What are Terpenes?* 

By Nicholas Huminski, High Falls Hemp NY

Essential oils contain terpenes which all plants create.  They are a highly aromatic and diverse class of organic hydrocarbon compounds which determine many different factors in plants and even some insects and animals.

Terpenes define the smell and flavor of a particular cultivar even effecting its euphoric properties when combined with phytocannabinoids such as Cannabidiol (CBD). Terpenes are secreted from the same glands that produce Phytocannabinoids and are part of what we in the industry refer to as, “The Entourage Effect”.

Entourage Effect and Terpenes

The Entourage Effect is described as different components of plant chemicals that provide effects which differ from a single isolated compound such as CBD or THC. Their levels and types in the genesis Cannabis Sativa L vary widely which is part of the explanation of why one ‘strain’/cultivar might produce a different effect from another.  This Entourage Effect is the notion that the phytocomplex (the group of chemicals in the plant) are more effective in unison rather than used in isolation.

Terpenes are seen as playing the second most important role in the Entourage effect. When we are talking entourage effect think of the operating functions of a vehicle. Cannabinoids such as THC or in this case CBD act as the engine which will get you moving. Terpenes are the steering wheel to that vehicle steering you in the direction of where you want to end up.

Breaking down Terpenes

There are nearly 20,000 known terpenes in existence and the cannabis plant has over 100 of them.  Many of the terpenes found in the cannabis plant are also found in other places in nature.  However, the terpenes in the cannabis plant are present in the highest concentrations.  Here are a few of the MVP’s of terpenes found in cannabis:

  • Limonene – Provides a strong citrus aroma in lemons, oranges, grapefruits, limes, and other citruses. It is the second most common terpene found in nature and the third most common found in cannabis sativa L. (for educational purposes only*) Limonene has the potential to elevate mood, relieve stress, possesses antifungal/antibacterial properties and recently has been shown to improve the absorption (Bioavailability) of other terpenes via skin, mucous membranes, and digestive tract.


  • Myrcene – Many plants contain Myrcene, sometimes in substantial amounts such as Lemon grass, and mangos. Other plant varieties in which Myrcene is found are Hops, West Indian bay leaf, houttuynia, myrcia and cardamom. The largest monoterpene fraction found in Humulus Lupulus (hops) is Beta-Myrcene. Myrcene is known for its’ ‘couch-lock’ and is also known for providing a joyful effect in addition to overall feeling relaxed.  Myrcene has been shown promising with anti-inflammatory properties as well as potentially preventing insomnia, discomfort, and is a muscle relaxant.


  • Humulene – Also known as Alpha-Humulene or alpha-caryophyllene is a monocyclic sesquiterpene. Humlene is commonly found in Hops, sage, and ginseng. Effects of Humulene include analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and appetite suppression. It is also a ring-opened isomer of Beta-caryophyllene (which notable lacks CB2 activity).


  • Beta-caryophyllene – is a natural bicyclic sesquiterpene that is found in plants such as clove, rosemary, and hops.  Studies state effects are ” pain relieving, short and long term brain health”.

Breaking down Terpenes and Terpenoids 

Terpenes are naturally occurring hydrocarbons based on combinations of the isoprene unit.  Terpenoids, are related compounds that include oxygen functionality or some rearrangement.  However, the two terms are often used interchangeably.

There are also hemiterpenes, monoterpene, and sesquiterpenes.

  • Hemiterpenes are derived from just one Isoprene unit
  • Monoterpenes – are built by two isoprenes
  • Sesquiterpenes – are built by three

There are many debates within the cannabis and CBD industry in reference to these three terpenes as the distinguishing difference in sativas versus indicas.

CBD Terpene Tinctures

You are probably thinking to yourself, “OK, this is interesting but what does this have to do with me?”  While it may not seem useful to you, here’s why it should matter.

CBD Terpene Tinctures may have some health benefits.  If you’ve ever gotten a massage with scented oils or taken a bath with lavender, or used aromatherapy products, then terpenes matter to you.  They affect your mood, can alter your mental state, and help you to relax and remain calm.  Topically applied, terpenes may also have some benefits by helping to relieve discomfort in muscles and joints.

Can CBD Terpenes Improve My Sex Life?

There are also some recent stories, anecdotally, of how Terpenes may work for some in spicing up ones’ sex life.  Whether it’s a low libido, age-related lubrication issues, or deeper desire and engagement, some individuals find that using CBD Terpene Tinctures enhances their sexual experience.

There are some studies showing the benefits of terpenes and your health as a holistic alternative.  These tinctures may have some benefits for your health and well-being.

Do all CBD products have Terpenes?

Not all CBD products have terpenes.  Depending on the strain of CBD hemp, if it’s an isolate, or even how the CBD is extracted from hemp, it may not have terpenes incorporated.  However, when these products are used they may provide greater impact with enhanced results, and therefore may be a superior product.  

What we Know

There is very little scientific evidence to support the potential benefits of these tinctures, so much of what we know today is anecdotal.  Until more concrete studies are done, we’ll have to rely on our own unique experiences.

High Falls Hemp NY has a CBD Terpene Tincture that is high potency, premium quality, triple lab tested and supported by verified reviews.  They offer a 30-day risk-free trial and all their products are grown in the USA on their farm in High Falls, NY.  They control the whole process from the seeds on their farm to the product in your hands.

*UPG NOTE:  For sources on this article on CBD Terpenes please contact the contributing author, Nicholas Huminski, High Falls Hemp NY



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