What are Terpenes?

What are Terpenes?

Of all the questions we are asked regularly there is one that is starting to grow in its frequency – what are Terpenes?

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What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are found everywhere in nature. Named aromatic compounds by science, these molecules fill our nose and bind to smell receptors. This information travels to the brain and we decode it into what we call smell.

In a sense (no pun intended), they are like the ‘farts’ of the plant kingdom. One nasal waft of certain odours and we immediately know who delt it.

Cannabis and hemp, for example, are no exception. These plants contain large quantities of terpenes and give the plant its distinctive smell.

From blueberry to pine tree’s, lemon to pepper we all know an odour when we detect it. And it all comes from terpenes

So what are terpenes needed for aside from making a smell some love, some hate?

what are terpenes love and hate
Some odours make us wrench while others can be irresistible…

What are Terpenes good for?

Let’s take a quick look at what terpenes are doing for us. Many scientists have found that these molecules may have a profound effect on certain systems in the human body.

In cannabis/human interaction, it is cannabinoids such as CBD and THC which activate the CB2 and CB1 receptors. These ‘receptors’ are found at the end of nerve cells, where they communicate.

This results in a vast array of positive effects on the endocannabinoid system.

Scientists have found that certain flavonoids have a similar impact on these vital bodily systems. The fact that beta-caryophyllene activates the CB2 receptors just like cannabinoids do. Just displays just how powerful these tiny molecules are.

what are terpenes found in

What are the Terpenes main interactions?

The science surrounding what are terpenes doing for us is still in its infancy. What we do know is that they have a powerful and noticeable effect on biological processes.

They have been observed to affect and interact with the bodies endocannabinoid and nervous systems. These discoveries may shed some light on the mystery of Aromatherapy and why it works.

It has also been noted that terpenes may assist with the power and force of the entourage effect. When in symbiosis with a whole plant extracted oil – you need everything not just the cannabinoids!

In hemp and cannabis plants, these oily compounds are to be found in the same place as CBD and THC. The trichomes.

You may also wonder what are terpenes functions within the plants themselves. These compounds act as natural insect repellors as well as protection from high heat and UV rays.

The most exciting side to terpenes has to be that one can now ‘design’ cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Tailoring treatments to your own specific needs. Choosing the correct cannabinoid and terpene combination will be the next revolution in CBD oils. what are the different terpenes

What are the most common Terpenes?

Let’s look at what are terpenes that occur most commonly, where they are found and their properties.


Alpha-Pinene Found in pine cones, cannabis sativa, and sage. Pinene is the most commonly found terpene in the natural world. It is the terpene responsible for giving pine tree’s, pine oil etc their distinctive piney odour. Pinene has been observed to have some incredible benefits.


Beta-caryophyllene Found in cloves, cannabis and hemp, rosemary, and black pepper. Just like cannabinoids such as cannabidiol, this terpene activates the CB2 receptor and all the incredible effects that result. It’s molecular structure is known as cyclobutane ring which is incredibly rare in nature. Some studies have found this terpene to possess strong anxiolytic properties.


Limonene Found in lemons, oranges, and anything citrus. It has a very potent odour, usually a  nice one on the nostrils too. Used primarily in food flavouring there is also a huge industry adding it to cleaning products. One of limonene’s properties appears to be a calming and relaxing effect, a powerful stress reliever.


Myrcene Found in Mango, lemongrass, and hops. Rarely found in great quantity in the plant kingdom, Myrcene has been produced artificially in the past. This terpene is used most commonly in the fragrance industry due to its pleasant odour. Myrcene is said to have an effect on pain and insomnia.


Linalool Found in cinnamon and lavender with a floral spicy odour. It is found in 60-80% of fragranced hygiene products, shampoos, and lotions. Vitamin E has also been successfully extracted from linalool. It is said to have a slight calming and anxiolytic effect.

What are Terpenes boiling points? 

Some people vaporise their CBD oils and their plant material. In this case it is vitally important to know the boiling points so that you do not burn off the precious terpenes.

Limonene – Boiling point: 176°C (349°F)

Pinene – Boiling point: 155°C (311°F)

Mycrene – Boiling point: 168°C (334°F)

Linalool – Boiling point: 198°C (388°F)

Caryophyllene – Boiling point: 160°C (320°F)

Now you know Terpenes, heard of Flavonoids?

There are also compounds found in hemp and nature known as Flavonoids. They have their own unique properties too. Click here to find out about Flavonoids.

Also of interest on the same topic and just as compelling, the Endocannabinoid system and the Entourage effect.

You can find terpenes in many products on the CBD market today. Some products such as CBD isolate may contain terpenes but they tend to be added after the oil is made. Check out our guide on picking the best CBD oil in 2019.

If you want the full entourage effect and the full potency and power of a real CBD oil. You need a whole plant extract with everything that comes from the plant, not just the cannabinoids.

Canaxen products are made from legal, high CBD cannabis Sativa/hemp plants. They are whole-plant extracted over time – not just CO2. They also contain all of the amazing properties and components of the incredible plant!