Sometimes it feels like you might need a chemistry or biology degree to have a discussion about CBD. For example, what are CBD terpenes or terpenoids, and why do they matter?
Most of us won't have come across the term before, but you've been enjoying terpenes around you every day. They're the naturally occurring chemicals produced by plants and some insects which you notice as smells. The name even comes from an old spelling of turpentine - the solvent which is mainly produced from distilled pine resin.
More pleasant examples include Limonene, which produces the citrus smell of lemons, limes and oranges. Or Linalool, responsible for the relaxing aroma of lavender. So it's not surprising that many terpenes and terpenoids are used in perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning product, or food and drink. But they don't just smell nice...
The difference between CBD Terpenes and Terpenoids
Terpenes are the natural compounds produced naturally by plants and some insects. More than 30,000 exist, from natural rubber (polyisoprene) to the aroma and flavour of hops for your beer (sesquiterpenes).
Terpenoids have an additional functional group, usually containing oxygen, and make up around 60% of natural products. Examples include the flavours of ginger, cloves and garlic, or the red colour of tomatoes.
Unless you're strict about your chemistry, the two names can often be mixed up in descriptions.
Why are CBD Terpenes important?
These can include pinene (found in pine needles and citrus fruits and believe to be an anti-inflammatory), linalool (found in lavender, cinnamon and coriander with sedative and relaxing properties), limonene (from citrus rinds and has anti-anxiety effects), alpha-humulene (found in hops, sage and ginseng with anti-inflammatory effects), myrcene (from a Brazilian shrub and offers sedative properties), and beta-caryophyllene (provides the aroma of black pepper but could also reduce pain and inflammation).
When these are ingested alongside CBD, the belief is that they will help to create the 'entourage effect' which means they're more effective working in combination.
The Entourage Effect
If you exercise more or eat a healthier diet, it will have an effect. But if you do both at the same time, the benefits of both will be amplified.
The entourage effect is the idea that the same applies to CBD with other substances generally found in cannabis plants. While CBD oil can't legally contain more than a very small trace amount of THC (the compound which produced a high and is legally restricted), a full or broad spectrum product will include a range of terpenes which hopefully compliment the CBD with additional anti-inflammatory, pain reducing, or stress allreviating properties.
Much more research needs to be done before there's definitive proof that the entourage effect is more beneficial than CBD alone. And you can certainly benefit from adding a CBD Isolate Oil supplement to your diet. But you may feel a bigger difference from the entourage effect if you can opt for a broad or full spectrum CBD oil.
Terpene or not Terpene?
The important thing to note is that Isolate CBD Oil and cannabidiol can provide a range of potential benefits in the purest form, without any additional terpenes or terpenoids.
So if you're concerned about any other substances being present in your bloodstream (whether that's due to your employment or sporting activities etc), then you can still use CBD Isolate as part of your health and fitness regime.
At the moment, there's no definitive medical research into the entourage effect, so it's difficult to say whether including specific terpenes gives an additional benefit. The main basis is that some of these compounds are found naturally in cannabis and hemp, and the non-intoxicating effects of those plants could be down to the combined results of ingesting them together.