Understanding Terpenes

What on earth are terpenes?

If you’ve spent any time engaging with the CBD boom then you’ve likely encountered the word ‘terpenes’. While knowing exactly what a terpene is isn’t particularly commonplace, they are extremely common. In fact, you’ve probably encountered them today.

The sweet scent of an orange, the fresh, relaxing fragrance of a pine forest, or the spicy, stinging aroma of freshly ground black pepper. Terpenes are the compounds responsible for all these odours, and a great deal more. 

A family of organic, aromatic compounds that are predominantly produced by plants, terpenes typically have strong, distinctive scents. These scents affect the behaviour of animals and birds that come into contact with the plant. Either deterring animals that might want to eat the plant or attracting pollinating insects.

Terpenes in CBD

Cannabis sativa L. is no exception to its brothers and sisters in the plant kingdom. Its distinctive smell attributable to the 100 or so terpenes that it produces. It’s thought the terpene profiles of different strains of Cannabis Sativa are responsible for the characteristic odour from each strain. 

How are terpenes important to your CBD though? Well, some CBD products, including Broad Spectrum Dragonfly CBD Oil, retain many of the naturally occurring terpenes found in the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. They provide the Broad Spectrum CBD Oil with a more distinct flavour. Whilst leaving terpenes in the mix ensures that it retains more of the Cannabis Sativa L. plant’s natural goodness. 

Meet the Family

While there are a huge variety of terpenes present in the Cannabis Sativa L. plant, we want to introduce you to some of the more important ones:

Falling mango on a white background, relating to the terpene myrcene found in CBD.

Myrcene

The most abundant terpene found in the Cannabis plant, with a Swiss study from 1997 suggesting it may comprise up to 50% of the terpene content in a given strain of Cannabis Sativa L. Myrcene’s is often described as having an earthy, fruity, clove-like aroma and is found in a huge variety of different plants, ranging from the fruit of the mango tree to wild thyme.

Two slices of lemon and a whole lemon sitting on a white background, relating to the terpene limonene found in CBD.

Limonene

As the name indicates, limonene is the terpene found in many varieties of citrus fruit. These range from lemons (surprise surprise) to grapefruits. It’s also abundant in many different strains of Cannabis Sativa and those sold for recreational purposes in the USA. So, it gave rise to a variety of flowery names: lemon haze, lemon kush, orange kush, etc. Of course, CBD is made from strains of Cannabis Sativa that contain less than 0.2% THC. You can still find limonene in these strains and it lends its characteristic aroma to Broad Spectrum Dragonfly CBD Oil.

Cloves, both whole and ground, on a white background, relating to the terpene Caryophyllene found in CBD.

Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene is unique in the world of terpenes in as far as it can often exhibit the same chemical behaviour as many cannabinoids. This terpene gives black pepper its distinct spicy aroma and can be found in spices like cinnamon, clove and oregano. At Dragonfly CBD, we have a fondness for caryophyllene, as it’s the most abundant terpene found in our CBD.

Hops on a white background, relating to the terpene Humulene found in CBD.

Humulene

If you’ve ever visited a brewery then you’ll know exactly what humulene smells like. It is responsible for the floral, herbal fragrance given off by hops and is abundant in cannabis, which explains the similarity between the two smells. A very close relative of caryophyllene, humulene is found in similar sources, including plants like sage and tobacco.

Our Fragrant Friends

As you can see, terpenes play a crucial role in both the life of plants and your nose’s day to day experience. See which ones your nose can pick out next time you’re sampling Broad Spectrum CBD Oils.

More to explore

What are Flavonoids?

Flavonoids are responsible for the diverse range of colours we experience in all fruits and vegetables. They are the largest group of phytonutrients, with over 6,000 types.

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