The Difference Between Cannabinoids
and Terpenes in CBD Oil
With the CBD market set to hit $20 billion by 2024, it's no wonder that producers are seeking to differentiate their products.
One of the newer ways is through the inclusion of terpenes in CBD oil.
These compounds can provide some additional benefits, but most people aren't even aware of their presence in cannabis and hemp.
So, if you want to know the difference and decide whether or not full-spectrum extracts are what you're looking for... read on and we'll help to explain the difference.
Cannabinoids: CBD, THC, and Others
The cannabis plant is much more complex than most believe. The first category of substances contained within, cannabinoids, are the primary components that people look for in cannabis.
THC is the stuff that gets people stoned.
For that reason, its content is strictly controlled in CBD oils. Anything over 0.3% is illegal on the federal level, although some states within the US and other countries have legalized it.
While it seems to have some level of medicinal properties, it's not the go-to cannabinoid when it comes to medicine.
THC is an interesting compound on its own and cannabis has been selectively bred for years to increase the content. These days high levels of THC and low CBD are normal in the flower, extracts, and other recreational products sold through dispensaries.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the main component of medical concern these days.
CBD has shown some amazing anti-inflammatory properties that are of use to those who suffer from chronic ailments like arthritis.
In addition, the compound has shown quite a few different properties that seem to help with sleep disorders, mental issues like insomnia and depression, and even promote heart health.
What is known is that CBD has a ton of medicinal properties and more are being uncovered all the time.
There are many other compounds that are classified as cannabinoids in both hemp and cannabis plants.
These include compounds like CBG, a precursor to both CBD and THC that appears to help with osteoporosis.
There is also THCV, a psychoactive compound that produces a buzz at high doses but acts similarly to CBD at lower doses.
The last commonly studied component is CBN which is a different compound chemically but produces similar effects to CBD in many cases.
Each of these compounds is currently being studied s more and more people adopt a better view of the cannabis and hemp plants as a medicinal aid rather than just a black market plant which people use recreationally.
Let's Talk Aromatics: Terpene Compounds
Terpenes have a different chemical "backbone" than you'll find with cannabinoids. They're the aromatic compounds that form the flavor and aroma of the flower and vary widely between the different strains of the plant.
They've been selected for in many cases. If you're a recreational user then you've probably found the difference in strains already, but you most likely didn't know that these compounds also cause different effects.
Individually, terpenes can also inhibit or catalyze the growth of different cannabinoids but their importance doesn't end there.
The terpene profile of a plant can change the subjective effects when one takes the whole flower or extracts which are full-spectrum.
Terpene compounds are widely used in aromatherapy, but they also seem to have their own effects. Some of those present in cannabis and hemp plants have been studied extensively, others are just now being recognized as being of importance.
Some of the better-studied terpenes are as follows...
Myrcene is the primary aromatic component of cannabis.
It has a smell that resembles cloves and seems to contribute to the overall sedative effect of some strains of cannabis.
It really only seems to occur in cannabis and mangoes in the wild. While it makes up the bulk of the terpenes in most cannabis strains it's actually not responsible entirely for the "bud" smell.
Linalool is the main constituent of the distinctive pot smell. Most recreational strains have a considerable amount of it and pretty much any variety of cannabis or hemp has it in some capacity.
It seems to show similar effects to CBD, including anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant properties.
Ever get some bud with a citrus smell? While Sour Diesel is the most prominent strain containing significant amounts of this terpene it's present in many across the board.
Limonene is actually well-studied since it also forms the aromatic components of citrus fruit like lemons and is even used as a safer solvent in many chemical reactions.
Overall it seems to have a mood-boosting and energetic effect.
A terpene responsible for the strong smell of pine trees, it's also found in significant qualities in some strains of cannabis.
In addition to anti-inflammatory effects, it also has a positive effect on the respiratory system and memory.
Where it's found it's a highly desirable compound for those who are seeking to minimize the negative effects of cannabis for obvious reasons.
A comprehensive list of terpenes contained in cannabis and hemp is beyond the scope of this article.
There are dozens of these compounds that can be found in whole plants and the specifics of each are still under study.
Cannabis is an extremely complex plant and more medicinal uses are being found for its components all the time.
Exploring the Entourage Effect
The truth is that the entourage effect makes a huge difference in the effectiveness of any whole plant compound.
When you get to something with as complex of a profile as hemp or cannabis, however, it becomes a whole new ball game.
The entire plant contributes to the overall medicinal effect, rather than just individual compounds contained within. It's the basis of herbalism in the first place, so it obviously extends to cannabinoids and terpenes.
CBD oils, gummies, and the like come in a few different forms but the question for many is simple: what type is best for them?
Standard CBD Oils
In most cases, CBD is extracted from the plant through the use of a solvent. Hemp is most commonly used since the process required to separate THC and CBD is complex and expensive.
This leads to a finished product which contains fewer terpenes.
While CBD is quite effective on its own, these finished products have a different character than either isolates or full-spectrum extractions.
One thing to beware of for the novice: if a CBD product has a label that lists "hemp extract" instead of "Cannabidiol" in the ingredients it will contain less CBD than expected. It's a common method for lower quality products to be sold to the public.
The biggest fear of many using CBD is that THC will show up in a urine assay or other drug tests.
For those people, CBD isolates are a great idea. They're more expensive than standard CBD oil by a longshot but they're usually verified independently to contain no THC.
They provide those who wish for the benefits of CBD but fear drug testing a way to get the relief provided by cannabidiol.
However, if you're not worried about drug testing the extra cost is often prohibitive and there's a better option.
Full Spectrum CBD Extracts
Full-spectrum extracts contain all of the aromatic and cannabinoid components of the individual strain of hemp or cannabis. With the development of strains that legally classify as hemp but maintain aromatic components, these full-spectrum extracts can provide extra benefits.
Since they contain all of the constituent chemicals of the strain they're often more effective.
The entourage effect is in full force here: all of the compounds are free to work together to bring the most benefits to the user.
The patient experiences the complete benefit of the plant.
How Important Are Terpenes in CBD Oil?
The truth is that the only reason to not go with a full-spectrum extract is in cases where the tiny amount of THC allowable in hemp-based products may cause concern.
CBD is quite effective in isolate form.
However, the addition of the rest of the compounds naturally present in the plant adds up to more than the individual chemicals. The terpene profile is just as important as the cannabinoid profile when it comes to the effects as a whole.
As CBD becomes more popular, it's rapidly becoming apparent that the more natural the extract... the better the effect.
So Now You Know
Terpenes in CBD oil are becoming more available as time goes on. What started as a way for people to differentiate products has turned out to be important to the medicinal effects of CBD oils.
If you're on the fence then give a terpene-containing, full-spectrum CBD oil a shot. It might just be the best choice you've ever made when it comes to your medicine.