It is widely understood that the primary active ingredients in botanical remedies can be enhanced through interaction with secondary compounds. Some secondary compounds create a synergy that elevates the overall effectiveness of the remedy, while others aid in mitigating potentially negative side effects. This is called an entourage effect.

Scientific research has shown that this principle can also apply to cannabis. Certain secondary compounds already naturally occurring in cannabis, such as terpenes, can enhance the beneficial effects of the ingredients tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), those which are primarily prescribed for treating illnesses.

Studies have proven that terpenes display unique therapeutic effects that may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts.

What are Terpenes and Terpenoids?

Terpenes are a class of organic compounds (hydrocarbons) produced by a variety of plants (see a complete definition here). Each cannabis plant may contain dozens of terpenes. The unique combination of different terpenes helps distinguish one cannabis strain from another and can vary with changes to the soil and/or the temperature in which it is cultivated. The individual set of terpenes present in each strain can offer a unique set of benefits ranging from increased circulation and enhanced neurological functions to altered cell permeability. In addition, it’s the terpenes that give cannabis its scent and flavor.

Recently, the terms terpene and terpenoid have come to be used interchangeably. However, there are technical differences: Terpenoids are terpenes that contain additional functional groups. Terpenoids may refer to terpenes that have been chemically modified to produce a desired effect.

Cannabis oil terpenoids are believed to increase cerebral blood flow and cortical activity, reduce respiratory pathogens and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Common Cannabis Oil Terpenes

These are the most widely understood terpenes that exist in cannabis and also among the most commonly used in integrative medicine:


Smell/Flavor: Menthol, pine
Properties: Found in cinnamon and wormwood
Effects: Sedative
Conditions: Fatigue, stress

Smell/Flavor: Spicy, sweet, clove, peppery
Properties: Used in topical clove oil
Effects: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic
Conditions: Potassium ion channel disorders

Smell/Flavor: Minty, spicy
Properties: Found in rosemary and eucalyptus
Effects: Brain stimulation
Conditions: Neurological deficiencies

Smell/Flavor: Sweet, pine, cedar
Properties: Found in rosemary as well as pine and cedar resin
Effects: Dehydration of excess liquid in eyes, ears and throat, reduced menstrual flow rate
Conditions: Otolaryngological disorders, menstrual disorders

Smell/Flavor: Citrus, rosemary, juniper, peppermint
Properties: Found in the rinds of many citrus fruits
Effects: Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-depressant, anti-carcinogen
Conditions: Infection, depression, cancer

Smell/Flavor: Floral, citrus, candied spice
Properties: Found in lavender
Effects: Anti-anxiety, sedative
Conditions: Anxiety disorders, insomnia

Smell/Flavor: Clove, citrus, mango, mint, hops
Properties: An abundant terpene in cannabis that is often used in the perfume industry
Effects: Antimicrobial, antiseptic, analgesic antioxidant, anti-carcinogen, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxing
Conditions: infection, heart conditions, depression, muscle and joint issues

Smell/Flavor: Pine needles, rosemary, dill, parsley, basil, hops
Properties: A major component of turpentine
Effects: Mental focus, expectorant, bronchodilator, topical antiseptic
Conditions: ADHD, asthma

Smell/Flavor: Mint, rosemary, candy
Properties: Can be damaging to the liver in high quantities
Effects: Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor
Conditions: Alzheimer’s

Smell/Flavor: Floral, lilac, citrus, apple, orange, lime
Properties: Used in perfumes and soaps for fragrance
Effects: Sedative
Conditions: Insomnia, anxiety, stress
Preserving Cannabis Terpenes in the Production of Cannabis Oil

The many benefits provided by the entourage effect can be lost during processing of the cannabis plant if diligent care is not taken. Constance Pure Botanical Extracts takes extreme measures to ensure high concentrations of the many beneficial compounds extracted from the various parts of the plant are preserved in the final product. In fact, the presence of terpenes is one reason why many of our patient-members find our medical cannabis oils actually taste so good.

Continue browsing our blog and knowledge center to learn more, or contact us today to discuss your California doctor’s recommendation for incorporating cannabis oils in treating your medical condition.

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