What are Terpenes?
Ever wonder why the Lemon Skunk or Durban Poison strains smell and taste the way they do? It’s all thanks to terpenes, which taste and smell great and can even affect your cannabis high. However, terpenes are also beneficial on their own, and can be introduced to the body in several different ways. Check out this article to learn more about what terpenes are, what terpenes do, and all the ways you can use them in our Terpene Resource section below:
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Terpenes are hydrocarbon chemical compounds found in all plants and even some insects that are responsible for the unique way they taste and smell. You can think of them as the essential oils or the essence of plants. If you've heard of terpenes, you've likely also heard of terpenoids. They are almost the same thing. The difference between Terpenes vs. Terpenoids is that terpenoids have been denatured by oxidation.
Flavors and odors are made up of a combination of terpenes, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, and others, not just one isolated terpene! When you think of blueberry plants, you'll notice their fruits taste and smell different than the foliage. This is all thanks to hundreds of combinations of terpene isolates and other organic compounds. Introducing terpenes to your favorite products is a great way to enhance the flavor profiles of foods and beverages, concentrates, vapes, and more. You can take ordinary flavors and add depth by adding terpene isolates or blends of terpenes that create unique flavors, like berries and cream! They can make vape cartridges more effective and generate bigger hits with more visible vapor. Best of all, they come with several health benefits, and concrete evidence to support their claims.
In the last few years, terpenes have generated an enormous interest thanks to research conducted on terpenes on behalf of the cannabis industry. This research suggests that terpenes interact with our endocannabinoid systems and can both limit and boost the effects of the cannabinoids found in cannabis. This effect allows the opportunity to make cannabis extracts and concentrates more effective. Terpenes are quickly on their way to becoming the world's next health craze and into your local holistic health foods store.
The Entourage Effect
Before the 2010s, cannabis growers and consumers were focused almost entirely on THC percentages for their products and paid little attention to other cannabinoids or terpenes. However, research has shown that the full-spectrum of cannabinoids and their terpenes work together to boost the effectiveness of cannabis extracts.
Most consumers are aware that strains taste and smell unique thanks to cannabis terpenes, though few are aware of the link terpenes share with cannabinoids. People with medical conditions utilize cannabis to help with their conditions on a strain to strain basis, so what makes one strain more medically beneficial than the other with a similar THC level? The answer lies within the entourage effect.
The entourage effect was discovered by Dr. Ethan Russo, the Director of Research and Development at International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute and a Senior Medical Advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals, in 2006. He found that CBD antagonizes the effects of THC and makes THC less-effective. With that in mind, he set out to detail the synergistic effects of terpenes with cannabinoids.
In his research on the entourage effect between terpenes and cannabinoids, Russo concluded that terpenes offer "complementary pharmacological activities that may strengthen and broaden clinical applications and improve the therapeutic index of cannabis extracts." In layman's terms, he means that terpenes make cannabinoids more effective.
Each strain has a unique terpene profile made up of hundreds of terpene isolates that gives the strain its distinct smell and taste. Each terpene isolate affects cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system uniquely. Some cannabinoids like CBD are responsible for making you feel relaxed. So are terpenes like Linalool, which is why these two compounds are often found together in the same strain of floral cannabis. The entourage effect helps these two compounds to boost each other's effectiveness. The result allows you to experience the calming effects of CBD more effectively than by using CBD isolate alone. The same can be said for Linalool! Those relaxing effects are more potent when they're added to cannabinoids like CBD or CBN.
Cannabinoids and terpenes together are responsible for typical indica, sativa, and hybrid effects since these effects are caused by the compounds working together. Each strain contains its own unique ratio of terpenes and cannabinoids. Each individual plant will vary genetically in cannabinoids and terpenes from the next even if they are the same strain. When terpenes are removed, the final product not only severely lacks in flavor but in the potency and effects too! Most cannabis extraction methods completely strip terpenes away from cannabinoids, which can leave you with a concentrate that tastes, smells, and affects people differently than the beloved flower version of the same strain.
Health Benefits of Terpenes
Thanks to the entourage effect, terpenes can boost the effects of cannabinoids like CBD and THC. However, terpenes also offer many health benefits and effects on their own. There are hundreds of terpene isolates out there, though many haven't been studied as in-depth as the terpenes that occur most commonly in cannabis. Here are the top 10 terpenes found in cannabis and some of their most noteworthy effects:
Limonene: Limonene is most commonly found in citrus peels and is responsible for citrusy flavor profiles. It's used to help medicinal ointments and creams penetrate the skin as well as make foods and beverages taste citrusy. It causes a euphoric, uplifted mood and can promote mental effects like energy and focus. Limonene has also shown to help with digestive troubles and inflammation of the gut. It also offers potent antibacterial and antifungal effects. Studies have shown that limonene can treat asthma and bronchitis by reducing inflammation in the lungs, though further research is needed to solidify the evidence.
Pinene: Pinene is most commonly found in coniferous pine trees and earthy, woody spices like rosemary or sage. It offers organ-protective properties that help with the pancreas and lungs. It can inhibit certain forms of cell death, which is why it's rigorously tested as a potential treatment for pancreatic cancer. Pinene is also a powerful antibacterial that is known to kill both staph and strep bacteria (That's the power of Pine-Sol, baby). It can even repel certain insects, like mosquitos. It has a very earthy, pine flavor that can provide focusing and relaxing effects and also boost your memory. Best of all, it's easily absorbed through your lungs and may be able to help you breathe better.
Myrcene: Myrcene is the primary terpene found in hops, which is the main ingredient in beer! It's both herbaceous and lightly metallic in flavor, so its more commonly used for its aroma than its taste. Myrcene is found often in aromatherapy infusions since it offers sedative, relaxing physical effects. Myrcene is responsible for giving cannabis a couch-locking effect and promoting a euphoric, joyful state of mind. Myrene is a great terpene for physical pain relief and lowering inflammation. Studies have also shown that this terpene has anti-mutagenic properties that may inhibit or kill certain types of cancer cells.
Linalool: Linalool is most easily recognized as the calming scent of lavender. However, it tends to pack spicy undertones to its floral notes which create exciting flavor profiles. Linalool is best known for its calming anxiety and stress-relieving effects, though it also has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. It can act as an anti-convulsant to prevent spasms and seizures. Linalool can even help with insomnia due to its sedative and muscle-relaxing effects. Linalool is also very interesting when it comes to mental health. This sturdy little terpene promotes such uplifting psychological effects when paired with cannabinoids like CBD that it can act as an anti-depressant for people with treatment-resistant depression. It can even boost the effectiveness of SRI mood stabilizers!
Delta-3-Carene: This terpene has a very subtle lemon flavor profile that is also reminiscent of sweetness, earthiness, and pine. Its commonly found in spices and veggies like basil and bell peppers and is responsible for making your eyes red and your mouth dry when you smoke cannabis. It is often used as a natural antihistamine for use in cosmetics and aromatherapy infusions. Delta-3-Carene may be a key contributor to bone growth and repair and is an effective contributor towards fighting the effects of fibromyalgia, arthritis, and osteoporosis due to its anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. Delta-3-Carene is known for its uplifting, mind-sharpening mental effects that can help with memory retention.
Eucalyptol: Eucalyptol, also known as Cineol, is known for its icy mint flavor. It is commonly used in mouthwashes as well as cough and asthma medicines since it can prevent our airways from hypersecreting mucus and improve blood circulation. It is commonly found in eucalyptus plants and offers a ton of additional anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Like many others, it helps with memory retention and shows potential as a way to prevent Alzheimer's disease, though further study on this subject is needed. Eucalyptol can make you feel more connected and more focused. It can also help your body relax enough to regulate sleep patterns.
Beta-Caryophyllene: Beta-Caryophyllene is a slightly larger-than-average terpene that acts as powerfully as a cannabinoid. Much like cannabinoids, Beta-Caryophyllene works directly with our endocannabinoid systems and helps to modulate body processes like pain and inflammation. It is commonly found in cracked black peppercorns and offers a pungent earthy spice and is one of the best terpenes available to combat pain. It's showing a lot of promise as a medicine for digestive ailments like ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease because it protects the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract. Additionally, its uplifting and calming mental effects warranted further study into Beta-Caryophyllene and its impact on anxiety and depression. Like Linalool, it can act as an anti-depressant for people with treatment-resistant depression and even boost the effectiveness of SRI mood stabilizers.
Humulene: Humulene, previously called Alpha-Caryophyllene, is a very common terpene found in cannabis that acts as an effective sedative, natural antibiotic, anticancer, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It also offers a unique effect in the sense that Humulene is a known appetite suppressant. It is commonly found in hops, black pepper, and ginseng and offers subtle earthy, woody, and spicy notes. Humulene may help kill cancer cells when combined with phytocannabinoids and other terpenes and can help fight tumors. It can help with absorption rates of cannabinoids and offers anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Humulene is sure to help you relax and drift to sleep with ease.
Borneol: This terpene has been used in Chinese medicine since the 1600s. Borneol is used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation and swelling, lower anxiety, and improve blood flow to help with heart disease. Topically, it can relax and numb the skin and help you recover from injuries faster. Borneol can lower the blood-brain barrier and help the body absorb medicines more effectively. Further study is needed, but some evidence suggests that Borneol has neuroprotectant, antioxidant, and drug potentiator properties. Like Eucalyptol, Borneol has a minty, cooling, herbal scent and is found most commonly in Camphor, mint, and rosemary plants. Borneol helps to lift moods, energize, and soothe away anxiety.
Terpineol: Terpineol is most commonly found in conifers and has a refreshing, sweet lime flavor and a scent of lilac and pine. It can make you feel calm, warm, and uplifted mentally while also helping the body with antibacterial and antiviral properties that are great as an immune system stimulant. It can reduce the frequency and intensity of seizures, act as a gastroprotective, and kill bacteria in the gut. Terpineol is commonly used in aromatherapy infusions to promote the memory-boosting and uplifting effects. Additionally, Terpineol works great in aromatherapy infusions and vape cartridges because our bodies are able to metabolize it through inhalation quickly and efficiently.
What Are Terpenes Used For?
Terpenes are applied in so many different ways. Terpene isolates and flavor-enhanced terpene profiles make a great addition to anything that needs a flavor boost. Terpenes are already a massive part of the food and beverage industries and make a great addition to sodas, syrups, and even plain water. You can add a few drops of limonene isolate to chamomile tea with honey for a mentally-soothing and health-benefit promoting elixir. However, terpenes can be used in many other ways, as well.
You can introduce terpenes to your favorite inhalable products, including e-cigs, vaporizer juice, and cannabis extracts like vape cartridges, wax, shatter, and distillate. You can even use them in incense burners and candles. Terpenes are metabolized quickly when they're inhaled, which allows you to begin experiencing the benefits of terpenes faster. Best of all, they add a ton of great scents and tastes to these products that may have been stripped of their natural terpenes during extraction and refinement.
Terpenes can also be added to topical products like face masks, lotions, and salves. They smell great in skincare and beauty products, but they can also promote antibacterial effects which can help with acne and breakouts. Some terpenes add a tingling or numbing sensation, which makes it easier to wax your skin. Some terpenes can help with Vitamin E production, allowing your skin to look fuller, clearer, and healthier. When you add terpenes to cannabinoids like CBD and use them in topical products, you can expect stronger, longer-lasting effects.
Terpenes also make a great addition to capsules and oils. If you make your own CBD capsules at home, adding terpenes to the oil before filling the capsules is a great way to ensure boosted effects from the cannabinoids and a better aftertaste. In a similar way, they taste great in tinctures and can also make them more powerful. If you're using isolated CBD, now is the time to switch to full-spectrum extracts, or add your own terpenes!
All-Natural Terpenes and Custom-Strain Profiles by Peak Supply Co
Peak Terpenes offers the world's largest selection of terpenes available for sale online. We offer all-natural terpene isolates, water-soluble terpenes, flavor-enhanced terpenes, and custom strain profiles along with vaporizer cartridges and custom packaging materials. Everything is available individually or in bulk sizes to suit your individual or commercial needs.
Our goal is to provide the best products and services to our customers at the most affordable rate with the fastest ship times. We offer free priority shipping on any order over $75 as well as huge discounts for bulk and wholesale orders. At Peak Terpenes we promise all of the good stuff in our products and none of the bad. That's why all of our terpenes are food-grade and contain nothing except pure terpenes extracted from all-natural fruit, nut, and flower oils.
When you buy from us, you buy with confidence from a trusted terpene supplier that never uses any harsh chemicals like PG, VG, MCT Oil, or PEG. Best of all, we offer a no-fuss performance guarantee against defects or damages that occur during shipping. Our all-in-one solutions allow new big brands, start-ups, and home-based entrepreneurs a vast range of products and services that can help you to establish your new concept with ease.
All of our orders come with the Peak Performance Guarantee, which is our promise that everything you purchase from us works properly, tastes delicious, and is shipped on time or your money back. Be sure to get in touch with us today to learn more about terpenes or to get started on your terpene journey today!
Terpene isolate is another way to say terpene in its purest form. Terpene isolates contain one specific terpene out of the whole spectrum. Each terpene isolate is extracted naturally from fruits, flowers, and nuts, and offers its own collection of health and wellness benefits. Most commonly, you can expect terpene isolates to promote specific properties, like anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, increased energy, relaxation, pain reduction, and euphoria.
With science to support the benefits of terpene isolates, many serious home-based entrepreneurs and commercial product formulators alike are diligently working to innovate terpene isolates into new and improved formulas. By adding multiple terpene isolates together in a product, you can offer a variety of health benefits to your customers. Whether you make vape cartridges, beauty products, tinctures, edibles, beverages, extractions or infusions, terpene isolates can give your products a competitive edge.
As we discussed previously in this article, many cannabis terpenes can be lost during the extraction process. However, they can be reintroduced with strain-specific terpene blends that are uniquely formulated to match your strain's flavor profile. Strain-specific terpenes are custom formulated to match the exact terpene profile of your brand of cannabis strain.
Peak Terpenes is one of the only terpene providers in the country to formulate custom strain profiles. Simply send us the lab results from your favorite cannabis strain and our extraction experts will recreate your exact strain's terpene profile regardless of your phenotype. The result is a terpene profile formulated in our lab that you later reapply to your own cannabis extracts. They also make a great addition to aromatherapy infusions and candles!
Flavor-enhanced terpenes often appear in the form of fruit, cereal, or pastry flavors like Ripe Strawberry and Berries & Cream. They are terpenes that are extracted naturally from fruits, flowers, and nuts and offer the natural health benefits of terpenes but with the added benefit of tasting like something specific. Flavor-enhanced terpenes are the best of both worlds. While e-juice and other vaporizer fluids are more often artificially flavored, they often taste better than terpenes alone. They are an excellent option for replacing flavors lost during the extraction process or creating a new, unique flavor altogether.
Water-soluble terpenes are making a splash in hundreds of different industries. As word of the health and wellness benefits of terpenes gets around, the demand for added terpenes in foods, beverages, and beauty products is on the rise. However, in their natural form, terpenes aren't water-soluble, which makes it difficult for emerging industries to capitalize on their power.
Water-soluble terpenes can be used in a variety of different ways. Water-soluble terpenes are food-grade and can mix thoroughly with water-based products without all of the science required when you add them to extractions or infusions. A few drops of water-soluble terpenes can add flavor and complexity to your unique water-based recipes, such as cocktails, edibles, syrups, sodas, and even topicals like lotions and lip balms. Water-soluble terpenes offer a wide range of health and wellness effects as reported by modern research and client testimonials.