Terpenes: What Are They and How Do They Work?

Terpenes: What Are They and How Do They Work?

The world of cannabis from which CBD hails is filled with many interesting and science words, from Cannabidiol (the proper name of the CBD you know and love) to the subject of today’s blog: terpenes. Although you won’t find terpenes in any of our current CBD gummies or CBD oils, we’re curious about these compounds ourselves and wanted to share with all of you, too.

Many previously uncommon terms are slowly gaining popularity in mainstream wellness, but terpene might still be a relatively new term to those who are just beginning to explore the intersection of cannabis and wellness. Keep reading for a quick lesson on the compelling compounds known as terpenes!

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are, broadly speaking, natural products produced predominantly by plants. In this case, the term “natural products” refers to a category for any chemical compounds or substance produced by living organisms found in nature. When it comes to terpenes, the main effects that they produce are scents.

You’ll find terpenes in all kinds of foods and drinks, alongside anything that happens to be made from plant material. CBD is not necessarily known for its scents, but CBD’s more famous cousin THC certainly is. But you’re likely already familiar with terpenes for another reason, too: they’re the source of scents in essential oils.

The smell of cannabis is probably one of its most well-known attributes, so finding out about terpenes puts a face to the name. Over 100 unique terpenes have been found in the cannabis plant. Different strains tend to have their own type and composition. The difference between fruity, citrusty, woodsy, and even musky scents? All thanks to terpenes!

Common Terpenes

When terpenes appear in large quantities, they’re known as monoterpenes. Simply because they are naturally abundant, they are also popular ingredients. A short list of common monoterpenes includes:


Limonene comes from lemons! The scent of this terpene is, naturally, citrusy, though it also has a reputation for uplifting and energetic effects.


Beta-caryophyllene comes from black pepper. In the world of terpenes, this one has a rich earthy flavor and is known to promote relaxation.


Linalool is sourced from the lovely lavender plant! This is one of the terpenes you probably already knew about without realizing it was a terpene, as lavender is quite well-known for stimulating feelings of relaxation. 


Pinene is another one of those terpenes that has a name which points to where it comes from: pine trees and other plants! The scent itself is earthy, but the compound is also said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties.

One of the reasons that terpenes are fascinating, and worthy of more research, is that some studies have found terpenes can help cannabinoids work more quickly, enhancing the overall experience – whether that’s for more serious pain relief or simply relaxation – through a process known as the entourage effect. The entourage effect is a persuasive theory that simply states all compounds in cannabis work together. As a result, better effects are achieved when compounds are taken together. 

Terpenes are naturally present in plant materials, so they’re already present in the flower form of cannabis. Terpenes can be added to other forms of cannabis, including CBD oils, concentrates, and edibles like gummies. 

We’re not currently infusing any of our products with terpenes, although we have combined CBD with other compounds to great success in many other ways: our CBD Night Oil is paired with melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep/wake cycles, and our CBD gummies for sleep have the same composition, while our CBD Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies include apple cider vinegar for its gut health benefits! Learn more about all things CBD and if you’re not sure where to start, take our Highline Product Finder Quiz to find your ideal form of CBD.

Katie Salvi
Marketing Manager, Email Marketing Santa Monica, CA