Skip to content
How Terpenes Could Enhance CBD

How Terpenes Could Enhance CBD

Ever since the discovery of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive component of the Cannabis sativa plant, there's been a surge of interest in understanding the many compounds that play a part in the plant’s vast therapeutic potential. Alongside CBD, one group of these compounds that has gained much attention are the terpenes.

Terpenes: What Are They?

Terpenes are organic compounds present in various plant species, including cannabis. They are responsible for the characteristic fragrance and flavour profiles of plants, ranging from the sweet aroma of lavender to the sharp zestiness of citrus fruits. However, terpenes do much more than pleasing our olfactory senses. They interact synergistically with cannabinoids like CBD to enhance their therapeutic effects, a phenomenon known as the "entourage effect".

In the cannabis plant alone, over 100 different terpenes have been identified. Each strain of cannabis contains a unique blend of these terpenes, giving it a distinctive scent, flavour, and set of effects. In this article, we will explore how terpenes enhance CBD and the scientific understanding behind it.

The Entourage Effect

The term 'entourage effect' was first coined by Professors Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat in 1998. It refers to the synergistic interaction among various compounds in cannabis, including cannabinoids and terpenes, which makes the overall effect of the plant greater than the sum of its individual parts.

When consumed together, terpenes and cannabinoids (like CBD) can enhance each other’s therapeutic effects, reduce potential side effects, and even modulate the high experienced from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They work together to produce a complex interaction that can be adjusted to create specific results, and it's why full-spectrum CBD products, which contain a range of cannabinoids and terpenes, can be more effective than products containing CBD isolate alone.

The Mechanism: How Terpenes Enhance CBD

The interaction between terpenes and CBD occurs at the molecular level and involves various biological pathways. This intricate dance of molecules hinges upon the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a key homeostatic regulator in the human body.

The ECS is a complex cell-signalling system that plays a role in regulating a wide range of functions and processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, and pain. The system is composed of endocannabinoids (compounds produced naturally in the body), receptors they bind to (CB1 and CB2 receptors), and enzymes that break them down.

CBD indirectly influences this system by inhibiting the enzyme FAAH, which is responsible for the breakdown of the endocannabinoid anandamide. By preventing FAAH action, CBD can increase anandamide levels, promoting an overall sense of well-being.

Terpenes, on the other hand, can affect the ECS by altering the permeability of cell membranes, allowing more or less of a certain compound to pass through. They also act on receptors and neurotransmitters; they can inhibit the uptake of certain chemicals in the brain, enhance the activity of others, or mimic compounds in the body, such as endorphins, that produce specific effects.

Prominent Terpenes and Their Effects

Let's delve into some of the most common terpenes and their potential symbiotic relationship with CBD.

  1. Myrcene: This terpene has a musky, earthy aroma and is found in significant quantities in most cannabis strains. It has potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Myrcene also affects the permeability of cell membranes, allowing more CBD to reach the cells
  1. Limonene: Characterised by a distinct citrus aroma, limonene is known for its stress-relieving and mood-enhancing properties. Research suggests that limonene can improve the absorption of other terpenes by the skin, mucous membranes, and digestive tract, thereby enhancing the overall effect of CBD products.

  2. Pinene: As the name suggests, pinene imparts a pine-like aroma. It has been shown to counteract some of the potential adverse effects of THC, such as impaired memory. This terpene could potentially work synergistically with CBD to enhance cognitive function.

  3. Linalool: Commonly found in lavender, linalool is associated with relaxation and stress relief. Combined with CBD, the two compounds can potentially provide an enhanced calming effect, making them an effective combination for dealing with anxiety and stress-related disorders.

  4. Caryophyllene: Known for its spicy, peppery aroma, caryophyllene is unique as it is also a dietary cannabinoid, binding directly to the CB2 receptor, much like CBD. This terpene can act synergistically with CBD to provide anti-inflammatory effects, pain relief, and possibly even help treat certain forms of addiction.

  5. Humulene: Humulene imparts a woody, earthy aroma and acts as an appetite suppressant. It works together with CBD to possibly aid in weight loss and support those struggling with appetite control.

Biosynthesis of Terpenes and CBD

To further appreciate the complexity of the interaction between terpenes and CBD, it is important to understand their biosynthesis, the process by which the cannabis plant produces these compounds.

In cannabis, the precursors to cannabinoids and terpenoids are produced in the plant's trichomes. From the same precursor molecule, geranyl pyrophosphate, the plant forms the basic terpene compounds and the acidic form of the cannabinoids (CBGA).

In essence, the formation of cannabinoids and terpenes share part of the same biochemical pathway, but diverge after the creation of the precursor molecule. This suggests that the genetic expression of the cannabis plant affects both the cannabinoid and terpene profiles of the plant, leading to specific strains with unique synergistic effects.

The Impact on Consumer Choices

Understanding the interplay between CBD and terpenes can have a significant impact on consumer choices. For those who use CBD products for therapeutic purposes, the terpene profile can affect the overall efficacy of the product. As such, a comprehensive understanding of the terpenes present and their effects can guide consumers towards the product that best suits their individual needs.


The entourage effect represents a sophisticated interaction between various compounds found within the cannabis plant, highlighting how terpenes enhance CBD. Further research is necessary to unlock the full potential of these interactions and to create optimally tailored therapeutic products.

Whether you’re a connoisseur or a curious newcomer to the world of CBD, the symbiosis between CBD and terpenes adds an extra layer to the appreciation of this versatile plant. With the right blend of terpenes, CBD’s potential therapeutic applications are vast, promising, and most excitingly, just beginning to be explored.

Explore our full range of wholesale terpenes today.

Previous article Using Display Units for Disposable Vapes Sales
Next article Can Vaping Set off Smoke Detectors?