A guide to secondary terpenes and their benefits on the entourage effect
Terpenes in cannabis not only cause the plant’s diverse aroma profile, but also complement cannabinoids to elicit a holistic ‘whole plant’ effect that is showing many therapeutic benefits. In this article, we examine some of the secondary terpenes that are grabbing the attention of researchers.
Have you ever wondered why plants have such a diverse range of scents? The aroma is due to the blend of terpenes produced by the plant. This includes plants from the cannabis family; each strain of cannabis produces a distinct fragrance that not only determines how the strain smells and tastes, it also influences the effect that the strain has on the connoisseur.
The 200+ terpenes found in plants from the cannabis sativa family aren’t unique to cannabis - far from it. Most of the terpenes in cannabis can also be found in a wide range of plants, and are extracted for a wide range of uses.
For example, if you’re a fan of a hoppy beer, then you’ll be familiar with the terpenes called Humulene and Myrcene. On the other hand, if you love the smell of a real Christmas tree, then it’s the terpene known as Pinene that you’re reacting to.
What are terpenes?
Terpenes are a large, diverse class of aromatic organic hydrocarbons, produced by plants and flowers. Terpenes give plants their unique scent; they attract pollinating insects; they ward off predators; they protect the plant against bacteria and fungi; and they regulate the plant’s metabolism.
Terpenes bind to receptors in the brain within the endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for a variety of physiological processes, and elicit certain specific responses depending on the strain combinations.
Are terpenes legal?
The legal status of cannabis is complex and, at times, confusing. In order for cannabinoids like CBD to be legal in the UK, they need to be extracted from EU certified strains of hemp. Hemp is a derivative of the cannabis sativa plant which contains less than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid) but is plentiful in CBD. Plus, just like other cannabis strains, it’s also full of terpenes and flavonoids.
However, keep in mind that terpenes are not just found in cannabis plants. They provide the scent and flavour profile for almost all the plants on earth. They are completely safe to consume. It would be totally impractical, and utterly unnecessary, to make them illegal.
Primary terpenes from cannabis strains
In our first guide to the entourage effect mentioned above, we detail the most prevalent primary terpenes in our CBD Terpene e-liquid collection. Musky myrcene, citrus fresh limonene, calming linalool, herbal pinene, and peppery caryophyllene are all covered.
In the next terpenes article, we explored the next most prolific terpenes that we combine with CBD isolate to replicate some of the most popular and beneficial cannabis varieties. Hoppy humulene, woody terpinolene, soporific bisabolol, herbaceous ocimene, and smoky terpineol each have their own characteristics.
Secondary terpenes from cannabis strains
Secondary terpenes are found in the cannabis plant in smaller amounts than their primary counterparts. They may not drive the experience as strongly as primary terpenes, but they definitely make a difference. This is down to the entourage effect and the way secondary terpenes combine and interact with primary terpenes, as well as cannabinoids like CBD. They play an important role in governing the type of beneficial effect that each strain will provide.
In this guide, we wanted to cover some of the secondary terpenes that you’ll come across on the ingredients list of top quality CBD products.
Fenchol has a fresh scent and occurs naturally in basil. It is very popular in perfumery and is also used in laundry products to make your washing smell extra clean.
Fenchol can be found most predominantly in the OG Kush flavour from both our terpenes e-liquid collection and our broad spectrum e-liquid range. It can also be found to a lesser extent in our Pineapple Express e-liquid.
Trans-nerolidol contributes to the gorgeous fragrance of plants like jasmine, lemongrass, and tea tree. The aroma profile is a combination of floral and citrus with a woody backnote that is extremely popular in perfumery.
The beneficial properties of trans-nerolidol are as an antiparasitic, antioxidant, antifungal, and antimicrobial. One of its unique attributes is that it is antileishmanial - which means that it inhibits the growth of leishmaniasis, a disease caused by leishmania parasites that are spread by sandflies.
Trans-nerolidol is found most predominantly in the Jack Herer flavour from both our terpenes e-liquid collection and our broad spectrum e-liquid range. It can also be found to a lesser extent in our Pineapple Express e-liquid.
The scent of camphene evokes memories of walking through a forest in autumn. The earthy aroma profile is one of fir needles and damp woodland.
Camphene is a component of citronella oil as it is an effective mosquito repellent. It is also used in topical treatments for eczema and psoriasis and its antifungal properties mean that it is popular for use in topical treatments for athlete’s foot.
A study has shown camphene to have antinociceptive actions - meaning that it can inhibit the sensation of pain. Another study examined camphene’s antioxidant properties as a possible agent to fight pulmonary inflammation and respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis.
Camphene has also shown great results, across several studies, as an alternative lipid lowering agent. This means that camphene could help treat cardiovascular disease by reducing the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
Camphene can be found in the Grand Daddy Purple flavour from our Terpenes e-liquid collection.
Phellandrene comprises a pair of organic compounds - alpha-phellandrene and beta-phellandrene. Both phellandrenes share similar chemical properties and can be found (separately or together) in eucalyptus, mint, dill, water fennel, and Canada balsam.
The minty, woody aroma of phellandrene is popular for use in the food industry, as well as for making perfume and cologne. Chinese medicine has used phellandrene for centuries for its antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Recent studies have been examining the link between combining phellandrene with limonene, a primary terpene. The research has been extremely positive in showing that this combo exhibits antidepressive effects. It also acts as an antihyperalgesic - which means it is beneficial for people with an abnormal sensitivity to pain. Furthermore, in terms of chronic pain, phellandrene has also shown promising results in combating neuropathy (nerve pain).
Perhaps the most exciting news is that a study has shown that phellandrene significantly reduces the viability of tumour cells in the human liver.
Phellandrene is present in the Jack Herer flavour from both our terpenes e-liquid collection and our broad spectrum e-liquid range. It can also be found in our Grand Daddy Purple e-liquid. You’ll be pleased to know that all of these also contain limonene.
Another secondary terpene commonly found in insect repellents, valencene gets its name from Valencia oranges. It is highly valued by the food industry as a strong citrus flavour additive.
Valencene is known to repel mosquitoes and ticks, and may also be anti-allergic. Moreover, the skin protectant qualities of valencene could be useful in fighting the photoaging effects of UV rays, leading to research into its potential for use in sunscreen.
Finally, the results of a 2017 study showed that valencene was effective in improving the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin, in cancer cells that are drug sensitive or partly drug resistant.
Valencene features in the Grand Daddy Purple flavour from our Terpenes e-liquid collection.
The terpenes phenomenon
There are many, many more terpenes that each have many, many more benefits. Delta 3 Carene, which is playing a part in finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Borneol, which has been shown to kill breast cancer cells. Geraniol, which is being studied for its antitumour, antiviral and anti-spasmodic qualities. Keep checking back as we are sure to explore more in the future as CBD products evolve.
With so much of the focus being placed on the role of cannabinoids, such as CBD, on our health, it is important not to overlook the enhancing effects of terpenes.
As research continues, we are confident that further therapeutic qualities will be discovered. In the meantime, we hope this guide (as well as the previous ones) will provide you with enough information to make a choice about the CBD product that is right for you.
The research into CBD continues
As more studies are undertaken, and more research published, we will continue to update you with all the latest findings regarding CBD.
If you still have more questions, we are always happy to help. Just get in touch with any queries you have about CBD or vaping in general.
The content in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your GP, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a particular medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
- Nicola Webster