If you are curious about CBD and do about 5 minutes of research on the subject, you will discover ‘the entourage effect.’ This term is all the rage in those who want to look like they know more than others about CBD. ‘Full plant’ or ‘full spectrum’ are also hot phrases right now in the CBD community. They relate to one another in that a ‘full plant’ or ‘full spectrum’ extract is responsible for creating ‘the entourage effect’ resulting in an increase in benefits. This argument gets oversimplified in memes and captions on Instagram, but there is truth to this belief, especially if you are buying the extract from a marijuana dispensary. (For more on this check out this article.)
The Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is said to be the interaction of all the components of cannabis working together to benefit the user. Many don’t mention the role terpenes play in this phenomenon. Famous cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo raises the question that terpenes are the neglected entourage compounds.
According to Russo, ‘terpenoids are essential oil compounds previously conceived as the quintessential fifth element, ‘life force’ or spirit, and form the largest group of plant chemicals.’ All plants contain terpenes. Over 200 have been identified in cannabis. Terpenes function as a ‘photochemical polymorphism’ in plants, meaning they can serve different functions to protect the plant from threats. For instance, limonene and pinene in flowers act as repellent to insects, while lower fan leaves express higher concentrations of bitter sesquiterpenoids (type of terpene) that act as anti-feedants for grazing animals (Russo, 2011).
Sense of Smell
Smell is a crucial component to the evolution of plants. But can a terpenes’ scent benefit humans? Does smell affect us enough to utilize medicinally? Surprisingly enough, millions of dollars are being spent on scent marketing tactics. The International Flavors & Fragrances argue that pleasure and even a muscle-relaxing effect can be derived from a delightful aroma. In a 2005 study, the IFF found that a citrus aroma was significantly more effective in reducing stress induced muscle tension in the shoulder than vanilla.
Ingesting terpenes has been used for thousands of years, dating back to 2800 BC, the Chinese used essential oils to relieve pain and help with respiratory issues. Ancient Egyptians used oil extractions to embalm their royalty (Potter, 2019). In present day, scientists have identified terpenes that have the potential to be uses medicinally.
One of the most abundant cannabis terpenes, also found in citrus. If you have ever smelt the strain lemon haze, limonene is reason for the distinct fresh citrus scent. We use limonene in our tinctures because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-anxiety qualities. The terpene has also shown to reduce cell migration (birth and collection of new cells, cytokine production, and protein extravasation) which creates inflammatory responses in the body (Potter, 2019). Limonene is also utilized in our daily repairing lotion. Combined with anandamide producing CBD, limonene helps hydrate, repair, and protect dry or damaged skin.
Another common cannabis terpene featured in our oils, also found in lavender. Linalool has a floral scent reminiscent of spring flowers. Like limonene, linalool has anti-inflammatory properties. It also possesses sedative and anti-anxiety effects. We infuse our Relax oil with linalool to give users a viable alternative to synthetic, addictive stress relieving drugs.
Pinene, as you may have guessed, is found in pine trees and is responsible for their distinct smell. This terpene is unique in that it has been found to be a bronchodilator, meaning it can widen the air passages of the lungs. If you have ever walked into a forest, especially in the morning, and felt like your breathing has magically improved, you actually have pinene to thank. Our sleep oil, Hit the Hay, features a mix of CBD, melatonin, pinene, and valerian to enhance the user’s quality of sleep. Pinene plays a major role in this blend because of its ability to open the user’s airways while sleeping.
Terpenes have been a huge part of natural medicine without anyone really knowing they exist. Cannabis has brought them into light, but I feel like we are only seeing the beginnings of their medicinal application. Like Dr. Russo suggests in Taming THC, I believe that terpenes play a major role in the entourage effect and need to be a bigger part of the CBD movement.
Our Terpene Rich Products
Potter, B. A. (2019). The Magic in Cannabis
Janikian, M. (2018, August). 10 Most Common Terpenes. Retrieved at https://www.rosintech.com/10-most-common-terpenes/
Russo, E. B. (2011, August). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. Retrieved at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/
Warrenburg, S. (2005, January). Effects of Fragrance on Emotions: Moods and Physiology. Retrieved at https://academic.oup.com/chemse/article/30/suppl_1/i248/270387