What are Terpenes and Flavonoids?
You might not have heard of them before trying CBD, but terpenes ands flavonoids are everywhere. Every time you smell a flower or catch a waft of pine in a forest, that’s terpenes doing the work. They’re present in a host of plants, fruits and vegetables, but cannabis sativa is packed with them. They give cannabis strains their distinctive aroma and flavours, but they also have therapeutic effects. For instance linalool, also present in lavender, has been used to promote sleep for centuries. You’ll find them not only in most beauty or aromatic remedies, but also in full spectrum or broad spectrum CBD products naturally. They are added to most CBD products for a natural fragrance.
Terpenes are different from CBD, THC and most of the cannabinoids in the plant. These have no odour, so it is the terpenes that give cannabis its fragrance and flavour.
Flavonoids, on the other hand, give plants their colouration, and have therapeutic properties of their own, so they’re an important contributor to the CBD mix if you are using them for your wellness.
Full and broad spectrum CBD
When you buy CBD, you have a great deal of choice in how the product is formulated. Full spectrum CBD is made from crushing and processing the entire plant, so it contains all the many cannabinoids and terpenes that are present. You’ll find many suppliers mentioning the ‘entourage effect’ where the plant chemicals work together to produce greater beneficial effects.
Broad-spectrum CBD products have all except trace amounts of THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid ingredient in cannabis) removed. Full spectrum has up to 0.2% THC from the parent plant. Both are legal in the UK.
Most CBD products are processed to have just pure CBD (cannabidiol) and maybe one of two other cannabinoids such as CBG (cannabigerol) which are thought to have specific therapeutic effects. They then have terpenes or other flavours added back in to the formulation. If these products also have flavoured oils, such as coconut or hemp oil, then they need to have a balanced flavour profile.
CBD products made from pure CBD isolate can also have more traditional fruit flavours, and so are more suitable for sweets and edibles.
Aficionados of CBD seek out specific terpene flavour combinations for different therapeutic effects. So we’ve listed a few below with the properties that they are thought to have.
So let’s look at just a few of the individual terpenes found in cannabis. Terpenoids, by the way, are the dried and denatured version. You’ll be surprised at how many of them are familiar from other plants. There are hundreds of them in the cannabis plant, but only a handful are dominant and thought to have beneficial effects. Having said that, the minor players may enhance the effects of the dominant chemicals.
Pinene is found in pine needles, along with other conifers, in addition to some citrus fruits, as well as sage and rosemary. The aroma can be considered to be sharp and sweet. Pinene is used in aromatherapy to increase memory and and alertness. Some of its healing properties or therapeutic benefits include its use as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and for asthma. It can dilate blood vessels for better blood flow.
Linalool has a delicate, floral aroma, and it is found in lavender and rosewood, citrus, laurel, and birch. Linalool is thought to have calming, sedative effects and is often used in aromatherapy as a popular sleep aid or anti-anxiety ingredient.
The myrcene aroma can be described as musky, earthy, or herbal, which is something many people have come to associate with cannabis. It is thought to create a drowsy, sleepy effect by making someone feel tired. Outside of hemp and cannabis, it can also be found in mango, thyme, lemongrass, and bay leaves. Research on myrcene include its effects as an antibacterial compound, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antifungal.
The Caryophyllene aroma can be described as spicy, woody, or pepper like. It is often found in cloves, cinnamon, basil, oregano and gives rise to the pungent note of black pepper. It’s unlike any other terpene because it is the only one that is thought to have the ability to directly activate a cannabinoid receptor, especially CB2 receptors. So it may have anxiety reducing and anti-inflammatory properties. But watch out- it is also the chemical that sniffer dogs are trained to sniff out at airports!
Limonene, as the name suggests, has a smell of lemons and citrus fruits. It is thought to be a mood booster and can alleviate emotional turbulence or provide general stress relief. As far as other therapeutic or medical properties, it is believed to be an antifungal agent and anti-inflammatory.
Humulene is another pretty common terpene in cannabis. The aroma that humulene gives off is best described as earthy, woody, or even ‘hoppy’ — not surprisingly as it can be found in hops and coriander. For physical effects, it is known to act as an appetite suppressant. For healing properties, it can be used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and for pain.
Even though it’s common in hemp, little is know about ocimene terpenes. They are used in perfumery for their sweet herbal scent, and are believed to act as a plant defense and have anti-fungal properties.
Rarer terpenes include Sabinene, Phellandrene, Borneol, Isoborneol and Phytol. All have unique, hard to pin down pleasant or woody aromas and therapeutic effects.
What are Flavonoids?
One of the main functions of flavonoids are to provide colouring for plants. Again, you’ll find them throughout the plant kingdom. In the autumn, its flavonoids that give rise to rich autumnal colours once the dominant green chlorophyll disappears.
We’ve listed a selection of our product range with full spectrum CBD including terpenes and flavonoids for you to enjoy.