Terpenes: definition, effect and occurrence

The hemp plant has over 100 different terpenes that serve as protection against pests and give a special aroma. The terpenes of the hemp plant can have important benefits. Research indicates that CBD has a more intense effect in conjunction with terpenes. To date, however, the research situation is too thin to be able to make fundamental statements.

Terpenes: Definition

Terpenes are a group of chemical compounds found in plants and (rarely also) in animals such as insects. They are counted among the secondary plant substances that are absorbed through food. In addition to cannabinoids such as CBD, hemp also contains terpenes. They are considered a scent and protect the plant from pests.

Terpenes are also called secondary plant substances. They are often further used because of their smell or taste and are, for example, the main component of plant essential oils.


The generic term terpenoids covers all chemical compounds that have terpenes as their building blocks. Terpenoids include, for example, bitter substances or carotenoids. Cannabinoids are also similar to terpenes.

Terpenes belong to the group of secondary plant substances. They are not essential nutrients for humans and have not been researched very much. However, they are said to have an influence on metabolic processes. Various health-promoting effects and medicinal properties are attributed to them:

Protection against cancers
Positive effects on the heart and blood pressure
Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects

However, it is currently not possible to confirm these effects on the basis of current scientific data. Therefore, no recommendations on dosage can be given.

Terpenes: Occurrence

Terpenes occur in nature mainly in plants. With their aromas, they serve the cannabis plant as a defence against pests and attract insects for pollination. We perceive this through smells or taste. When we brush our teeth with peppermint toothpaste, for example, we smell the menthol terpene.

The cannabis plant alone already contains more than 150 terpenes. Most of the terpenes of the cannabis plant are found in the resin, but the flowers and the fine leaves around the flowers, the so-called trim, also contain many of the valuable terpenes.

Terpenes are already used in many ways in aromatherapy. Essential oils are becoming more and more popular as they are said to have many benefits.

Terpenes: Effect

Plants not only contain important nutrients for us humans, but also natural terpenes. Research assumes that these terpenes could be important for our organism. However, it has already been established that the interaction of the components of the entire plant is often important for a possible effect.

In the case of CBD, too, some researchers assume that the full spectrum of the hemp plant could have a more positive effect than isolated CBD. However, research is not yet unanimous on this. In expert circles, this possible effect is also called the "entourage effect". This means that the ingredients of the plant as a whole could be better than the isolated components of the plant.

Terpenes are therefore not said to have an exclusive influence on smell or taste. It is suspected that there are other spectrums of effect. In a study in 1964, Israeli researchers found that the main active ingredients of cannabis (CBD and THC) only account for part of the effect of cannabis. They found that other cannabinoids and terpenes also have an effect. They subsequently referred to this as the "entourage effect". Entourage in French means "surroundings" or "environment". Other cannabinoids and terpenes thus form the so-called environment in which CBD and THC are found in the hemp plant.

Terpenes are now used in aromatherapy, they are supposed to be able to unfold their effect via the smell or the skin. Essential oils containing terpenes are used for fragrance lamps or skin oils. In aromatherapy, terpenes are used as a form of therapy because of their smell. They are part of herbal medicine and are used as room fragrances, flower baths or in massage oils. They are also popular in cosmetic products or in food.

Here, too, it is always emphasised how important the plant as a whole is compared to isolated components. We believe in the full power of the hemp plant and therefore gently extract all the important components from the hemp plant for our CBD oils using our CO2 extraction method.

Terpenes: Hemp plant

Every cannabis plant is unique. Different cannabis plants have different compositions of terpenes, but the terpenes of one variety are similar. The typical hemp smell or taste comes from terpenes and makes up the special aroma of the hemp plant.

Known terpenes in hemp plants:

Myrcene occurs in large quantities in the hemp plant and is therefore also one of the most researched terpenes of the hemp plant. The terpene myrcene is a natural hydrocarbon that occurs mainly in many fruits, herbs and hops. The aroma is clove-like and has a citrus note. It is believed that myrcene is anti-inflammatory and calming. However, this has not yet been fully scientifically proven.

Even the name sounds like the citrus-like aroma that limonene has. It is mainly found in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes. In addition, this terpene is also found in juniper, peppermint and the hemp plant. Limonene is said to improve mood and restore inner balance.

Beta-caryophyllene (β-caryophyllene)
Even though the name sounds complicated, you've probably already smelled it. Beta-caryophyllene has a peppery, spicy aroma and is often found in black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, figs and basil. There is a suggestion that this terpene is calming and anti-inflammatory.

There is alpha-pinene (α-pinene) and beta-pinene. It is widespread and as the name suggests it is often found in pine forests and conifers. But this terpene can also be found in orange peel, rosemary and parsley. However, its effect, which is said to be anxiety-relieving and concentration-enhancing, has not yet been proven.

You are probably familiar with the lavender sachets that people put under their pillows to help them sleep better. The smell that is released is caused by the terpene linalool. With its sweet and flowery aroma, it is also found in coriander, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, thyme, basil and roses. In the past, this scent was also used to repel mosquitoes. Research has found that linalool can probably have an anxiety-relieving and relaxing effect.x

Terpenes table




Aroma: Pine

General: attention, memory, counteracts some THC effects

Potential: Asthma, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory


Aroma: Musk, cloves, earthy, notes of citrus or tropical fruits

General: Sedative, relaxing

Potential: Antioxidant, muscle spasms, insomnia, pain, inflammation, depression


Aroma: Citrus

General: Mood elevating, stress relieving

Potential: Antifungal, antibacterial, mood enhancer, heartburn, depression, intestinal problems


Aroma: Peppery, spicy, woody, cloves

General: not known

Potential: stomach protecting, anti-inflammatory, arthritis


Aroma: Floral, citrus, sweet

General: Antianxiety, sedative

Potential: Antianxiety, antidepressant, antispasmodic, acne

Terpenes: Caution with cats

For us humans, aromas are important and we can derive a benefit from them. However, caution is advised for cats! Especially cinnamon, thyme, tea tree oil, peppermint, lavender or oregano can quickly become dangerous for cats. Cats' bodies cannot break down terpenes, or only after a long time. They accumulate in the animal's body.

Therefore, it is important to make sure that the four-legged friend does not come into contact with essential oils, aromatic substances or CBD oils with terpenes. A CBD oil for cats should therefore be as terpene-free as possible.

Terpenes in CBD

We attach great importance to a complete terpene profile in our CBD oils. Therefore, we produce CBD oil with a gentle extraction method, the CO² extraction. With other extraction methods, valuable terpenes can be lost or additional problems can arise.

Our CBD oil has a natural terpene profile, as we do not use artificially added terpenes. This is how we guarantee that ALPINOLS CBD oil is a 100% natural product. Organically grown and without genetic engineering. The analysis report of the terpene profile can be viewed online.

Why ALPINOLS uses the most elaborate method of CBD production, our own organic cultivation and an in-house laboratory?

Because we want to sell the highest quality CBD product. Strictly controlled. Everything from one source.