How Terpenes Work Synergistically with Cannabinoids

Terpenes are abundant in CBD.

There have been more than


terpenes found in the cannabis plant.

But only the ones in concentrations of


or higher are of interest from a therapeutic perspective, working in conjunction with cannabinoids.

Almost all of the interesting aromas associated with CBD are due to the presence of terpenes. You might be surprised to learn that cannabinoids have no smell whatsoever. Even though cannabinoids get most of the attention when it comes to research, there is something very special about terpenes you need to know: terpenes amplify the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids.

In other words, terpenes work synergistically with cannabinoids. For example, a-pinene helps to build CB2 receptors. These are the receptors in the endocannabinoid system that CBD and other non-THC, i.e non-psychoactive, cannabinoids bind with to modulate the entire immune system. Another terpene example is myrcene; this terpene helps make the cell membranes with CB2 receptors more permeable to cannabinoids interacting at those receptors.

Limonene helps with the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and other body tissue. Limonene is one of the terpenes fairly abundant in CBD oil, and is known to amplify the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids. This terpene acts like a cannabinoid and binds itself directly to CB2 receptors. In doing so, this terpene makes the cannabinoid CBD have a stronger anti-inflammatory effect at those receptors. Because this terpene is not a cannabinoid but acts like one in that it binds to CB2 receptors, it is sometimes referred to as a phytocannabinoid.

We relate this synergistic effect as the “entourage effect.” You can think of terpenes as the “entourage” of cannabinoids, magnifying their effectiveness greatly. This effect is why it is so important that you select a broad spectrum CBD hemp oil that is derived from the whole plant. If you choose a CBD oil that only has a single cannabinoid with no terpenes and no other cannabinoids present, you will not get the full therapeutic benefit of the cannabis plant. This is also why synthetically produced cannabinoids are inferior and have safety concerns unlike broad spectrum CBD hemp oil derived from the whole plant, thereby maximizing purity, strength, and effectiveness due to it containing 100% of organic essential ingredients.

Some scientists call the entourage effect of cannabinoids and terpenes in medical grade CBD oil “polypharmaceutical.” Just as you’d never want to take terpenes in isolation, you don’t want to take cannabinoids in isolation either, similar to how eating foods to get your vitamins works much better than taking synthetic vitamins.

In isolation, cannabinoids are not as effective as they are when terpenes are present. Not only do terpenes amplify the beneficial effects of cannabinoids, they also add additional benefits that add to the holistic effect of taking CBD oil.

The Unique Benefits of CBD- Infused Terpene Oil

CBD is an extremely beneficial cannabinoid, which, over the last few years, has come to be recognized as the component responsible for many of the medicinal effects of cannabis. Terpenes are the essential oils found in the trichome of the cannabis plant, which gives all plants, flowers, and herbs their diverse aromas. Similar to CBD, terpenes have shown to have healing benefits of their own. The combination of these oils with cannabinoids creates an entourage effect, which enhances the effectiveness provided by CBD.


Elegbede JA, Elson CE, Qureshi A, Tanner MA, Gould MN. Inhibition of DMBA-induced mammary cancer by the monoterpene d-limonene. Carcinogenesis 5:661-664 (1984).

Crowell PL, Ren Z, Lin S, Vedejs E, Gould MN. Structureactivity relationships among monoterpene inhibitors of protein isoprenylation and cell proliferation. Biochem Pharmacol 47:1405-1415 (1994).