variety of cannabis plant.


Humulene can be found in black pepper, sage, cloves and of course, cannabis.

Are Terpenes Legal?

Though people have been using hemp extracts for thousands of years for a variety of purposes, the hemp plant was vilified in the United States for such a long period of time that it almost slipped into obscurity forever. Hemp has been used by humans for thousands of years, and it has even been found in the earliest relics of fabric that are estimated to be around 10,000 years old. Hemp was grown throughout the United States in colonial times; both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. In fact, in colonial times American farmers were legally required to grow hemp!

In the early 1900’s, a man named Harry Anslinger began promoting the Marihuana Tax Act, which was eventually passed by U.S. congress in 1937. This new taxation on the production of hemp made it incredibly difficult for american farmers to grow cannabis of any form, and effectively began a prohibition that lasted for the better part of a century. On December 7th, 1941, a U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service. After this attack, foreign imports, including hemp fiber from the Philippines, were cut off, and the U.S government began to encourage citizens to grow hemp once again for war efforts, going as far as releasing films like “Hemp for Victory”.

U.S farmers grew over one million acres of hemp during that period, but after the war, the government quietly shut-down the hemp initiative and allowed this incredible plant to slip back into obscurity by way of taxation and prohibition. It wasn’t until 2018 that the prohibition was lifted and hemp was legalized for both private and public use in the United States. Terpenes themselves, of course, have never been the focus of any ban or prohibition. This would be impossible, since they exist in countless desirable products outside of the hemp market. Terpenes are completely legal, both by themselves and when found in terpenes CBD products and oils.

Vaping Terpenes

There are a multitude of ways for users to enjoy terpene-rich hemp extracts. With everything from topical creams and lotions, to an incredible variety of edibles and oils, the CBD industry has developed into a veritable dreamland for CBD lovers. Within the industry, vaping is certainly one of the most popular methods of use. Vaping and terpenes go together like milk and honey, and it’s one of the most efficient methods of enjoying the rich flavors and potent compounds contained within the hemp plant. Not only does vaping enhance the flavor of terpenes by atomizing extract oil into vapor and allowing your taste buds greater exposure to delicious compounds, but it also makes the terpenes and CBD more rapidly bioavailable than most other methods of use.

We hope that this brief breakdown of terpenes has helped you develop a greater understanding for what terpenes are, what they do and why they’re so important! Check out our incredible terpene vape pen options, and keep up to date on our blog if you’re interested in learning more!

Did you know?

The strength of the CBD needed (500mg, 1000mg, and 1500mg) will depend on the dog.
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