What Are Terpenes in CBD?
Terpenes are a class of organic compounds (they are composed primarily of carbon). It’s important to note that terpenes are inherently different to ‘terpenoids’, which are chemically different molecules.
There is a lot of interest regarding including them in Cannabis-based products because of a phenomenon referred to as the ‘entourage effect’.
The entourage effect is a synergistic relationship between all the compounds in the Cannabis plant, where the effect of one molecule is enhanced by the presence of others. It can be thought of as an example of the phrase, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. The entourage effect is of great interest in both the supplement and medical communities for Cannabis, as it may prove an easy method to make Cannabis-based products more effective at their stated uses; pain relief cream may be more efficacious simply by including other chemicals from the plant. This concept doesn’t just apply to cannabinoids, as terpenes are proving to be of interest to the scientific community too (Blasco-Benito et al. 2018).
Ignoring terpenoids, there are at least 10 different chemical forms that terpenes can take. The name of each type depends on the number of isoprene units it contains, which are a specific type of hydrocarbon molecule. In the same way that sugars like maltose and sucrose are made up of different numbers of monosaccharides, so terpenes are made up of different numbers of isoprenes.
They are named accordingly; Monoterpenes have two, Diterpenes four, Triterpenes have six etc.