What Are Terpenes Used For?

What Are Terpenes Used For?

People who use cannabis wellness products are seeking two things from their cannabis: cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabinoids like CBD receive a wealth of attention for their wellness-promoting benefits. Terpenes are another essential part of that equation. Most people don’t realize how often they use or encounter terpenes in their everyday lives. 

What Is a Terpene?

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that come from plants. A plant’s terpenes are responsible for giving it its unique flavor or aroma. In many ways, terpenes are nature’s perfume. Unlike perfume, terpenes boast benefits above and beyond, creating a pleasing aroma. 

Plants use terpenes to send messages to their environment, similar to how mammals use pheromones to send signals. A plant’s terpenes can draw the attention of pollinator insects that will help the plant thrive and reproduce in the wild. Some terpenes repel a plant’s natural predators, helping to keep that plant safe in the wild. 

Terpenes contribute to the overall health of the plant. In addition to fragrance cues, some terpenes have antibacterial or antifungal properties that help to protect the plant against certain conditions naturally. 

Natural Sources of Terpenes

Cannabis contains more than 120 different terpenes, and each strain of cannabis has a unique terpene profile. These profiles are the primary factor that determines the differences between each strain. This includes users reporting that different terpene balances produce various effects. 

If you’re interested in the potential benefits of terpenes but uncomfortable with the idea of ingesting cannabis, you have a wealth of other options. Although most other plants do not contain the vast wealth of different terpenes that cannabis contains, every plant has at least some terpenes.

Citrus fruits get their energizing aroma from a terpene called limonene. The soothing fragrance of lavender comes from linalool. 

The beautiful floral aroma of geranium flowers comes from geraniol. The earthy autumnal aroma of pine needles and pine trees comes from pinene. Myrcene produces the spicy aroma of black pepper and cloves, and humulene is the source of the fragrance of the hops used to make beer. 

Terpenes in Aromatherapy

Terpenes have been used in aromatherapy for thousands of years. The terpenes are the compounds responsible for producing the fragrances people use to change their moods or inspire creativity.

If you use aromatherapy products like diffusers or rollerballs, you’ve been enjoying the benefits of terpenes every time you unwind. 

Aromatherapy is a widely supported complementary medicine and wellness practice. When you breathe in certain aromas, your olfactory system sends messages to your limbic system that can work to influence your emotions. 

While research is limited, most findings seem to suggest that lavender (and its dominant terpene linalool) is among the most valuable terpenes for aromatherapeutic purposes. 

For others, aromatherapy is a more personalized experience. Many people discover how certain essential oils make them feel and use them in ways they find personally beneficial. 

Rose and jasmine essential oil may make people feel more confident. Citrus and mint essential oils make some people feel energized or stimulated. 

Terpenes in the Culinary World

Terpenes with firm profiles affect the flavor and aroma of a dish. You may see a dish described as “fragrant,” which is due to the terpene content of the herbs used to prepare it. 

Lemongrass is an essential staple in many Asian dishes, and lemongrass is a powerhouse of terpenes. It lends its fruity, earthy, spicy aroma and flavor to your pad Thai and Vietnamese curry. 

Ingredients like lemongrass may have become culinary staples due to its terpenes’ antibacterial, antimicrobial effects. Before the advent of refrigeration, terpene-rich herbs and salt were used to preserve foods. This practice may have been born of necessity but carried on as a tradition. 

Terpenes As Flavorings and Fragrances

Terpenes are commonly used to add fragrance to many household products. If you read the ingredients list of scented hand soap, you’re likely to find limonene, linalool, or geraniol towards the end of the ingredients list. 

They’re also added to laundry soap, fabric softeners, air fresheners, and even some natural spray cleaners to leave a pleasant aroma after the products have performed their function. 

Terpenes are often used as natural flavor enhancers in many food products. Limonene terpenes make things taste like orange, grapefruit, or lemon. 

While terpenes are generally introduced by including a whole ingredient, it isn’t unusual for food manufacturers to use isolated terpenes or ingredient concentrates on enhancing a flavor profile. 

Medicinal Uses of Terpenes

Terpenes are sometimes added to topical products to impart potential anti-inflammatory or antibacterial properties. Lavender, clove, thyme, oregano, and sage are naturally rich in terpenes that exhibit these properties. They’re common additions to natural or alternative skincare products designed to soothe inflammatory conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema.

Although more research is necessary to determine how effective these terpenes are at managing skin conditions, their inclusion in products that also utilize proven ingredients seems to be useful to many people. 

Cyclic Terpene Assembly

Peels use a proprietary process called cyclic terpene assembly to convert the terpenes that naturally occur in orange peels into a bioidentical form of CBD. We combine terpenes with a naturally occurring substance called olivetol, often found in lichen and moss. 

Peels offers all the benefits of CBD without any psychoactive effects. It’s safe for athletes to use, and regular ingestion can’t cause anomalies on a drug test.

CBD promotes better sleep, supports athletic recovery, relieves stress, and boosts mental clarity. You can use your CBD in conjunction with the aromatherapeutic benefits of soothing terpenes for a few meditative moments of peace each day.

Using Terpenes for Your Wellness

There are many ways terpenes can become a part of your wellness ritual. Peels CBD is derived from terpenes. Use a few drops every day alongside your aromatherapy ritual to keep yourself calm and reduce tension. 

 

Sources:

Aromatherapy: Is it worthwhile? | Mayo Clinic

Herbs and spices as antioxidants for food preservation | Science Direct

The antibacterial and antifungal activity of six essential oils and their cyto / genotoxicity to human HEL 12469 cells | Scientific Reports