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What Are Terpenes and Terpenoids?


Terpenes and terpenoids are commonly spoken about in the CBD community.

This is because the cannabis plant is especially abundant in terpenes – they give the plant its unique scents, flavours, and aromas. 

The two words ‘terpene’ and ‘terpenoid’ are often used interchangeably, but they do actually have slightly different meanings.

The main difference here is:

  • Terpenes are special hydrocarbons found in living plants.
  • Terpenoids are what the terpenes become after that plant is dried out or cured – this is what you would find in CBD products. 

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that can be found in many plants. Think of lavender, pine, or rosemary, for example – the fragrances emitted by these plants are actually created by natural combinations of plant terpenes. 

In some plants, terpenes can attract pollinators, like bees, or repel predators such as harmful insects. For others, terpenes can help the plant to recover from damage or even keep away germs and infection. For these reasons, terpenes are absolutely vital for our Earth. 

It’s widely thought that plant derived terpenes could also provide some powerful natural benefits for humans as well. 

What Are Hemp Terpenes?

Terpenes from hemp are the most commonly talked about terpenes because cannabis plants contain such high concentrations of them. (‘Cannabis’ is the umbrella name for all hemp and marijuana plants). 

Hemp terpenes are what give different strains of cannabis their own unique smells and flavours. 

The hemp plant contains special compounds called cannabinoids – the most profound ones being CBD and THC. These cannabinoids can interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body which is thought to provide many beneficial effects. This is why many people use CBD products for their health and wellbeing. 

Interestingly, it’s also thought that terpenoids may be able to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to provide various effects and benefits. It’s thought that using CBD with terpenes can enhance the effects of the CBD on our body – this is known as the entourage effect.

What Are Terpenes Used For?

Terpenes or terpenoids are often used as fragrances or flavours in perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products, or food and drinks. 

They are also often used in aromatherapy since terpenes form the basis of many essential oils. The premise with aromatherapy is that inhaling certain terpene aromas can cause you to feel calmer, happier, sleepier, etc. 

Different types of terpenes are thought to have different beneficial properties, for example… 


This is what creates the citrusy smell found in lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits.

  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Antioxidant 
  • Antiviral 
  • Antidiabetic 
  • Anticancer 


This is what creates the fresh scent in plants such as pine, rosemary, or basil. 

  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • May improve breathing
  • May improve mood 


This is what creates the distinct and calming aroma of lavender. 

  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Antimicrobial 
  • Neuroprotective 
  • Antidepressant 
  • Anticancer 
  • Antianxiety 

These are just a few of the many plant terpenes found in our world. Others include humulene, beta-caryophyllene, and myrcene. 

What Are Terpenes in CBD Oil?

Terpenes are naturally found in the flower and bud of cannabis plants. When we pick and dry the hemp plants in order to extract the CBD, these terpenes oxidise and turn into terpenoids.

Does CBD have terpenes? Not always. Sometimes, manufacturers will leave these natural terpenoids in the extract. Other times, they will be removed to create a pure CBD isolate. And sometimes, terpenoids can be artificially added into the CBD extract later on in order to provide more benefits. 

You can find all of the terpenes listed in the previous section in the cannabis plant – the beneficial effects that we described explain why many people prefer using CBD products that contain terpenoids. 

Plus, a combination of terpenes and CBD can create the famous entourage effect. This occurs when the synergistic combination of CBD, other cannabinoids, and terpenoids all work together to enhance the overall benefits of the CBD product. This may help to promote better pain relief, anti-inflammation, anxiety relief, and more. 

At Honest Hemp, our CBD oils are made with a superior broad-spectrum CBD extract that contains an abundance of natural terpenoids from the hemp plant. 


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