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Life Force Blog

Terpenes #101

Published on 12th March 2019

Ever wondered what’s behind the distinct aroma found in your CBD and hemp oil? It’s all down to some fascinating molecules called terpenes, and we at Spirit of Hemp are massive fans. Research shows terpenes have therapeutic actions in their own rights, so when combined with CBD, they pack a pretty powerful, health-boosting punch. That’s why we’re dedicating this Terpenes #101 blog post to the most abundantly found terpenes in our Spirit of Hemp Full Spectrum CBD oils

What are Terpenes?

If you have ever had an aromatherapy massage, you’ll have noticed how the therapist mixes up a unique selection of essential oils designed to calm your mind and boost vitality. We’re talking lavender, neroli, eucalyptus, clove, rosemary; the list goes on and on. All these essential oils contain terpenes which are responsible for their unique aromas. In lavender you’ll find linalool, in neroli, limonene, eucalyptus is abundant in pinene, and clove, beta-caryophyllene. And guess what, these terpenes can all be found in hemp. 

Plants use terpenes as a way of repelling insects. However, in what seems to be an amazing miracle of nature, substances that are poison to creepy crawlies, are medicine to humans. But don’t just take our word for it. Many key terpenes have been studied by scientists and show therapeutic potential for everything from depression, pain, the immune system, disturbed sleep, and cancer.  

Terpenes and Hemp

There are approximately 200 terpenes in hemp and cannabis, and like cannabinoids, they are found in the sticky trichomes located in hemp’s buds and flowers. 

In his paper, Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects, American neuroscientist and cannabinoid researcher, Ethan Russo, suggests terpenes play a key role in maximising the therapeutic action of the cannabis plant. This is because of the entourage effect - a special synergy between all the naturally occurring compounds in hemp - whereby terpenes act as a supporting cast to the cannabinoid protagonists CBD and THC, potentiating their overall effect.  

When it comes to choosing CBD oil, it’s key to ensure the full terpene profile has been preserved, in order to benefit from the entourage effect. Unfortunately, during the extraction process, terpenes are often damaged even with Co2 extraction and thus the vast majority of  CBD oil available on the market today is likely to be missing up to 60% of it's original terpene profile. 

That’s why at Spirit of Hemp, we reintroduce a full compliment of organic hemp terpenes after extraction, creating our unique and high performing "Life Force" oil.

Now we have a basic grasp of the wonderful world of terpenes, it’s time then to take a whistle stop tour around the mostly abundantly found terpenes in hemp. 


The most abundant terpene in our Spirit of Hemp CBD oils, Myrcene makes up 22% of the total terpene content and adds the unmistakable earthy, spicy aroma. As well as hemp, aromatic plants like lemongrass, wild thyme, basil and hops boast high myrcene levels. Studies suggest myrcene may be both a pain reliever and a sedative, as well as increasing the penetration of cannabinoids in the brain by altering the blood brain barrier. 

Beta caryophyllene

Beta caryophyllene is a fascinating terpene found in leafy greens, black pepper, cloves, and of course, hemp. It is thought to mimic some of the mechanisms of cannabis, by activating the endocannabinoid CB2 receptor and causing an immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory effect.

Not only that, beta caryophyllene is a powerful antioxidant, so much so that one study concluded the terpene has “tremendous therapeutic potential in a multitude of diseases associated with inflammation and oxidative stress.”

But beta caryophyllene’s talents don’t end there. In preclinical trials, it has also been found to reduce anxiety and depression and bring about the death of cancer cells


Who doesn’t love the fresh, clean aroma of pine resin and conifers? The terpene, pinene, takes much of the credit, and thanks to its anti-microbial action, can be found in many detergents and cleaning products. Pinene is also a bronchodilator, meaning it helps to clear air passages and ease breathing. Not only that, pinene’s anti-inflammatory nature, could also make it helpful for asthma. This is great news for CBD oil users as pinene is also a key terpene in hemp. 


Smokey and woody in aroma, terpinolene is one of the few terpenes that doesn’t reduce pain or inflammation. Found in tea tree oil, apple, lilac and cumin, terpinolene is both antifungal and antibacterial, as well as being a sedative. Studies also suggest it may have some anti-tumoral effects, and be good for heart health by reducing bad cholesterol


Most of us are familiar with the calming effects of lavender oil, but did you know that lavender is also anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving. Linalool is the terpene that makes lavender such a versatile, therapeutic plant, and is also a key terpene in hemp. Linalool is also believed to reduce seizures in epilepsy by inhibiting the overfiring of the neurotransmitter, glutamate


Limonene, the terpene most associated with citrus fruit but also found in hemp, is another wonder terpene to be reckoned with. It’s thought limonene may dissolve cholesterol containing gallstones, and cause cancer cell death. Limonene is also anti-inflammatory with antifungal and antibacterial properties. 

How does it make you feel when you inhale a freshly picked lemon? Uplifted and invigorated, right. It just so happens that limonene has been studied on patients with clinical depression, who after regular exposure to citrus aromas, reported their mood improved.  


Humulene, found predominantly in hops, sage and ginseng, is anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving. Humulene may also have anti-cancer properties by causing reactive oxidative stress (ROS) which contributes to cancer cell death. Interestingly, this effect is strengthened when combined with beta-caryophellene, acting as the perfect illustration of the entourage effect. 


Ocimene, predominant in mint, parsley, basil, mangos, oregano and tarragon, is a sweet smelling terpene with hints of citrus. It’s suggested ocimene may be antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial, and a decongestant.


Hopefully by now, you’ll agree it makes a whole lot of sense to preserve the full terpene profile in our Spirit of Hemp Whole Plant CBD Oils, so feel free to stop by our online shop or talk to our ever attentive customer service team. However, if you’d like to take a deeper dive into terpenes, check out this Why Terpenes Matter article.