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Terpenes and the Entourage Effect: The Engine That Drives Health

Browse any selection of CBD products on grocery store shelves, and you may come across terpenes on the ingredient list. You may have also heard about terpenes on the news, as celebrities increasingly champion its benefits. On April 27, 2019, Kim Kardashian held a “CBD and Meditation” baby shower to celebrate the impending birth of her fourth child with Kanye West. Kardashian handed out terpene-rich CBD gifts to guests and even served terpene-infused teas during the event. But, why was the event significant? Essentially, it propelled terpenes and the Entourage Effect into mainstream news.

If Kim Kardashian wanted to draw attention to the benefits of CBD, she couldn’t have done a better job. The star’s refusal to down Xanax or Ambien for stress has earned her admiration in light of the rising opioid crisis in the United States.

So, what is significant about terpenes and the Entourage Effect? That question, as you may expect, has both a long and short answer. The short answer is that terpenes are essential oils found in many plants, including hemp. You can find hundreds of terpenes in anything from basil to citrus fruits. Essentially, terpenes give plants their unique aromas and flavors.

But, there’s more to the answer. In fact, the long answer provides crucial insight into the benefits of Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil as well as the differences between Hemp Oil and CBD oil.

How Hemp Terpenes Magnify the Full-Spectrum Advantage

Terpenes exist in hemp in parallel with CBD. In fact, there are hundreds of organic compounds within a hemp plant, with multiple terpenes and multiple cannabinoids.

The CBD trend is making waves and has rapidly moved from a fringe product to a legitimate restorative for holistic health. According to Gallup, 14% of Americans now say they use CBD products. Many proclaim its therapeutic benefits and say the lack of THC content makes it an important choice for balanced mood and nervous system support. Without terpenes, the rise in popularity of CBD products wouldn’t have been possible. In fact, these organic compounds are, in many ways, the engine that has driven the acceptance of Hemp Oil.

And yet, according to some experts, the rush to stock shelves with CBD oils has left American consumers with many products that don’t actually contain terpenes. Fortunately, that’s beginning to change. Studies are increasingly focused on the intrinsic benefits of these organic compounds as well as their importance in optimizing the potency of hemp supplements.

These benefits are available in Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil products. CBD oils that isolate the full-spectrum of phytonutrients for the sake of the label won’t deliver the benefits of terpenes, as we explain in more detail below. 

The Core Benefits of CBD Terpenes

Traditionally, many believed that terpenes delivered similar benefits to other essential oils. Their scent stimulates our olfactory system, sending pleasant signals to our brains and putting us at ease. 

More recently, however, studies have begun to uncover more direct health benefits in these compounds. For instance, a recent study published in a Chinese medical journal found promising (albeit early) evidence that terpenes may prove useful in helping Alzheimer’s patients.  And there may be other benefits, as well. According to Dr. Josh Kaplan, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington, high doses of the terpene linalool, which exists in hemp in high concentrations, has shown promise in providing extensive nervous system support to patients.

Other more general benefits of terpenes have included mood support and improved cognitive performance. More studies are needed to confirm these findings, but early results have been positive. Many of these benefits are due to what experts call the Entourage Effect.

Understanding Terpenes and the Entourage Effect

In 2011, British scientist Ethan Russo unveiled a groundbreaking study in the British Journal of Pharmacology. His work led to the discovery of what he called the “Entourage Effect.” 

Russo discovered that the hundreds of organic compounds found in a hemp plant don’t work in isolation. Instead, they merge together in perfect synergy, amplifying each other’s beneficial properties. In layman’s terms, Russo found that the “whole” was truly greater than the sum of the parts in hemp plants. Basically, the Entourage Effect delivers optimum health benefits when we ingest the full-spectrum of phytonutrients present in hemp.

Other scientists had already found similar effects in other plants. Russo began to realize that terpenes are the key drivers behind the Entourage Effect. While CBD on its own provides some limited health benefits, terpenes supercharge those benefits and maximize the effectiveness of Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil.

Some of the individual terpenes found in hemp work with cannabinoids like CBD to deliver extensive health benefits, and we discuss them further below. Since Russo’s findings nine years ago, we have continued to gain more understanding of how to heighten the Entourage Effect in Hemp Oils.

Terpenes and the Entourage Effect: 8 Types That Provide Tangible Health Benefits

A close, molecular examination of hemp finds hundreds of terpenes in the average plant. Essentially, terpenes give various plant strains distinctive aromas and flavors. Eight of the terpenes exist in high enough concentrations that they can deliver benefits both in isolation and through the activation of the Entourage Effect. Let’s discuss each of them in more detail.

Caryophyllene

Recognized for its spicy scent, this terpene is also found in black pepper and cinnamon leaves. It can reduce health discomfort levels and provide balanced mood support.

That’s not where it ends, of course. Caryophyllene is one of those terpenes responsible for the Entourage Effect. When present in a hemp product, it activates the cannabinoid receptor CB2 to deliver the Entourage Effect and ensure that the beneficial qualities present in other hemp compounds are heightened. In other words, it acts as a catalyst in products like Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil.

Lavender Bunches On Drying Rack

Curcumin

This terpene found its fame by being the active ingredient in Turmeric, a plant that has been lauded as the most effective natural supplement in existence. Much of the plant’s reputation (including its bright yellow color) is due to this ingredient. Curcumin delivers a range of health benefits. To cite a few:

  • Balanced mood and antioxidant support
  • Potential ability to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been linked to improved brain function and lowered risk of cognitive diseases
  • Possesses physiological properties that may thwart the risk of lifestyle-related conditions like heart disease, the single biggest cause of death in the world today.
  • Potential to prevent the proliferation of abnormal cells by building powerful antibodies
  • Noted ability to treat nervous system disorders
  • Potential to fight age-related chronic illnesses

These are strong claims, of course, and more studies need to be done. Still, new research continues to emerge that shows just how powerful curcumin may be in promoting physical and mental wellbeing.

Humulene

This terpene is most famous for its prominent presence in beer brewing, as hops can contain up to 50% humulene. However, it’s commonly found in cannabis strains as well, and you’ll recognize it easily from its hoppy scent.

Humulene may be counterintuitive for those who have yet to experience the health benefits of Hemp Oil. That’s because this terpene actually acts as an appetite suppressant and is used by some experts to promote weight loss. Like many other terpenes on this list, it can also act as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Limonene

If you smell citrus, you’re likely in the presence of limonene, which is why this is actually the oil used in many food flavorings and cleaning products. But of course, like the other compounds on this list, it delivers more than just a good scent.

This terpene, in fact, has been shown to act as a stress reliever and mood enhancer. It may also inhibit the growth of abnormal cells. In one study, 43 women who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer saw an average tumor reduction of 22% after taking a small amount of limonene for up to six weeks. Other studies have also highlighted limonene’s potential cardiovascular benefits, as well.

Linalool

When isolated, you’ll easily recognize this terpene by its scent; it’s most commonly found in lavender. Its major presence in hemp, of course, leads to some unique benefits that are worth exploring in more detail.

The stress and anxiety-reducing benefits of lavender are due to the presence of linalool and thus are thought to apply in hemp, as well. Moreover, studies have begun to highlight its effectiveness in supporting and strengthening the immune system. Finally, some studies have also shown it to reduce lung inflammation that occurs as a result of cigarette smoke.

Myrcene

This is the most common terpene in most hemp plants; in fact, if you could extract essential oils from hemp, about 50% of them would be myrcene.

Known for its musky, fruity scent, myrcene is also common in mangoes, hops, and basil. It’s been shown to be effective as a muscle relaxer, health-booster, and temporary sleep aid. In one study, myrcene increased sleep duration 2.6 times. Due to its analgesic properties, some doctors also recommend it as a natural pain killer for migraines and arthritis.

Pinene

Much like linalool, this terpene will be familiar to you through its scent; after all, it’s a major ingredient in the plant that gave it its name, the pine tree. There are two types of pinene: alpha and beta. Alpha-pinene is most prominent in hemp plants, so we’ll focus on this variety here.

Pinene boasts properties that can reduce inflammation, but studies also show it to be effective in countering short-term memory loss. Other benefits may include asthma relief, by improving airflow to the lungs and opening up air passages, as well as protection against harmful viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory infections. Studies have even shown alpha-pinene to be pivotal in inhibiting abnormal cell growth and reducing the size of malignant tumors.

Terpinolene

You’ll find terpinolene in nutmeg, apples, cumin, and lilacs. Of course, it appears in screenings of hemp organic compounds, as well. It’s close in scent to pinene. However, it delivers slightly different benefits. In fact, this is one of the most popular terpenes for scientific research.

Terpinolene also offers strong antioxidant qualities and antibacterial benefits. Let’s not forget about the antimicrobial properties, either. Evidence shows that terpinolene can help slow the growth of abnormal cells, and one study even found it to be especially effective in improving cholesterol levels. Presently, more studies aim to determine its benefits in providing balanced mood and nervous system support.

When You Shop for CBD Vape Oil or Other Hemp Products, Look for Terpenes

In 2019, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funded nine research awards to study the pain-relieving properties of cannabinoids and terpenes in hemp. Essentially, the scientific community has begun to coalesce around an important fact: Terpenes are the driving force behind the power of CBD.

That may be one reason why many store-bought CBD oil products have failed to deliver on their promises: they don’t include the full range of phytonutrients and terpenes found in hemp. Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil, extracted naturally to maintain the balance of terpenes within its ingredients, is the best way to truly leverage the benefits described above.

Of course, the hemp plant also contains other elements that, amplified through the above-mentioned terpenes and the Entourage Effect, have the potential to benefit your life in a variety of ways. We’ve covered many of these benefits in previous articles on our website. However, it’s important to keep in mind that only enhanced CBD oil with terpenes can truly maximize the benefits of the hundreds of organic compounds found in our products.

Hand Holding Hemp Leaf

Enjoy the Full Entourage Effect With Synchronicity Full-Spectrum Hemp Products

Essentially, products derived naturally and with the greatest care are more likely to preserve these important compounds in their entirety. This is in keeping with our promises regarding our Synchronity line of Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil.

So, the next time you shop for CBD oil, look for terpenes on the ingredient list. Better yet, learn more about our products and their benefits to your health and wellbeing. Many plants contain terpenes. However, it is their unique characteristics and combinations in strains of cannabis that make them especially effective.

Are you looking for more information on terpenes or Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil in general? If so, contact us to learn more. We’d love to have a broader conversation about your health concerns and the right products for your situation.