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Cannabinoids: Differences Between CBD vs CBG, CBDA, CBN, CBC, and CBDV
If you’ve just discovered the health benefits of hemp-derived products currently available on the market,, you might not realize that the world of cannabis is more than just about CBD.
Of course, CBD is one of the most important cannabinoids in the hemp plant. Its discovery has changed the way people perceive cannabis on a global scale in recent years. There’s a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the use of CBD for a wide range of health conditions. Studies point to CBD as an effective agent in the management of inflammation, nausea, seizures, anxiety, depression, pain, and sleeping difficulty — all without intoxication associated with THC.
But did you know that the hemp plant consists of more than two cannabinoids? In fact, there are over 100 compounds similar to CBD. Although they have similar properties, each of them has its unique benefits and produces synergistic effects when combined together.
In this article, we explain the differences between the six most-researched types of cannabinoids — CBD, CBDA, CBN, CBG, CBV, and CBDV — as well as the specific uses for each one.
Before We Begin: What Are Cannabinoids?
Although we all have endocannabinoid systems, meaning that we’re naturally predisposed for using cannabinoids, nobody is born a cannabis expert. If you’re new to CBD products, you might feel confused by all these abbreviations we’ve just used above.
So, before we dive deeper into the subject, let’s ask one simple question: what are cannabinoids?
First discovered and isolated by Israeli researchers in the 1950s, cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the resinous glands of the cannabis plants. These compounds are touted for their many therapeutic effects and are responsible for the wide range of medicinal effects of cannabis.
Each compound has unique properties and benefits. They also work synergistically together to help the body process cannabis more efficiently. Scientists refer to that synergy as “the entourage effect” — the reason why full-spectrum products are believed to be superior to isolate-based extracts.
To date, researchers have discovered more than 110 cannabinoids; more are likely to be found as they reveal the complex molecular structure of cannabis plants.
Classes of Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are broken down in the following subcategories:
- Major cannabinoids: Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Minor cannabinoids: Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabinodiol (CBDL)
- Other cannabinoids: Cannabielsoin (CBE), Cannabitriol (CBT), Cannabicyclol (CBL)
Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system, the prime regulatory network that is interconnected with other vital systems in our bodies. These molecules attach to the surface area of cells, where cannabinoid receptors are located. These receptors occur in different areas of the body. We distinguish two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2.
The effects of the cannabinoids depend on the area of the brain they bind to. For example, when they bind to the limbic system, they can affect memory, cognition, and psychomotor performance. These compounds can also affect the pleasure and reward area, and alter pain signaling to the brain.
Main Differences Between Cannabinoids
The core difference between the cannabinoids depends on how psychoactive they are. For example, CBD, CBD, and CBG cannot induce intoxication due to their molecular structure, whereas CBDL, CBN, THC, and other cannabinoids show different levels of psychoactivity.
The two most popular cannabinoids are CBD and THC. CBD has remarkable anti-anxiety properties and can also counter the mind-altering effects of THC. When THC is exposed to oxygen, it converts to CBN — a less psychoactive compound that weakens the intoxication from THC.
Sounds easy so far?
In the next section, we’ll dive into the details about CBD, CBDA, CBN, CBG, CBC, and CBDV.
How Does the Body Use Cannabinoids?
Each person responds to cannabinoid differently due to its complex built-in mechanism known as the endocannabinoid system. This important network is made up of receptors spread throughout the body, enabling the self-regulation of all biological processes.
Cannabinoid receptors occur in nearly every major organ system, from the brain and spinal cord to the gut. The highest concentrations of CB1 receptors are found in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are linked to the immune system cells.
In simple words, the endocannabinoid system helps our bodies maintain a stable and healthy internal environment.
When you introduce cannabinoids to your system, the cannabinoid receptors become able to affect essential body processes, including memory, appetite, pain, mood, neuroprotection, immune function, cognitive processes, fertility, body temperature, and more.
The specific effects of individual cannabinoids depend on how they interact with the endocannabinoid system. We’ll take a closer look at this interaction below.
What is CBD?
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, the second major cannabinoid in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, the signature cannabinoid in marijuana, CBD doesn’t produce intoxicating effects. That means you can use it for a wide range of health benefits without getting high, which makes it safe to use even before going to work or driving a car. CBD is also a highly versatile compound that can be infused into oils, gummies, capsules, and creams among many other formats to suit different needs.
CBD is also the best-researched cannabinoid to date, and the list of its applications as a potential treatment is continuously expanding.
Studies show that CBD can help in the management of:
- Daily physical discomfort
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety and stress-related problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Seizures and convulsion
- Skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and rashes
You might already be familiar with some of these health benefits, but did you know that there’s hardly any CBD in living hemp plants? Before it gets activated, CBD occurs in the form of its precursor — CBDA.
What is CBDA and why are many people adding raw hemp to their diet?
Continue reading to find out!
What is CBDA?
CBDA is better known as cannabidiolic acid, a cannabinoid secreted in the stems, leaves, and flowers of cannabis plants. When cannabis undergoes decarboxylation — the process of applying heat to activate specific cannabinoids — the acid is removed from CBDA, activating CBD. CBDA is considered the precursor to CBD because of that.
Although CBD and CBDA have similar chemical structures and effects, CBDA hasn’t been the subject of such extensive scientific research as CBD. So far, we have learned that CBDA is the primary inhibitor of the COX-2 enzyme within the endocannabinoid system. The said discovery has led to an investigation into the potential application of CBDA as a treatment for inflammation. Recent studies have also examined the efficacy of CBDA in treating nausea and certain types of cancer.
Last but not least, different consumption methods apply to CBD and CBDA. Since CBDA occurs in raw hemp plants, it’s commonly extracted by juicing the plant material. The juice can be added to foods and drinks or infused into raw extracts, such as live resins and tinctures.
What is CBN?
CBN stands for cannabinol, another compound within the cannabis plants. CBN was the first cannabinoid isolated and synthesized by scientists as a byproduct of THC’s degradation. When THC is exposed to heat or oxygen — or when the cannabis plant starts to age — it converts into CBN.
Despite being derived from THC, CBN is much less psychoactive. It won’t get you high in a way that THC does.
When it comes to the effects of CBN on the endocannabinoid system, they are less versatile than many other cannabinoids. However, CBN has been extensively studied as the potential aid for people with sleeping difficulty. Researchers have discovered that CBN is a powerful sedative, comparing its effects with common pharmaceuticals such as diazepam. Studies from animal models have shown that CBD can prolong sleep time; additional research suggests that this effect is enhanced when used along with THC.
Aside from its influence on sleep cycles, CBN has been studied as a possible stimulant for the growth of bone tissue. Research indicates that it may activate stem cells that are involved in the creation of new bone, making it potentially useful for bone degenerative disorders.
Additional studies have looked into the painkilling, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and anticonvulsant properties of CBN. However, health supplements based on CBN are not widely available at this time.
What is CBG?
CBG, short for cannabigerol, is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that offers a variety of promising therapeutic uses. CBG is the precursor to its more popular cousins, CBD and THC. Similar to CBDA, exposure to light and heat causes CBG to transform into these compounds. CBG can also accelerate the effects of other cannabinoids, hence its importance in creating the entourage effects.
The majority of cannabis strains contain little CBG, usually below 1%. However, that doesn’t mean this cannabinoid is less valuable than the aforementioned ones. Through interaction with both CB1 and CB2 receptors, it can naturally increase dopamine levels, supporting sleep, mood, and appetite. CBG can also modulate GABA uptake in the brain and inhibit serotonin receptors, both of which can lead to reduced anxiety and depression.
On top of that, CBG has been mentioned in the scientific literature as particularly effective for the following physiological symptoms:
- Cancer: According to a recent study, CBG can be used as an anti-cancer agent. It has the potential to block the receptors that are responsible for the growth of cancer cells. Scientists have reported inhibition of the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice that were administered with CBG, indicating a new alternative for the treatment of cancer patients.
- Glaucoma: CBG has been shown particularly effective at lowering the intraocular pressureassociated with glaucoma. Researchers explained those effects with the fact that endocannabinoid receptors are highly concentrated in the structures of the eye.
- MRSA: One European study revealed the antibiotic properties of CBG when applied topically for patients who suffer from MRSA — strains of bacteria that are resistant to many classes of antibiotics.
CBD has also been examined as a potential anti-inflammatory agent for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It can also slow down nerve cell degeneration, stimulate appetite, and improve bladder function.
What is CBC?
CBC translates to cannabichromene, a cannabinoid that was discovered more than 50 years ago. Similar to CBD and THC, CBC comes from CBDA when the acid is broken down by exposure to light or heat.
Like other CBD compounds, CBC is non-intoxicating. Although research on this cannabinoid is still in the early stages, scientists have already discovered several potential applications.
CBC binds most effectively with vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV), often referred to as the “third cannabinoid receptor” in the endocannabinoid system. It also interacts with transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1); both of these receptors modulate our perception of pain. This means that CBC may be used to alleviate pain similar to traditional painkillers such as NSAIDs but without their potentially harmful adverse effects.
CBC has been shown particularly effective in reducing inflammation in conditions like osteoarthritis, especially when combined with THC.
Moreover, other studies have pointed at CBC as a potential anti-cancer agent due to its ability to block the growth of cancer cells. Although there are not many studies in this field, the anti-inflammatory effects of CBC may also make it effective in managing skin breakouts and acne. Scientists believe that CBC could prevent sebaceous gland inflammation, which is the main trigger of many types of acne.
What is CBDV?
The last compound on our list is cannabinoids is cannabidivarin, often abbreviated to CBDV. On a molecular level, CBDV is almost identical to CBD, but as recent research suggests, its applications are very unique and could benefit people with neurological disorders.
Preliminary studies on animal models show that CBDV has great potential as the possible treatment of epilepsy and similar neurological conditions. It has remarkable anticonvulsant and antiepileptic properties, and scientists are speculating about its possible use in supporting patients with Parkinson’s disease, post-injury tremors, epilepsy, and other conditions where seizures may occur.
Not only does CBDV seem to reduce the duration of seizure attacks, but it also could work to prevent convulsions from occurring at all. GW Pharmaceuticals, a European cannabis company, is working to patent the use of CBDV for treating intractable forms of seizures.
Aside from potent anticonvulsant properties, CBDV may provide relief from nausea and vomiting, especially when they result from the side effects of chemotherapy. The cannabinoid has also been studied as an appetite suppressant, and as a treatment that could help people with Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis manage their symptoms.
How Do I Know Which Cannabinoid Works best?
With so many cannabinoids to choose from, there’s likely one to tackle nearly any problem. It’s no wonder that after reading about all these compounds, you may have questions regarding which one will work best for your individual situation.
If you want to narrow down your choices to find the right cannabinoid, start with identifying your symptoms. When it comes to many common ailments — including anxiety, pain, inflammation, sleep problems, and skin conditions — CBD is the most effective and readily available option. You can find it in a wide range of formats, from oils to gummies, pills, and topical products.
You can talk to your doctor about using the minor cannabinoids presented in this article if you’re considering them as a treatment option for an uncommon health concern. They may have access to valuable research that’s conducted every year on cannabinoid-based extracts and thus be able to provide you with professional guidance.
Experts in the field of cannabinoids argue that the best therapeutic effects can be achieved by combining all the valuable compounds from cannabis into one product. Such products are known as “full-spectrum” extracts and produce a unique synergy that scientists refer to as “the entourage effect.” The minor cannabinoids and terpenes in the plant surround the main active ingredients (CBD and THC), amplifying their therapeutic properties while modulating potentially unwanted effects.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Acqua Cannabis products are not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or medical condition.
Due to the lack of FDA regulations on the manufacturing and labeling of CBD, we recommend that you do your own research on CBD products. We also encourage you to read the lab reports and user reviews to get a bigger picture of the company you want to purchase from.
FAQ on Cannabinoid Differences
What is the difference between CBD, CBG, and CBN?
CBD, CBN, and CBG, are cannabinoids secreted within the resinous parts of the cannabis plant. However, their effects slightly differ. CBD and CBN are great to use for their calming effects to reduce stress and support healthy sleep. CBD, on the other hand, produces more of an invigorating effect when taken, which can have a positive effect on your energy, focus, motivation, and mood stability.
What are the benefits of CBG?
CBG offers a variety of benefits, from improved metabolism to mood enhancement and better pain management. CBG also helps with inflammation.
Can you take CBD and CBG together?
Yes, you can take these two cannabinoids together. When combined, CBD and CBG have more balanced effects on the body and mind, as CBD is usually calming and CBG can have more of an invigorating effect. If you feel sleepy when you take CBD, try taking CBG at the same time to keep that balance.
Does CBG help with anxiety?
Scientists believe that CBG can help with anxiety by activating different endocannabinoid receptors that are responsible for regulating our response to stress.
Final Notes on the Differences Between CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, and CBDV
Cannabis plants are very complex. There are over 400 compounds inside their stalks, leaves, and flowers, of which 100+ has been identified as cannabinoids with potential therapeutic applications.
Although the attention of modern medicine has been focused on CBD and THC so far, scientists are diving deeper into the chemical structure of hemp, exploring the world of minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other valuable molecules.
Each of the cannabinoids mentioned in this article offers its own unique set of health benefits. When combined together, they help the body process the major cannabinoids more efficiently, which is why full-spectrum extracts are considered superior to products based on single molecules.
Understanding the differences between various cannabinoids — and how they can work together to improve your health — unlocks their untapped potential, with ripe opportunities for personalized supplementation based on all-natural compounds.
Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs CBD Isolate: Difference Explained
When looking for CBD, you’ve probably noticed there are different cannabinoid spectrum options to choose from.
You can buy full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, or CBD isolates.
While these three types of products may sound similar, they’re actually worlds apart from each other.
So, what does each spectrum tell you about your CBD oil products and how are they different?
In this article, we’re going to explain this important difference and discuss the pros and cons of each CBD format.
Let’s have a brief overview of cannabinoids and why they matter for our health.
A Primer on Cannabinoids and Their Role in Our Well-Being
Cannabinoids are the natural phytochemicals found within the cannabis plant.
There are over 113 identified cannabinoids — with CBD and THC being the most thoroughly researched.
Why are cannabinoids so important for our well-being?
Because they interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex network of cannabinoid receptors and neurotransmitters located in the brain, central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and immune system.
The ECS controls a wide range of biological functions, such as memory, cognitive performance, pain perception, stress management, mood regulation, and immune response on top of many others.
In 1995, researchers found that cannabinoids like CBD and THC could benefit the body and brain in numerous ways.
Later, they discovered that each cannabinoid has a unique relationship with the endocannabinoid system.
For example, THC induces psychoactive effects linked to “getting high.”
CBD, on the other hand, is not intoxicating. In other words, it won’t make you high. In fact, it can even alter the psychoactive effects of THC. It delivers a range of health benefits, such as relief from stress or altered perception of pain.
At lower doses, CBD can be mildly stimulating, while higher amounts tend to bring sedative effects.
Other cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG) or cannabinol (CBN) have their own set of effects. The full collection of cannabinoids creates something known as the “cannabinoid spectrum.”
Hemp Extracts: What Makes Them Different?
All CBD products are extracted from the cannabis plant, using solvents like CO2.
During the extraction, all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids are stripped from the plant and dissolved in oil to make it easier to administer and store.
Depending on the cannabis strain used for the process, the cannabinoid profile of your CBD oil will differ.
For example, hemp extracts contain little to no THC— typically below 0.3% — so they are non-psychoactive, but they also boast high levels of CBD.
In contrast, some selectively bred marijuana strains may come with a 1:1 CBD to THC ratio.
Depending on the purpose of the final product, companies decide to use a different cannabinoid spectrum from different strains.
If you want a fully legal product, we suggest that you go with hemp extracts, as they are now approved on the federal level since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.
Now, what happens with the cannabinoids after the initial extraction determines if the extract is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or CBD isolate. Each term refers to the degree the product was processed.
Let’s discuss the meaning of each cannabis spectrum.
1. What is Full-Spectrum CBD?
If an extract is full-spectrum, this means it contains all phytochemicals naturally found in the plant, including CBD, trace cannabinoids, terpenes, and essential oils. Full-spectrum extracts from hemp also come with a negligible THC content — below 0.3%
The full spectrum of the active compounds extracted from hemp work together to amplify the health benefits of each individual cannabinoid. This phenomenon is referred to as the entourage effect (more on that later).
Although non-psychoactive, full-spectrum CBD can give you a false positive during a drug test, especially if you consume high doses of CBD oil daily.
That’s when the broad-spectrum CBD comes in.
2. What is Broad Spectrum CBD?
Broad-spectrum CBD contains cannabidiol and all the other compounds within the plant, save for THC, which is completely removed after the initial extraction.
Because broad-spectrum extracts contain multiple cannabinoids, they also produce the “entourage effect,” but without the THC.
In a very simplified manner, broad-spectrum CBD is like a mix between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate. It contains the entire spectrum of cannabinoids EXCEPT for the THC part.
3. What is CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate is the purest form of this compound, made by pulling it from its natural environment and removing it from all other ingredients.
“The advantage of using CBD isolate over other formats is the highest concentration of CBD per serving. Isolates are usually 99% pure, meaning that one gram of isolate powder carries about 990 mg of CBD. There’s no entourage effect, though — you can benefit solely from the effects of cannabidiol, hence the lower price of such products and lower demand than full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD” says Augustine Hanger of Colorado-based hemp CBD grower IHF, LLC.
Now, what is the entourage effect really about?
Below we shed light on this intriguing phenomenon.
The Entourage Effect Explained
Despite the complicated name, the entourage effect is fairly easy to understand. It refers to the synergy achieved by all the components in cannabis. These components work together to enhance the potential benefits of the plant. Each compound can amplify the therapeutic properties of the others while mitigating their potential side effects (1).
Some of the additional cannabinoids in full-spectrum extracts include:
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabidiol acid (CBDA)
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
Because of the benefits of the entire plant, full-spectrum CBD products are priced higher than their broad-spectrum counterparts or CBD isolate. It’s also more challenging for manufacturers to maintain consistent ratios when using a full-spectrum extract — again raising the overall cost of these oils.
Before 2015 people believed that isolated CBD was more effective than full-spectrum CBD. However, in 2015, this myth was debunked by a study conducted by the Lautenberg Center for General Tumor Immunology in Jerusalem (2).
In the study, the researchers discovered that test subjects treated with full-spectrum CBD reported higher levels of relief when compared to the group that used CBD isolate.
The scientists also concluded that the full spectrum of cannabinoids provided better effects with higher doses, while the effects of isolated CBD maintained consistent with increased intake.
Terpenes: More Than Just a Scent
When browsing through full-spectrum products, you may have noticed they boast the health benefits of the original plant terpenes.
Terpenes are volatile molecules that are responsible for a unique aroma profile of plants, fruits, vegetables, and spices. Aromatherapists have used these terpenes for centuries.
There are more than 200 terpenes in cannabis which, like cannabinoids, also bind to different receptors in the body to provide an array of potential health benefits.
For example, one of the signature terpenes in cannabis plants is beta-caryophyllene, a gastroprotective compound found in oregano, black pepper, and leafy greens. That’s why certain cannabis strains are recommended to patients with gastrointestinal issues; these strains also tend to carry a spicy herbal scent.
Which Cannabinoid Spectrum Should You Choose?
Now that you’ve gone through the entire spectrum of CBD, you’re probably hesitating on the final choice, wondering why someone would select one type over the other.
First of all, you should abandon the thought that either spectrum is inherently better than the others.
Everyone reacts differently to CBD and has different needs, so this is what you should base your judgment on — namely, which CBD spectrum will work best in your case.
To help you in the decision-making process, we’ve mapped out some of the pros and cons of each type, along with examples each spectrum would probably work best for.
Full Spectrum CBD: Pros & Cons
|Allows the user to benefit from the entourage effectThe least processed form of CBDContains terpenes and flavonoids for additional health benefits
|May show up on a drug screeningTHC content may cause problems with the local lawCarries the natural flavor and aroma of hemp, which is pretty strong
Full-Spectrum is Best For:
- CBD users who want to benefit from the trace amounts of THC in their extracts
- Individuals with more severe symptoms that CBD isolate and broad-spectrum products fail to help with
- Individuals living in states with a legal cannabis market
Broad Spectrum CBD: Pros & Cons
|Offers the full benefits of the entourage effectLess processed than isolateNo risk of psychoactive effects
|Less researchedLess available than full-spectrum or isolatesMay carry a strong, natural hemp flavor
Broad Spectrum Works is Best for:
- CBD users with conditions that the isolate alone can’t help with
- Individuals sensitive to THC
- Individuals living in places with harsh THC regulations
- First-time CBD users afraid of THC
CBD Isolate: Pros & Cons
|The most concentrated form of CBDNo risk of getting highHighly versatileSafe for all types of CBD usersOdorless and flavorlessYou can pass a drug test with CBD isolate
|Doesn’t offer all the benefits of the entourage effect
CBD Isolate is Best for:
- CBD users who were recommended to take very high doses of CBD
- Individuals sensitive to THC or other cannabinoids
- Individuals afraid of failing a drug test
- CBD users who prefer flavorless products
- People living in states with harsh THC laws
- New CBD users afraid of other cannabinoids
Final Thoughts: CBD Oil Spectrums
There are many factors that can point you in the direction of one cannabis spectrum instead of the other.
Your unique body chemistry, your weight, lifestyle, as well as your history with other substances — each of these factors can influence the way you react to different cannabinoid profiles.
For some, broad-spectrum CBD may be the best choice as it delivers some entourage effect without the psychoactive effects of THC. For others, a high dose of pure CBD may be enough to alleviate their symptoms and others will need more THC to feel the difference.
There’s still much research to be done to gauge the effectiveness of each spectrum, so the best thing you can do for now is a little trial and error to figure out which option you prefer.
Terpenes: What Are They and Why Add Them to CBD Oil
If you’ve never heard of terpenes, then you’ve come to the right place.
You don’t even have to be a CBD oil user to consume terpenes.
In fact, this fancy name is used to describe volatile molecules that we all come across in our everyday lives.
You can find terpenes in a vast range of plants, including flowers, fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Cannabis plants are particularly abundant in terpenes. They come as sort of a bundle with cannabinoids. However, terpenes in CBD products don’t always show up after initial extraction.
Sometimes, manufacturers add extra terpenes in different ratios to enhance the benefits of their CBD products. Even if you’re using a highly refined form of CBD such as distillate, you could still be ingesting terpenes.
But why add terpenes to CBD oil in the first place? Why are some brands stressing their importance? Is it a real deal or another way to leverage the price of CBD products?
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are volatile compounds found in plants — responsible for their aromas. You have waffled terpenes every time you’ve come across flowers or smelled a fresh fruit. We are pretty much surrounded by terpenes.
There are several hundreds of different terpenes that exist in the world, and over 200 have been discovered in cannabis plants. However, only a few terpenes in industrial hemp are concentrated enough to be considered significant. Brands sometimes add extra terpenes to CBD oil to support those naturally occurring in the plant’s flowers.
The reason why a person would like to add terpenes to their CBD oil is the extra health benefits they offer. Scientists have been investigating the properties of terpenes for quite a while now, and have come to the conclusion that specific terpenes could have several therapeutic applications.
Terpenes are popular in aromatherapy thanks to their holistic, natural effects.
What Terpenes Are Found in CBD Oil?
Many studies have pointed to terpenes as beneficial for CBD users due to their specific effects on the body. On top of that, they can also contribute to greater efficacy of CBD products — but we’ll get to that later in the article.
Let’s take a look at the most common terpenes found in CBD oil.
The name should be a clear indicator of where you can find this terpene. Limonene typically occurs in the zest of citrus fruits. Its scent is redolent of lime, orange, and lemon, but there’s more to this terpene than just a refreshing aroma. Limonene is known to have antifungal properties; it may also enhance mood, reduce inflammation, and curb anxiety. Adding limonene to CBD oil can increase the absorption rate of other terpenes.
Myrene is another common terpene — with a less obvious name — associated with cannabis. It has a pungent, earthy, and herbal aroma, just like cannabis flowers. Although it’s the smallest terpene, it can produce powerful relaxing effects on the body, leading to feelings of drowsiness. When it comes to the health benefits of myrcene, these include antibacterial and pain-relieving properties.
The pinene terpene can be found in pine needles as well as in a few citrus fruits. Pinene has been mentioned in traditional Chinese medicine for its therapeutic qualities. It can be used as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and bronchodilator.
Linalool is another common terpene in cannabis. This molecule is one that produces a delicate floral aroma and is particularly abundant in lavender as well as in chamomile. Brands often infuse CBD topicals with linalool to achieve this lovely scent, but they also add it to CBD oil for a more effective sleep aid and stronger anti-anxiety effects.
One of the most promising terpenes, caryophyllene occurs naturally in cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper. It gives certain cannabis strains their spicy, woody aromas. The most intriguing trait of this terpene is its ability to interact with the endocannabinoid system in a similar manner to cannabinoids. Moreover, it may produce analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Humulene is another common terpene in hemp. It may act as an appetite suppressant and anti-inflammatory. As for the aroma, it is redolent of hops, which is where high concentrations of humulene are found too. Other humulene-rich plants include coriander, cloves, and basil.
Terpinolene gives cannabis plants smokey and woodsy aromas; it can also be found in sage and rosemary and is known for antioxidant, antibacterial, and slightly sedating properties. Scientists have found terpinolene to depress a person’s central nervous system, meaning this terpene can reduce anxiety levels and induce drowsiness.
Are Terpenes the Same as Terpenoids?
When reading about terpenes, you may come across the term “terpenoids.”
Are terpenes the same as terpenoids? And if not, what’s the difference between these two?
Terpenes and terpenoids are a bit different in terms of their molecular structure. Terpenes are the fresh, living version of terpenoids. What you smell when you take a waft near a living cannabis plant is the terpene bouquet secreted in the resinous glands of its lowers. Terpenoids, on the other hand, are formed when you dry and cure the cannabis flower. Ultimately, these two processes change the way these molecules transform.
Terpenoids are commonly used outside of cannabis for their scents. People infuse terpenes into different ingredients to create spices, perfumes, and essential oils. However, a growing body of research is showing that terpenoids are important players in modulating the effects of cannabinoids.
Recent studies have shown that terpenes can change, increase, or lower the duration and intensity of the effects coming from a specific strain on top of influencing the smell and flavor of buds. In other words, without terpenes, the effects of different high-CBD strains would be bland and lack additional health benefits.
Why Add Terpenes to CBD Oil?
As you can see from the above paragraph, terpenes are extremely important in cannabis. Not only can they tailor the experience of CBD oil users, but they can also enhance the effects of the major cannabinoids. Many users find CBD oil with terpenes more beneficial than a product based on distillates or isolates.
For example, when you add terpenes such as linalool and myrcene, the product will have more relaxing, sleep-inducing qualities. On the other hand, terpenes like limonene and caryophyllene could provide you with more focus and energy. If you’re looking for specific effects, then you might want to check the lab reports of your CBD oil to see what terpenes are inside your bottle.
Another reason to add terpenes to CBD oil is the entourage effect, which we’ll elaborate on in the next section.
CBD Oil, Terpenes, and the Entourage Effect
The entourage effect was first brought to light in 1998 by Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli scientist and the father of cannabis research. The concept was further popularized by another prominent cannabis Ethan Russo in 2011. Dr. Russo published a detailed report in the British Journal of Pharmacology describing the entourage effect in detail.
Simply put, the entourage effect refers to synergistic effects achieved by cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids found in cannabis. For example, limonene helps the body to absorb other terpenes more efficiently, and caryophyllene is thought to interact with cannabinoid receptors directly.
That’s why different cannabis strains provide different effects. This is caused not only by their cannabinoid ratios — although that plays an important role as well — but mostly thanks to terpenes and their unique qualities. It’s also the reason why many users consider full-spectrum CBD oil superior to CBD isolate.
Key Takeaways on Terpenes: Why Add Them to CBD Oil?
As you can see, terpenes are pretty essential and there’s a good reason why some companies decide to add them to CBD oil. Not only can terpenes influence the effect profile of CBD products, but they also complement and enhance the effects of the major cannabinoids along with the trace ones. Terpenes also contribute to a more aromatic and flavorful product.
Terpenes are something you should look for when shopping for CBD. Next time you’re browsing different products, make sure to pick full-spectrum oils extracted without invasive methods. Only then will you be able to maximize your results with cannabidiol extracts.