Terpenes – Do I Need to Have Them in My Medical Cannabis?

Posted 6 years ago by Ian Shutts

All plants contain terpenes. They are the essential oils that can be found in all types of plants. These include trees, grass, flowers, and plants like cannabis. Terpenes are an integral part of a plant’s anatomy. They are what give plants their colors, aromas, and flavors.

There are more than 200 types of terpenes found in a cannabis plant. But not all of them are found in a single cannabis strain though. For example, Super Lemon Haze contains eucalyptol. But this terpene isn’t detected in Charlotte’s Web or Strawberry Cough.


The terpene amount also varies in each cannabis strain. Strawberry Cough, for example, has a high terpinolene content. Mango Haze, on the other hand, has a low terpinolene level.

But what is the importance of terpenes in medical cannabis? Furthermore, do you really need to have them in your medical cannabis products?

The Synergistic Effects Between Cannabinoids and Terpenes

In addition to giving cannabis its different colors, aromas, and flavors, terpenes also have beneficial therapeutic effects.

cannabinoids and terpenes synergy

For example, limonene, a terpene with a citrusy aroma, has antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. It also has anti-tumor and antibacterial properties.

Caryophyllene, on the other hand, has potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. It’s also a powerful antibacterial and antifungal agent. Like limonene, caryophyllene also has anti-tumor effects.

Other types of terpenes found in cannabis include linalool, terpinolene, and myrcene. Linalool is like limonene and caryophyllene when it comes to its therapeutic effects. However, it also has anticonvulsant effects.

Myrcene has antibacterial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, and anti-cancer properties. However, it also has a sedating and relaxing effect. It also functions as an antioxidant.

Terpinolene’s effects may be similar to myrcene’s. However, terpinolene also has antifungal properties.

These terpene effects can work synergistically with both CBD and THC. For example, THC and CBD both have anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. If you add limonene, caryophyllene, myrcene, and linalool to the two, you’ll have a powerful agent that can control cancer.

For patients with insomnia caused by anxiety, a cannabis product that contains CBD, myrcene, linalool, and limonene may be able to control both anxiety and insomnia.

If you are suffering from chronic pain, then a cannabis product that contains THC, CBD, caryophyllene, and linalool may be able to relieve your chronic pain.

Terpenes are more than just chemical compounds that add flavor, aroma, and color to plants. They also have therapeutic effects that can benefit our health. They work synergistically with cannabinoids, with one enhancing and boosting the therapeutic effects of the other.

CBD Isolate versus Full Spectrum Medical CBD Products

Due to the confusing legal status of CBD, some medical cannabis products contain only CBD isolates. This means that the product only has CBD in it with no other active compounds like other cannabinoids and terpenes.

CBD as an isolate already has potent therapeutic effects. But it can’t be denied though that CBD’s effects will be enhanced further by adding other cannabinoids and terpenes into the mix.

A medical CBD product that contains other active compounds is called full spectrum. Not only does it have CBD, but it also has other cannabinoids such as THC, THCV, CBDV, CBG, CBC, and CBN. It also contains beneficial terpenes like linalool, limonene, caryophyllene, myrcene, pinene, among others.

full spectrum cbd oil

All these active compounds will work together. They will enhance each other’s therapeutic effects to make a potent agent against acute and chronic medical conditions.

A research study done in Israel’s Hebrew University of Jerusalem stated that a whole plant cannabis extract high in CBD level is far more superior compared to CBD isolates. This study was co-authored by Professor Lumir Hanus. He is an expert analytical chemist who is also an authority in cannabis research and study. In fact, he played an instrumental role in discovering one of our endogenous cannabinoids, anandamide.

In their study, they found that CBD’s therapeutic effects are limited within a certain dose range only. Anything higher or lower than that limited dose range, then CBD’s therapeutic effects will dramatically decline.

However, when they administered a whole plant cannabis extract rich in CBD and other active compounds, they found that there was a direct, dose-dependent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect.

Indeed, CBD’s therapeutic effects were boosted when other active compounds were added. It proved that cannabinoids and terpenes have a therapeutic synergistic effect that will benefit patients best.

So the next time you purchase medical cannabis, see to it that it is a full spectrum CBD extract to get the maximum therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis