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Are Terpenes Water Soluble?

Are Terpenes Water Soluble?

As cannabinoids and plant-based wellness have become increasingly popular, people are discovering new uses and potential benefits from other beneficial plant derivatives. Terpenes are enjoying a moment in the spotlight for their versatility, aromatherapeutic properties, and soothing properties. 

Researchers are still discovering potential applications for terpenes, but in the meantime, they’re generally recognized as safe. People enjoy adding terpenes to their wellness routines, but it isn’t always apparent how to do that. 

Before you add a few drops of your favorite terpene to your water or tea, hit the pause button. It probably won’t work out the way you want it to. 

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that occur naturally in almost every plant. Terpenes are widely associated with cannabis because cannabis has an exceptionally high concentration of terpenes, but terpenes can come from millions of different sources. 

Terpenes are oils that plants use to send signals and communicate. They attract pollinators while deterring pests and predators. They can also help to protect plants from harmful bacteria that may cause disease. 

Why Do People Use Terpenes?

Terpenes have powerful scents and flavors, which is the primary source of their appeal to people. They’re valuable aromatherapeutic tools. Essential oils contain the terpenes of the plants they’re extracted from.

Aromatherapy is a valuable form of complementary medicine and acts as a useful relaxation aid. When you smell a plant’s terpenes, it sends messages throughout your olfactory system. Your olfactory system communicates with your limbic system, which regulates and influences your emotions. 

That’s why smells make you feel a particular way. Lavender is the perfect example. It’s soothing, relaxing, and it might make some people feel sleepy. Spas and similar establishments scent their products (or their businesses) with lavender because they want people to experience that profound sense of relaxation when they walk in. 

Terpenes are a non-invasive way to modify the way you feel. When used in conjunction with proper mental or physical healthcare, they may be an effective tool for helping patients find relief. 

Researchers are currently examining terpenes to assess other potential benefits. Some terpenes may have valuable natural properties that can be used to make natural cleaning or sanitizing products.

How Are Terpenes Extracted?

Terpenes can be extracted from plants in several ways. Most extraction processes require some type of solvent. Food-grade ethanol and CO2 are most commonly used to extract terpenes from plants for wellness products. 

The plant material is placed into a special multi-chambered machine that extracts the terpenes into the solvent and then removes the solvent from the extract, leaving the terpene oils behind. 

Are Terpenes Water Soluble?

Terpenes are an oil. Water and oil don’t mix. Water is homogeneous. “Homo” means the same. Water attaches to other water, and oil does not contain water. It’s made of fatty acids and waxes. It also has a different density from water. Oil is hydrophobic, meaning that it naturally repels water. 

When you drop the oil into water, the water molecules respond by clinging close together. The only thing the oil can bond with is itself. Vigorously shaking oil and water together may give the temporary appearance that they’ve bonded together, but they will quickly separate. The oil will float to the top, and the two will never fully combine. 

Oils like terpenes can only be dissolved into ethanol, which is why ethanol is commonly used during the extraction process. 

While you can’t easily add terpenes to your food or drinks, there are still plenty of other ways you can use terpenes. 

How To Use Terpenes

It isn’t necessarily inconvenient that terpenes aren’t water-soluble. If you’re using them for aromatherapeutic purposes, you’ll have better results smelling them than you will eating them.

In An Aromatherapy Diffuser

Ultrasonic aromatherapy diffusers are a must-have for anyone who uses aromatherapy at home. Ultrasonic diffusers sound like a complicated piece of technology, but they’re actually simple, straightforward, and affordable. 

You fill the chamber of an ultrasonic diffuser with water and place a few drops of essential oil or terpene oil on top. The two don’t mix, and that’s the point. The ultrasonic diffuser uses tiny, silent vibrations to break apart the water molecules and release them into the air. As they evaporate, they rise through the oil and carry some of it with them on the way out. 

Place an aromatherapy diffuser on your desk or your bedside table. Keep one near any area of your home where you meditate or relax. Just be mindful of the fact that they’re releasing water into the air. Don’t keep them too close to anything that can’t or shouldn’t get wet. 

To Make Your Own Sprays or Roll-Ons

You can make terpene sprays to fragrance your home (or your pillows or yoga mat) with terpenes. Terpene roll-ons make it easier to apply terpenes to your wrist, making them easier to smell throughout the day. 

Combine terpenes in a spray bottle or a roll-on tube with isopropyl alcohol. The isopropyl alcohol will quickly evaporate and leave behind the terpenes after evenly dispersing them throughout a room or onto your skin. You can also spray your terpenes onto a cotton pad to carry with you if you’d prefer not to use them directly on your body.


Terpenes derived from citrus can be used to create bioidentical CBD molecules. This isn’t something you can do at home, but don’t worry. Peels already did it for you. 

Peels Is Made of Terpenes

Orange peels contain many terpenes as cannabis plants, but they don’t have any THC. Peels use a process called cyclic terpene assembly to convert the terpenes of orange peels into bioidentical CBD. 

It works the same way that CBD derived from cannabis would, but without the presence of THC. If you’re already using terpenes as a part of your wellness ritual, why not experience the benefits of terpene-derived CBD?



Plant terpenes: defense responses, phylogenetic analysis, regulation, and clinical applications | National Institutes of Health

Aromatherapy: Is it worthwhile? | Mayo Clinic

Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work? | Hopkins Medicine

The hydrophobic effect Oil and water do not mix |