16 best CBD terpenes

Table of Contents

Terpene List – Effects And Benefits
  1. Limonene
  2. Myrcene
  3. Linalool
  4. Pinene
  5. Caryophyllene
  6. Terpinene
  7. Guaiol
  8. Nerolidol
  9. Bisabolol
  10. Carene
  11. Eucalyptol
  12. Camphene
  13. Borneol
  14. Terpineol
  15. Valencene
  16. Geraniol

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis plants. Terpenes give each cannabis variety its unique smell and flavor. Individual terpenes also have specific effects on your health and how you feel.  While cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBG get most of the attention, the right terpene profile in a CBD oil or cannabis variety will contribute significantly to their results and your experience.

How can you use terpenes?  Let’s find out.

This guide will help you identify terpenes by their smell and taste. You’ll also learn about their potent mood-altering properties and see first hand what the latest medical studies say about their health benefits.

This is a comprehensive guide to terpenes that are common to both CBD varieties of cannabis and recreational varieties.

If you are looking for information about the effects of a specific terpene and you know its name, try using the table of contents menu above.  Otherwise, continue here to find out exactly how cannabis terpenes work.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • how to use terpenes
  • how to identify terpenes by smell and taste
  • the benefits of the best terpenes
  • how to pair true terpenes and CBD, CBG and THC

If you don’t find an answer in this guide to your question about terpenes, leave us a comment below. We’ll search the published studies to see if an answer exists and get back to you.

Let’s get started.

What You Get From This Guide

After learning about the 16 important terpenes in this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to identify specific terpenes in cannabis by their scent and taste. More importantly, you’ll know what to look for when looking over a terpene profile and use that information to develop an accurate expectation of how a CBD oil or cannabis variety will make you feel.

As soon as you’re done learning the information in this guide, put your new knowledge of terpenes to use. Predict what effects a new cannabis variety will have on you and know the exact reasons why you were right. Learning about terpenes will open a whole new dimension to picking cannabis and CBD oils.  You’ll never think about them the same again.

blue paint on lemon

For example, many CBD cannabis varieties have a strong citrus smell but what causes that smell? Strong lemony scents usually mean a cannabis terpene profile high in the terpene limonene.

Limonene is known for its uplifting effects. CBD varieties high in limonene energize and feel social.  Choose a CBD oil with limonene for strenuous activities where drive and concentration are required. Cannabis varieties high in limonene are perfect for social occasions especially if cannabis usually makes you quiet.

From now on, your knowledge of terpenes will inform every one of your cannabis and CBD decisions. Instead of feeling overwhelmed looking at terpene lab reports, you’ll know how to quickly identify a few key terpenes that really important to you. When you know which terpenes work for you—and why they work—you’ll easily navigate through the hundreds of profiles to key in specifically on what works for you.

120 Terpenes, really?

Yes. Terpene charts show 120 different terpenes are found in cannabis plants. (5) Some studies even report up to 400! The vast majority of those are only present in trace amounts so you don’t need to worry about them. This guide gives you practical knowledge about CBD terpenes that will affect you. We’ve narrowed the list down to 16 important terpenes useful for you.

The 16 terpenes in this list are the ones that affect how you feel they show promising health benefits in clinical trials.

Which terpenes in this guide are the most important? That’s up to you to decide. The real question is: how do you want to feel?

Terpene Definition

Terpenes are the scented organic compounds made by plants. Terpenes are the compounds that give each cannabis variety its unique smell.

  • “Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers, and by some insects.”
  • Interestingly honeybees produce the terpene geraniol which can also be found in cannabis. Bees use geraniol to mark the location of nectar-producing flowers.

hemp terpene properties

Terpenes are mostly created by cannabis flowers or buds. The same terpenes found in CBD cannabis varieties and marijuana are also found in fruits and vegetables. In total, there are over 120 known terpenes in cannabis.

  • “Terpenes have gained public awareness through the growth and education of medical and recreational cannabis.”
  • “Organizations and companies operating in cannabis markets have pushed education and marketing of terpenes in their products as a way to different taste and effects of cannabis.”
  • “The entourage effect, which described the synergy of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds, has also helped further awareness and demand for terpenes and cannabis products.”

terpene health benefits

Terpene Benefits

Medical studies have repeatedly found that significant health and mood benefits can be derived from terpenes. Laboratory studies and clinical studies in humans show terpene health benefits for:

  • inflammation
  • pain relief
  • antioxidant benefits
  • anticonvulsive
  • antidepressant
  • anxiety benefits
  • anticancer
  • antitumor
  • neuroprotective
  • anti-mutagenic
  • anti-allergic
  • antibiotic
  • anti-diabetic (1)

cannabidiol terpene study

According to the 2018 medical study above published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, one of the significant benefits of terpenes is their low toxicity to humans. Terpenes benefits charts show they are used widely in cosmetics and as ingredients in foods.

Entourage Effect

Terpene oil and terpene rich hemp oil are often taken together with cannabinoid extracts like CBD oil. Many consumers use terpene isolates as a way to mask the strong taste of some cannabis extracts in an effort to make them more palatable.

What is the entourage effect?

Consumers sometimes mix terpenes and CBD oil together to increase the effects of CBD. (2) Terpenes mixed with CBD amplify and target the benefits of both the terpenes and the CBD. That’s what is referred to as the “entourage effect,” also called cannabis synergy in the scientific literature.

The cannabis entourage effect is believed to increase the effectiveness of all cannabinoids—including the effects of THC and CBG—though you’ll hear it most frequently used when talking about boosting CBD health benefits.

Medical studies have described what they call the “cannabis synergy effect” that occurs when full-spectrum cannabis extracts (terpenes plus cannabinoids like CBD) are taken together. Cannabis synergy is described as a kind of ‘greater than the sum of its parts’ effect.

The cannabis synergy effect occurs because cannabinoids interact with our bodies in a way that is anything but straight forward. Certain cannabinoids and terpenes reinforce the effects of each other and even prime our bodies to produce even greater effects. Cannabis synergy with regard to CBD and terpenes is referred to frequently throughout the medical literature on cannabis health benefits.

  • “In 1998, Professors Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat posited that the endocannabinoid system demonstrated an “entourage effect” in which a variety of “inactive” metabolites and closely related molecules markedly increased the activity of the primary endogenous cannabinoids…”
  • “They also postulated that this helped to explain how [full spectrum extracts] were often more efficacious than their isolated components.”

cannabidiol boost benefit

The CBD entourage effect is a good thing. It makes your CBD more potent. Making your CBD oil more potent means you either get stronger effects from it or you can use less of it for the same effect. In practice, cannabis synergy usually means that taking a full-spectrum CBD extract is significantly more effective than taking a CBD isolate.

How to get the CBD Entourage Effect

To achieve cannabis synergy or the CBD entourage effect, you’ll need to experiment. Try matching a CBD oil together with different terpene isolates.

  • Use an informed guess based on the information you learn about terpenes in this guide.
  • Aim for the effect you want to achieve by matching terpenes with different cannabis extracts and cannabinoids like CBD and CBG.

It may take some time and experimenting but you’ll know it when it kicks in. When you do make that match, your CBD and terpenes will begin to complement each other in ways that expose how truly powerful cannabinoids can be. If you get your CBD and terpene synergy right, be prepared to dial back your dosage.

sign states this must be the place

Interested in finding out for yourself what the entourage effect feels like? Add the terpene linalool or myrcene to a high-quality CBD oil.  Linalool is found in cannabis but it’s also found in lavender. Studies show that adding linalool to a high-quality CBD oil will give it more than just a pleasant scent, it will make it significantly more relaxing.

Interested in an even more relaxing effect? Need something bordering on a sedative effect to help you sleep? Have you heard of CBN (cannabinol)? It’s another natural cannabinoid similar to CBD. It’s thought to have the strongest sedative effects of all the known cannabinoids. It can be especially useful for someone with sleep-onset insomnia.

anti-anxiety terpene sedative

Terpene couch-lock effect

If your goal in taking CBD oil is to feel relaxed, try looking for a full spectrum extract high in the terpene terpineol or try adding terpineol isolate to your CBD oil.

Terpineol is believed to cause the “couch-lock effect” for which Indica cannabis strains are famous.  (3)  Indica varieties of cannabis are often high in the terpene terpineol.

Entourage effect pain relief

As we touched on earlier, cannabinoids (like CBD and CBG) work together with terpenes to produce strong effects. That’s called cannabis synergy.  Cannabis synergy gained attention in the medical community when clinical trials using cannabinoid isolates instead of full-spectrum botanical products failed to reproduce the strong effects in the lab.

For example, in a randomized controlled trial of a cannabis-based extract, patients with hard to treat pain failed to respond to a THC-dominant extract but responded favorably when a “whole-plant extract with both THC and cannabidiol (CBD)” was administered.

Cannabis synergy is usually the reason full-spectrum hemp extracts have statistically significantly better results than cannabinoid isolates. (4)

  • “In a randomized controlled trial of oromucosal Cannabis-based extracts in patients with intractable pain despite optimized opioid treatment, a THC-predominant extract failed to demarcate favorably from placebo, whereas a whole plant extract…with both THC and cannabidiol (CBD) proved statistically significantly better than both…the only salient difference being the presence of CBD in the latter.”

terpene cannabidiol synergy

Cannabis Terpene Profile

Along with flavonoids, the smell and taste of a cannabis variety are usually determined by its terpene profile. Terpene profile charts and lab reports are usually available from retailers of cannabis products and seed suppliers. While this terpene guide gives you a starting point, finding the best terpene profile for you is a process of enjoyable experimentation.

What CBD cannabis varieties do we recommend to keep your head clear and productive? Check out this guide to CBD cannabis varieties:

anti-anxiety terpene profile

Limonene Terpene

D-Limonene is found in CBD cannabis and citrus fruits. It’s responsible for the strong lemony scent of some cannabis varieties. Clinical trials have found the terpene d limonene has a measurable uplifting effect on mood. CBD cannabis with high levels of limonene is highly recommended for social engagements, outdoor activities, or any occasion where you would benefit from feeling energized.

  • According to a 2016 medical study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, “depressive individuals seem to display a specific preference for citrus fragrances.”
  • “Notably, none of the studies reporting mood-enhancing effects of citrus odors examined subjective judgments of the odors’ quality, although this has been identified to be a key factor determining the emotional response to odors.”

terpene benefits uplifting effects

Limonene Effects

Cannabis strains high in limonene are easily identified by their lemon-like smell with some even have a strong citrus after taste.

The terpene limonene is fast-acting. It provides a quick pick-me-up and a subtle mood lift. (6)

  • Medical trials have shown that cannabis varieties with pleasant-smelling terpenes like limonene may make you feel happier especially during stressful events. (7)

terpene effects guide

D-Limonene entourage effect

You may want to try mixing limonene with different cannabinoids like CBG (cannabigerol).

  • The combination of the limonene and CBG has significant entourage effects.
  • Taken together, CBG and limonene can be relaxing for the body and uplifting for mood.

CBG is a special cannabinoid. It is the only known cannabinoid that affects how adrenaline is absorbed by the body. Adrenaline is believed to play an important role in causing a symptom of anxiety called hypervigilance. Hypervigilance feels like always needing to be on guard even in safe situations where that feeling isn’t appropriate or healthy. CBG is believed to relieve anxiety, in part, by modulating the way your body absorbs adrenaline (noradrenaline) so you don’t always feel on guard.

Limonene helps to amplify and target the effects of CBG and add its own mood lift.  The effects of CBG and limonene together is an example of what is known as the terpene entourage effect or cannabis synergy.

Entourage Effect definition: Terpenes and cannabinoids (like CBD and CBG) working together to amplify and target the benefits of each compound. (8)

With the entourage effect, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.  The entourage effect is also called “cannabis synergy.” Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids produced by cannabis plants are known to have an intensifying effect when taken together.

cannabidiol terpene synergy

Maximizing the terpene entourage effect will help you to get the most benefit from your CBD and help you use CBD oil most efficiently.

According to the medical study below, cannabis synergy effectively increases the strength of your CBD products. (9)

terpene entourage effect example

As you can see from the terpene profile for the Kashmir Blue cannabis variety, breeders of medical cannabis selectively cross plants for cannabinoid and terpene traits.

limonene hemp terpene

Medical studies show cannabis varieties with significant quantities of limonene fight stress, anxiety, and depression. Interestingly, animal studies show limonene even boosts confidence in stressful situations. (10)

terpene chemovar strain breeding

Limonene Benefits

Limonene cancer effects

D-limonene may have cancer-preventive properties.

  • According to a medical study published in the journal Alternative Medicine Review, evidence from a “phase 1 clinical trial demonstrated a partial response in a patient with breast cancer and stable disease for more than six months in three patients with colorectal cancer.”  (11)

terpene health benefits

Limonene anti-inflammatory effects

Limonene has strong anti-inflammatory properties that may be good for everything from arthritis to premature brain aging.

  • Limonene’s anti-inflammatory and cholesterol dissolving properties may be helpful to cardiovascular health.
  • Limonene has been used clinically to dissolve cholesterol-containing gallstones.

Limonene digestive effects

Limonene may benefit gut disorders.

  • D-Limonene’s “gastric acid neutralizing effect and its support of normal peristalsis, it has also been used for relief of heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).” (12)

terpene heart benefit

  • Several medical studies show how limonene may reduce heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD) which can be an important consideration for someone consuming hemp oils.
  • In one clinical study, by day 14 of taking limonene capsules 86% of patients “achieved complete relief of symptoms, compared to 29% of participants” who were taking placebo. (13)

limonene heartburn effects

Limonene skincare effects

Though unproven, it is widely thought limonene has benefits for weight control and skincare. Interested in using CBD in your skincare routine? This 2020 medical study shows CBD cream has potential skincare benefits for inflammatory skin conditions and scarring.

terpene health benefits

Limonene Adverse Effects

If you like citrus fruits, you are already consuming some amount of the terpene d-limonene.

Limonene is considered to have low human toxicity. Limonene has minimal to no adverse effects in normal consumption patterns. (14)

limonene terpene toxicity

Myrcene Terpene

B-Myrcene is found in cannabis and mangos. It’s of the terpenes that cause fruity some cannabis varieties to have a fruity smell.  Myrcene effects can be powerfully relaxing. Myrcene has been used for centuries throughout Oceania and Africa to relieve pain and inflammation. If difficulty sleeping is one of the reasons you’re researching terpenes or cannabis, try looking for a full spectrum CBD oil high in myrcene to help with sleep.

Myrcene Smell And Taste

Beta myrcene is found in numerous CBD cannabis strains. It’s also found in high concentrations in fruits like mango. Myrcene makes up a sizable percentage of the essential oil that can be distilled from cannabis. If your CBD flower has a “fruity” scent, it’s likely myrcene you’re smelling.

  • “One Swiss study of the chemical composition of the fragrance of Cannabis sativa found B-myrcene to compose between 29.4% and 65.8% of the steam-distilled essential oil for the set of fiber and drug strains tested.”

Myrcene Effects

Myrcene affects are usually associated with sedation. Try mixing myrcene isolate with cannabinoids like CBD or CBG. Adding myrcene will increase the relaxing effects and may help with anxiety relief.

  • Myrcene is a “recognized sedative” and used as a sleep aid in traditional German hops preparations.
  • In animal studies, “myrcene acted as a muscle relaxant in mice” and increased sleep time when presented in high doses.  (15)
  • “Together, these data would support the hypothesis that myrcene is a prominent sedative terpenoid in cannabis, and combined with THC, may produce the ‘couch-lock” phenomenon…” according to a medical study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. terpene anti-anxiety benefits

Myrcene Entourage Effect

Myrcene helps your body uptake and make use of cannabinoids like CBD more effectively.

Myrcene Benefits

Myrcene pain relief effects

Myrcene oil has been used for centuries in traditional and indigenous medicine systems to relieve pain. (17)

  •  Components of plant secondary metabolomes have been used in traditional and indigenous medical systems for pain management for centuries. Examples include Chinese Traditional Medical System formulations, Japanese Kamp, African system, indigenous Pacific and Oceanic systems, and Indian Ayurveda.

myrcene cannabidiol therapy

Myrcene anti-inflammatory effects

Beyond myrcene benefits for pain relief, B-myrcene has anti-inflammatory effects and muscle relaxing properties.

  • When present in high doses, myrcene may act as a powerful sedative. (18)
  • Myrcene isolates taken with CBN (cannabinol) have been reported to have sedative effects comparable to valium.

anti-anxiety terpene mood benefits

Myrcene muscle relaxer effects

Is myrcene the terpene that causes the sedative “couch-lock” effect in Indica varieties of cannabis? Some scientists think so.

  • They point to data that show myrcene can act as a muscle relaxer to “support the hypothesis that myrcene is a prominent sedative terpenoid in cannabis, [and when] combined with THC, may produce the ‘couch-lock” phenomenon” that is both loved and hated by recreational cannabis consumers. (19) sedative effect

Myrcene anti-anxiety effects

B-Myrcene is one of the terpenes specifically mentioned in several studies as having anxiety decreasing effects.

myrcene entourage effect

Myrcene sleep benefits

If difficulty getting to sleep is one reason your researching myrcene effects, try taking myrcene oil with CBN.

  • Both CBN and myrcene have strong sedative effects that could lead to sleep.
  • Myrcene seems to be especially useful with a type of insomnia called sleep-onset insomnia. In many cases, sleep-onset insomnia is caused by anxiety.

Or, if you’ve had a particularly crushing day, you might try adding myrcene to your evening routine for relaxation. CBD oil mixed with myrcene should make you pleasantly ready for a restful evening.

Linalool Terpene

Linalool is a naturally occurring terpene found in over 200 plant species as well as cannabis. Linalool’s scent is similar to lavender. Linalool oil is used as a scenting agent in fragrances and bath products. Linalool effects are described as calming. Some evidence from medical studies points to linalools relaxing effects being the result of the terpene’s pleasing scent as opposed to an actual chemical property of the compound.

Notably, linalool is used as a scenting agent in 60% to 80% of scented soap, shampoo, and skin cream products.

linalool uses

Linalool Smell and Taste

Linalool is a lavender-scented terpene found in many herbs including several cannabis varieties.

  • Linalool is found in over 200 species of plants.
  • It is one of the most abundant terpenes on earth.
  • Some fruits and vegetables contain very high concentrations of linalool.
  • You are most likely already consuming some amount of linalool from a dietary source. linalool properties

Linalool Effects

Linalool has been used by people throughout history as traditional medicine.

  • Linalool is believed to have relaxing or calming effects.
  • In indigenous systems of medicine, linalool’s effects range from anxiety relief to anti-bacterial benefits.

Linalool anxiety effects

A 2017 medical study published in The Mental Health Clinician reported early beliefs that linalool possessed anxiety effects “have been supported recently by clinical data” but other studies have produced inconclusive results. (21)

  • Linalool “is purported to be antibacterial, antifungal, [anti-anxiety], antidepressant, analgesic, [flatulence relieving], as well as to have beneficial immunomodulatory effects on wound healing.” linalool health benefitsAs with lavender, linalool is thought to have a natural sedative effect that may make it helpful at eliminating daily stress and anxiety. (22)linalool anxiety benefitsMedical studies have found that linalool, as part of lavender oil, may be effective “in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including subsyndromal anxiety disorder, GAD, restlessness, and agitation with disturbed sleep and Mixed Anxiety and Depressive Disorder.” (23)linalool anxiety treatment

Linalool cancer effects

Linalool boosts the immune system and has promising cancer-fighting effects.

  • Medical studies show linalool may help kill cancer cells and provide protection from tumors.
  • A 2014 medical study published in the journal Molecules found that “linalool can have cytotoxic effects by inducing cells to under apoptosis and triggering cell death” in cancerous cells. (24) linalool cancer benefits

Linalool immune system effects

Studies suggest linalool boosts the immune system by decreasing the effects of stress.

  • Stress can severely impact the immune system and its ability to fight off pathogens.
  • Lack of sleep and stress-induced inflammation are precursors to infection. (25)
  • Linalool’s reported ability to decrease stress may have positive effects on the overall good functioning of the immune system.
  • Linalool is also believed by medical science to affect the distribution of white blood cells. White blood cells are the body’s immune system response to infection. Linalool may put the immune system in a better position to repel infection at its earliest stages by helping the effective distribution of white blood cells. terpene stress anxiety benefits

Linalool And CBD Work Together

‘Boosting the body’s own regulatory systems’ is a frequent theme with terpenes and CBD.

  • Reinforcing the good functioning of your natural regulatory systems is central to CBD and terpene benefits. (26)
  • “The endocannabinoid system is involved in a host of homeostatic and physiologic functions, including modulation of pain and inflammation.” linalool health benefits

CBD has wide-ranging effects because it mimics a naturally occurring chemical called anandamide.

  • Your body recognizes CBD as if it were the “endogenous” cannabinoid anandamide.
  • Anandamide is used in your body’s endocannabinoid system to send on/off signals to regulatory subsystems.
  • The goal of your endocannabinoid system is to maintain the chemical balance of your body.
  • Consuming CBD boosts the natural signaling capacity of your endocannabinoid system to affect how you feel.
  • “Exogenous plant-based cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) and chemically related compounds, like the terpenes commonly found in many foods, have been found to exert significant analgesic effects in various chronic pain conditions.”

linalool cannabidiol benefits

Your endocannabinoid system is critical to your overall health. It’s the system that turns other specialized systems on and off to control how you feel and the critical functions of your body.  Likewise, the endocannabinoid system’s improper function has been linked to conditions including chronic pain, inflammation, and anxiety.

terpene medical study nih

Terpenes and CBD increase the effective functioning of your endocannabinoid system. (27) Linalool works together with CBD to effect systems that can restore chemical balance to your body. Together, they make your ECS work better and the result is you feel better.

Linalool Safety And Toxicity

Linalool is non-toxic to humans in common dosages.

  • Linalool can be an eye and skin irritant at very high concentrations.
  • Linalool can cause allergic reactions in a small percentage of the population.
  • “Some 7% of people undergoing patch testing in Europe were found to be allergic to the oxidized form of linalool.” (20)
  • Within the body, linalool breaks down and is expelled quickly by the body.

terpene adverse effects

Linalool side effects

Linalool’s side effects are few.

  • Linalool is considered a generally safe compound when used as a food additive according to the FDA. (28)
  • “Lavender essential oil has been granted Generally Recognized as Safe status by the Food and Drug Administration, which means that it is safe when used for its intended purpose as a food additive.”

linalool adverse effects

Pinene Terpene

Ever wonder where cannabis gets its piney scent? That’s the smell of the terpene pinene.  Together, Alpha-pinene and beta-pinene are among the most common terpenes found in cannabis. They’re also found in 40 essential oils and several food crops.

alpha-Pinene is colorless and will not dissolve in water. It does dissolve in oil and ethanol. Alpha pinene has significant benefits including anti-anxiety effects, pain relief, anti-inflammation effects and may even help with memory.

beta-Pinene is colorless and water-insoluble but will dissolve in oil and ethanol. Beta pinene is mostly used as a flavoring agent in baked goods.

Pinene Smell And Taste

Pinene has a strong and distinctive pine-like scent.

Pinene is the dominant terpenes represented in many cannabis terpene profiles, including several famous varieties.

  • Click on the terpene chart below to see Suver Haze’s terpene profile.
  • Notice that alpha-pinene and beta-pinene make up nearly half of the entire terpene list.

Cannabidiol terpene profile

Like other terpenes, pinene is found in many plant species and food crops.

  • Pinene is a major component of essential oils from sage.
  • Pinene is present in foods such as pine nuts, orange peels, rosemary, dill, and basil.

Pinene Effects

a-Pinene anti-inflammatory effects

According to a 2017 medical study published in the journal Toxicological Research, alpha-pinene has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

  • Alpha pinene’s anti-inflammatory benefits may help relieve pain caused by inflammation.  (29)
  • “a-Pinene, found in oils of coniferous trees and rosemary, showed anti-inflammatory activity by decreasing the activity of [MAPKs]…”

pinene analgesic benefit

Additional anti-inflammatory effects of pinene identified in the medical literature include a bronchodilator effect that can open lung airways even at low doses.

pinene health study

a-Pinene anticancer effects

In laboratory studies, alpha-pinene appears to have wide-ranging cancer benefits.

  • Pinene showed strong anti-tumor effects in primary liver cancers (hepatocellular carcinoma) as well as anti-metastatic properties that may be applicable to melanoma type cancers.

This is early-stage research into pinene effects on cancer. Further research is required before any conclusions can be reached about potential pinene benefits for cancer.

That said, in a 2017 medical study alpha-pinene showed substantial effects when used together with conventional pharmaceutical treatments for non-small cell lung carcinoma. Alpha Pinene showed some benefit for ovarian cancer cell lines and a type of brain cancer called N2a neuroblastoma cells.

  • Anti-tumor effects of pinenes are well established on tumor lymphocytes as well as tumor cell lines,” according to a 2017 study published in the journal Toxicological Research.

 a-Pinene anxiety effects

CBD mixtures high in alpha pinene may fight stress and anxiety as well.

a-Pinene pain relief effects

Medical studies suggest pinene may have benefits for hard to treat pain with clinical applications describing potential anesthetic-like effects. (33)

terpene pain relief therapy

While pinene may have specific benefits for difficult to treat pain, it’s not the only terpene with important painkilling effects.  Pinene is only one of a group of terpenes found in cannabis with significant analgesic benefits. That group includes caryophyllene, myrcene, linalool, and limonene, as well as several others.

pinene pain benefit

a-Pinene health effects

Pinene appears to have antioxidant benefits, anticoagulant properties, gastrointestinal benefits, and an impressively long list of potential benefits as described in the 2019 medical study above published in the journal Biomolecules.

Pinene is believed by many in the medical community to have vast therapeutic potential including:

  • gastroprotective effects
  • neuroprotective effects
  • anti-anxiety effects
  • oxidative stress-protective effects
  • pancreatitis effects
  • dental pain (34)

pinene health benefits

The 2019 study below calls pinene a “miracle” compound for its potential therapeutic benefits. (35)

Pinene Entourage Effect

One of the more ordinary benefits of pinene terpenes comes from mixing them with CBD oil. Pinene can significantly improve the taste of full-spectrum extracts.

Even more importantly, mixing pinene together with CBD oil will extend and strengthen the effects of CBD. (30)  That’s an example of the cannabinoid and terpene interaction called the entourage effect.

  • “Particular focus will be placed on phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions that could produce synergy with respect to the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections…” according to a study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology.

phytocannabinoid entourage effect

Pinene taken together with whole CBD extract has stronger anti-inflammatory properties than when consumed alone. For example, full-spectrum CBD oil with the plant’s whole contingent of terpenes and cannabinoids has significantly stronger effects than distilled isolates. This is due to beneficial interactions with terpenes and minor cannabinoids like CBC and CBG. (31)

Pinene Dosage

Cannabis with terpene profiles high in pinene will have different effects on different people. If you start taking pinene extract, like pinene oil, start off slowly.

  • Pinene is consumed regularly in fruits and vegetables and believed to have minimal side effects when consumed in quantities you’d expect to find in food or cannabis flower.
  • Extracts are a concentrated form of pinene and should be used with caution.
  • Overtime increase or decrease your pinene dosage as you feel appropriate.
  • Alpha-Pinene and beta-Pinene “are rapidly metabolized and eliminated from the body due to their volatile nature.”

pinene dosage safety

Pinene Adverse Effects

The safety profile of both alpha-pinene and beta-pinene is considered outstanding.

  • Pinene has minimal side effects and when consumed as food it is regarded as generally safe.
  • There exists some guidance on inhalation hazards but not in concentrations you could expect to find in cannabis or hemp plant material. (36)

terpene adverse effects

Caryophyllene Terpene

beta-Caryophyllene is a naturally occurring terpene found in CBD cannabis as well as hops, cloves, and herbs.

  • Caryophyllene has a spicy taste similar to black pepper.
  • Caryophyllene has significant pain and inflammation relieving benefits.
  • Caryophyllene may make opioid painkillers more effective at lower dosages thus decreasing the potential for opiate addiction.
  • Caryophyllene is recognized as a generally safe food additive by the FDA.

caryophyllene is a terpene found in cannabis and hops

Caryophyllene Smell And Taste

Beta Caryophyllene’s flavor can be spicy and its scent is similar to black pepper.

  • It is found in spices like black pepper, hops, cloves, basil, and rosemary.
  • Caryophyllene is found in many essential oils including clove oil.

terpene caryophyllene description

Caryophyllene Effects

Caryophyllene pain-relieving effect

b-Caryophyllene’s most significant effect may be its benefits for hard-to-treat pain.

  • According to a 2016 study in the journal Cancer Medicine, caryophyllene has the ability to “reduce pain, without causing psychoactive side effects, as other CB1 agonists do, which makes it particularly valuable in chronic pain treatment.” (38) caryophyllene analgesic benefit

According to the 2013 medical study below, caryophyllene has substantial pain-relieving properties when taken together with cannabinoids like CBD and potentially CBG. (39)

  • “[CBD] and B-caryophyllene, delivered by the oral route appear to be promising candidates for the treatment of chronic pain due to their high safety and low adverse effects profiles.”

image text quoted immediately above image

Caryophyllene’s pain-relieving properties appear to be amplified when consumed orally with CBD. This is an example of cannabis synergy or the entourage effect where cannabinoids and terpenes are taken together to extend and strengthen their effects.

Caryophyllene anti-inflammatory effect

b-Caryophyllene has significant anti-inflammatory properties.

  • In animal studies, caryophyllene’s anti-inflammatory effects may protect the brain from premature aging. (41)
  • The 2019 study below shows caryophyllene may have benefits for neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and age-related cognitive decline.
  • “B-caryophyllene (BCP) is a cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2) agonist with established anti-inflammatory effects that [are] known to improve memory and increase lifespan.”

caryophyllene anti-inflammatory effects

Caryophyllene’s benefits likely result from its interaction with the CB2 receptor.

  • The CB2 receptor is an important part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
  • The CB2 receptor is the same part of the nervous system that CBD interacts with so it would stand to reason that the two might be complementary when taken together.

b-caryophyllene’s activation of the CB2 receptor may have benefits for treating multiple sclerosis as well as “analgesic, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anti-depressive, anxiolytic, and anti-nephrotoxicity effects.” (42)

terpene health benefits

The anti-inflammatory effects of caryophyllene may help gut and bowel disorders (such as IBS).

  • In animal studies of Colitis, caryophyllene reduced symptoms and sped recovery. (46)
  • “Corroborating a previous report, the present study demonstrated that [beta-caryophyllene], given orally, consistently ameliorated the inflammatory signs associated with DSS-induced colitis, such as decreased body weight and colon length and increased colonic tissue damage, in both therapeutic and preventive treatment.” caryophyllene IBD benefit

Caryophyllene neuroprotective effects

Caryophyllene has significant abilities to protect the brain.

  • b-Caryophyllene may have benefits for Alzheimer’s and dementia according to a 2018 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research. (43)

terpene health benefits

Caryophyllene’s potential effects on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease result from its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

  • Caryophyllene has a “protective role in a number of nervous system-related disorders including pain, anxiety, spasm, convulsions, depression, alcoholism, and Alzheimer’s disease.” (44) terpene health studyMore study is needed to determine the exact benefits that caryophyllene may have for neurodegenerative diseases.

Caryophyllene addiction effects

Caryophyllene may help those with opioid dependence.

  • Similar to the cannabis synergy effect, caryophyllene increases the analgesic effects of low dose narcotic painkillers. (45)
  • “Morphine-induced antinociception was increased by a low dose of [beta-caryophyllene]. The increased effect of morphine in combination with [b-caryophyllene] was antagonized significantly by pretreatment with naloxone.”
  • For those taking opioid-based painkillers, it appears that taking a small amount of caryophyllene along with the painkiller can increase the analgesic effects of both. Ideally, this would decrease the likelihood of developing a dependency on narcotic painkillers because a patient could receive the same painkilling effect while consuming less of the potentially addictive narcotic. caryophyllene painkiller benefit

Caryophyllene Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is an important part of your central nervous system. Your endocannabinoid system is present throughout your brain, spine, and extremities. It is the signaling system that turns on and off other important regulatory subsystems throughout your body.

Caryophyllene, similar to CBD, appears to function as a signaling compound within your endocannabinoid system. It relays on/off regulatory signals throughout your body. When your endocannabinoid system is functioning properly, it keeps your body in good working order and chemical balance.

It is believed that CBD and terpenes like caryophyllene have the ability to increase signaling within your endocannabinoid system by reacting with specialized receptors called CB2 receptors.  They have far-reaching effects that help return your body to balance by turning on and off regulatory subsystems.  That’s the key to how CBD and certain terpenes work. They interact with your endocannabinoid system to boost its regulatory potential.

Interested in learning more about the endocannabinoid system? Check out this guide.

cbd endocannabinoid system guide based on 2020 medical studies

Caryophyllene Entourage Effect

Caryophyllene is frequently mentioned in connection with the terpene entourage effect and cannabis synergy.

  • The entourage effect maximizes both terpene and cannabinoid benefits when the two are consumed together. (47)
  • Consumed with cannabinoids like CBD and CBG, caryophyllene has powerful synergistic effects that may lead to significantly decreased inflammation, pain, and other benefits.

hemp entourage effect

Caryophyllene Adverse Effects

Caryophyllene is one of the safest terpenes to consume as food.

  • The FDA considers caryophyllene one of the safest terpenes. (37)
  • Caryophyllene is recognized by the FDA as being a “generally safe” substance with minimal side effects when consumed as food.

terpene adverse effects

Terpinene Terpene

Terpinene is one of the most exotic terpenes found in CBD cannabis.

  • Terpinene is found in many cannabis strains but only in small quantities.
  • Terpinene may be helpful in CBD creams
  • Terpinene oil can also be distilled from the spices marjoram and cardamom.
  • Terpinene is one of the few terpenes that may have mild anxiety-causing effects.
  • Terpinene has significant antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that may make it an ideal addition to CBD creams.

Terpinene Smell And Taste

Terpinene isolate is a colorless liquid that smells like turpentine.
It’s found infrequently in fruits and vegetables but is in several cannabis varieties.
In industrial applications, terpinene is mainly “used to confer pleasant odor to industrial fluids.”

terpinene smell taste

Terpinene Effects

Terpinene skincare effects

According to this May 2019 medical study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Sciences, terpinene has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that may be useful additions to topical creams.

  • Terpinene may have benefits for “the treatment of acne or atopic dermatitis.” (48)

terpene skincare medical study

Terpinene anxiety effects

If you’re susceptible to anxiety caused by cannabis, you may want to avoid CBD varieties with high levels of terpinene.

  • When terpinene is consumed as part of smoking cannabis, it may have mild but significant anxiety-causing effects.  (49)
  • Guaiol is another terpene believed to have significant anxiety-causing effects.

terpene anxiety chemovar

A large 2018 survey of medical marijuana patients from a single dispensary, reports CBD cannabis with terpinene to have anxiety-causing effects along with the terpenes, guaiol, eucalyptol, phellandrene, carene, and sabinene.

  • “Trans-nerolidol has a significant correlation with increased anxiolytic activity, while guaiol, eucalyptol, y-terpinene, a-phellandrene, 3-carene, and sabinene hydrate [had] significant negative correlations.”

terpene anxiety benefits

Guaiol Terpene

Guaiol (pronounced “gweye-all”) is a naturally occurring alcohol-based terpene found in CBD cannabis.

  • It’s also found in cypress pines.
  • Guaiol has a sweet flavor similar to plums.
  • Several popular cannabis varieties contain guaiol but only in low concentrations.
  • Guaiol has been identified in medical studies to have anxiety-causing effects.

guaiol terpene characteristics

Guaiol Smell And Taste

Guaiol’s scent is flowery with hints of rose. Guaiol’s flavor is fruity and sweet similar to plums.

guaiol characteristics

Guaiol Effects

Guaiol historical benefits

Guaiol is a traditional medicine with a long history in Chinese medicine.

  • Guaiol was used for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. (50)
  • Historically, guaiol has been used to treat diseases such as Gout, Arthritis, and the common sore throat.
  • Guaiol was also believed to have the ability to lower high blood pressure though there is little evidence to support that historical claim.

guaiol antibiotic benefit

Guaiol cancer effects

In modern times, guaiol has been investigated for its potential cancer-fighting properties.

terpene lung cancer benefit

Guaiol anxiety effects

A 2018 medical study of cannabis patients correlated survey responses with the known terpene profiles of cannabis produced at a single Canadian medical cannabis dispensary.

The goal of this study was to associate reported anxiety effects with specific terpenes in a statistically significant way. The study clearly linked guaiol with increased feelings of anxiety. In fact, Guaiol was the only major terpene “with a ‘perfect’ correlation” to reported anxiety-causing effects.

Overall cannabis was rated 8.03/10 for its anxiety-relieving ability although it would appear that guaiol is an important terpene to avoid if you want to reduce anxiety with cannabis. This information is of special importance to CBD consumers since so many use CBD for anxiety relief.

terpene anxiety effects

Interested in the science underlying CBD and terpene effects on anxiety? Check out the latest medical evidence of CBD effects on anxiety.

guaiol anxiogenic effect

Guaiol pain-relieving effects

Guaiol appears to be a terpene you’ll also want to avoid if you’re taking CBD or cannabis for pain relief.

  • Guaiol was reported to have anti-analgesic effects in a 2018 medical study in the journal Frontiers In Neuroscience.
  • This means guaiol may block the painkilling effects of CBD, cannabinoids, and other painkillers. (52) terpene painkiller properties

Different types of pains call for different CBD delivery mechanisms. CBD for pain can be delivered orally via an extract or topically in a CBD cream.

In the next sections, you’ll find out how to make CBD cream significantly more effective with the terpene trans-nerolidol.

Nerolidol Terpene

CBD topicals with the terpene nerolidol increase the total amount of CBD absorbed through the skin.

  • Trans-nerolidol helps compounds like CBD penetrate the skin.
  • CBD creams with trans-nerolidol cross the skin barrier up to 1956% more efficiently.
  • Adding trans-nerolidol may make your CBD cream more effective against pain.

Nerolidol is considered an exotic cannabis terpene and rarely found except for a few varieties including Skywalker OG and Jack Herer.

  • Trans-nerolidol is found in small quantities in cannabis.
  • Nerolidol is found in several food crops. It can be found in jasmine, ginger, lavender, and the tea-tree.

terpene skin benefits

Nerolidol Smell And Taste

Nerolidol’s scent is described as sweet and flowery. Its taste is fruit-like with some consumers saying it tastes similar to citrus.

Nerolidol Uses

Nerolidol is used in industrial applications and cooking.

  • Nerolidol is safe when consumed as a food flavoring agent and in cosmetics. (53) terpene skin care

Nerolidol Effects

Nerolidol pain-relieving effects

Trans-nerolidol may help amplify the pain-relieving effects of topical CBD.

  • Trans-nerolidol has properties that help organic compounds like CBD penetrate the skin for a deeper application of CBD. According to a 2016 medical study in the journal Molecules, CBD creams with trans-nerolidol may have increased absorption efficiency. (54)

In fact, nerolidol’s skin-penetrating effects increase the efficiency of CBD absorption through the skin and dispersal by up to 1956%!

terpene skin benefits

The addition of the single terpene trans-nerolidol to your CBD cream may make all the ingredients more effective especially for pain relief.

Nerolidol antioxidant effects

Nerolidol is a powerful anti-oxidant. (55)

  • The trans-nerolidol terpene has potent antioxidant effects “in counterbalancing the effect of ROS by protecting the cells against oxidative damage to lipids, proteins, and DNA.”

terpene health benefits

Nerolidol anti-microbial effects

Trans-nerolidol has anti-microbial effects that are good for killing drug-resistant bacteria strains like Staph.

  • Nerolidol also may be helpful for skin conditions caused by hard-to-treat bacterial infections. (56)

Nerolidol “possessed antibacterial activity against various strains of Staphylococcus aureus including MRSA by disrupting the cell membranes…”

terpene health benefits

Nerolidol anti-fungal effects

Nerolidol has strong antifungal effects.

  • Nerolidol fights both human and plant fungal diseases. (57)

“Besides its anti-fungal effect against human pathogens, nerolidol also shows promising outcomes in controlling fungal infections in plants caused by phytopathogenic fungi,” according to a 2016 study published in the journal Molecules.

terpene health study

Nerolidol cancer effects

The same 2016 medical study showed nerolidol has anti-cancer properties in animals.

  • Nerolidol’s cancer-fighting properties have not yet been tested clinically in humans. (58)
  • More study is needed to determine whether or not nerolidol cancer benefits are for specific types of cancer in humans.

terpene cancer benefits

Bisabolol Terpene

Bisabolol also called alpha bisabolol is a naturally occurring terpene found in CBD cannabis

  • Bisabolol is also found in essential oils from chamomile.
  • Bisabolol has a flowery scent with a mild and sweet taste.
  • Consume bisabolol with CBD oil for increased relaxation and better sleep.
  • Bisabolol has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects which make it a useful addition to CBD creams.

Bisabolol Smell and Taste

It has a weak flowery scent and a taste that is mild and sweet.

  • Bisabolol is the primary ingredient in essential oils from chamomile flowers.
  • Bisabolol has been used for centuries as a scenting agent in cosmetics because of its skincare benefits. bisabolol terpene properties

Bisabolol Effects

Bisabolol skincare effects

Bisabolol has powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects.  (59)

  • Bisabolol skincare benefits may be useful in treating inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, according to the 2014 medical study in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. (60)
  • a-Bisabolol “may be a useful therapeutic candidate for the treatment of skin inflammation.”

bisabolol health benefits

Bisabolol cosmetics benefits

Bisabolol has been used in skincare remedies for hundreds of years.

  • Bisabolol’s anti-irritant and skin healing benefits have recently been recognized by the modern cosmetics industry. (62)
  • Bisabolol appears to have several benefits for treating skin conditions such as insect bites, wounds, some rashes, and general skin irritation. bisabolol skincare benefits

Bisabolol Adverse Effects

In rare cases, bisabolol has caused contact allergies while being used for skin inflammatory conditions, according to a 2013 medical study in the journal Advances In Dermatology And Allergology.

If you have had reactions to chamomile, then there is a good chance you may be allergic to bisabolol. Bisabolol is the main active ingredient in chamomile containing products.

It’s a good idea to proceed slowly when trying new terpenes and cautiously approach your target terpene dosage.

terpene side effects allergy

Carene Terpene

Carene, also known as delta 3 carene, is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis.

  • Carene is also found in basil.
  • Carene has a bitter after taste and a sweet scent.
  • Carene’s effects include significant anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Carene has been medically investigated for its potential to treat acute skin inflammation.
  • Carene is frequently used in cosmetics.
  • Carene believed to have a natural antihistamine effect.

Carene Smell And Taste

Carene’s taste is fresh piney with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

  • “Carene has a sweet and pungent odor best described as fir needles, musky earth, and damp woodlands combination.”

carene terpene properties

Carene Effects

Carene for cosmetics

Delta 3 carene, a variant of carene, is used in cosmetics.

  • Delta 3 carene is believed to have natural antihistamine effects.
  • In this medical study published in The Journal Parmazie, carene was examined as a potential treatment for acute skin inflammation. (62)
  • Delta 3 Carene has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial benefits. (64)

terpene inflammation treatment

Carene arthritis effects

In animal models, Delta 3 Carene has shown bone healing benefits. (63)

  • Carene has excellent anti-inflammatory effects that may make it suitable for individuals with arthritis. (61)
  • Carene may be helpful to individuals with osteoporosis or arthritis. Further study is needed to prove efficacy.

carene bone health

Eucalyptol Terpene

Eucalyptol is found in small quantities in cannabis.

  • Eucalyptol is also found in sweet basil, bay leaves, wormwood, rosemary, and common sage.
  • Eucalyptol has respiratory effects and anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Along with the terpene guaiol, eucalyptol has been linked to potential anxiety-causing effects.

Eucalyptol Smell And Taste

Eucalyptol has a minty smell that is also slightly spicy. Eucalyptol’s taste is cooling.

  • “Because of its pleasant, spicy aroma and taste, eucalyptol is used in flavorings, fragrances, and cosmetics.” eucalyptol properties

Eucalyptol Effects

Eucalyptol pain-relieving effects

A 2017 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology, found that eucalyptol has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties in animals. (65)

Eucalyptol gastroprotective effects

Eucalyptol’s most significant benefit may be its gastroprotective effects.

  • Eucalyptol causes an increase in gastric mucus production which can be protective of the stomach and intestines.
  • Eucalyptol also seems to promote faster healing of gastric lining tissue. (66) terpene ulcer benefit

Additionally, eucalyptol (also known as 8-cineole) has been examined for:

  • antimicrobial
  • antifungal
  • insecticidal properties  (65)

gastroprotective antimicrobial anti-fungal

That said, Eucalyptol makes up less than .06% of the complete terpene profile of most cannabis varieties. If you are interested in consuming larger quantities use due caution. Eucalyptol can be toxic if consumed in larger quantities.

Eucalyptol Adverse Effects

Although it is used as a flavoring agent in baked goods, eucalyptol can be toxic if ingested in larger quantities.

eucalyptol terpene toxicity

Interested in learning more about the safety and toxicity of eucalyptol? Check out the European Commission’s guide for detailed information about eucalyptol toxicity in humans.

Camphene Terpene

Camphene is a naturally occurring terpene found in cannabis.

  • Camphene has a musky earth smell.
  • Camphene can be found in camphor oil and citronella oil.
  • Camphene has been investigated in several medical studies for potential heart disease benefits when taken with CBD.
  • Camphene appears to have significant antitumor and antioxidant properties.
  • Camphene is present in small concentrations in cannabis.

Camphene Smell And Taste

Camphene’s smell is similar to damp-woodlands. Camphene does not have a pleasant taste that is said to be reminiscent of kerosene oil.

camphene terpene has a damp woodland smell and can be found in ginger

Camphene Benefits

Camphene cancer benefits

Camphene has several promising cancer benefits under medical investigation.

  • Camphene may inhibit the growth of aggressive melanoma cancers.
  • Camphene “exerted antitumor activity in vivo by inhibiting subcutaneous tumor growth of highly aggressive melanoma cells” in a 2015 medical study published in the journal Biochemical And Biophysical Research Communications. (67)

terpene skin benefits

Camphene antioxidant benefits

Camphene has shown strong antioxidant effects.

Camphene skincare benefits

Applied topically in a CBD cream, Camphene may help inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. (69)

terpene skin inflammation disease benefits

Camphene cholesterol benefits

According to the 2016 medical study on animals published in the journal PLOS One, camphene taken orally may lower triglycerides and cholesterol.

  • Camphene “exhibited a hypolipidemic activity in vivo as it decreased total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in plasma of hyperlipidemic rats, without affecting HMG-CoA reductase activity.”

image text quoted immediately above image

It is believed that camphene may be a future treatment for cardiovascular disease because of its cholesterol-lowering effects. (70)

  • “Disorder of lipid metabolism are the primary risk factor for cardiovascular disease which remains a leading cause of death and disability.”
  • “Among the most important risk factors for this disease are not only high total cholesterol levels but also high triglyceride level and low levels of HDL cholesterol.”

image text quoted immediately above

Borneol Terpene

Borneol is one of the most unusual terpenes found in cannabis.

  • Borneol has been used for more than a thousand years in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • A 2017 medical study shows borneol may help other compounds, like cannabinoids, cross the blood-brain barrier.
  • Borneol may be an important “helper” compound that makes cannabinoids more effective. borneol terpene history

Borneol Smell and Taste

Borneol’s taste and smell are spicy and minty.

  • Borneol is found in mint, rosemary, and cannabis.

Borneol Effects

 Borneol cancer effects

Few peer-reviewed medical studies on the cancer benefits of borneol exist.

  • One study suggests that borneol (taken together with conventional cancer treatments) may aid in the treatment of specific types of ovarian cancer. (71)
  • In the study, co-delivery of borneol with the pharmaceutical cancer treatment PTX “improved tumor growth inhibition efficacy.”

terpene cancer benefit

Borneol circulatory effects

Borneol has been used as a type of circulation aid in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 1500 years.

  • Borneol was used to help regain consciousness in “cases of coma, heart attack, stroke, traumatic brain injury and other brain-related emergency conditions.” (72) borneol circulatory treatment

Borneol blood-brain barrier effects

In a 2017 study published in the medical journal Drug Delivery, borneol was found to aid the delivery of drugs to the brain.

  • Borneol helps other compounds cross (possibly cannabinoids) the blood-brain barrier. (72)
  • The study concludes, “borneol is therefore believed to be an effective adjuvant that can improve drug delivery to the brain.”

borneol health benefits

This means borneol may help deliver a more effective dose of medicine to the brain while protecting it from disease.

  • The 2017 medical study states that the blood-brain barrier “opening effect of borneol is a reversible physiological process characterized by rapid and transient penetration through the BBB and highly specific brain regional distribution.” (73) borneol health benefits

Borneol acupuncture effects

In acupuncture, borneol is considered to have a wide range of health benefits including:

  • digestive aid
  • help with heart function
  • aid in circulation.

Borneol Adverse Effects

Borneol isolate is an eye and skin irritant and should be handled with care.

  • Natural borneol is widely used in cosmetics and aromatherapy and does not pose a toxic hazard.
  • I have not come across any reports of adverse effects from the small concentrations of natural borneol present in some CBD cannabis. terpene toxicity side effects

Terpineol Terpene

Terpineol is a naturally occurring terpene found in cannabis varieties.

  • Terpineol is a colorless liquid that has a floral scent similar to lilacs.
  • Some think terpineol is responsible for the “couch-lock effect.” The couch-lock effect is a  strong sedative effect some experience after consuming Indica cannabis varieties.

Terpineol Smell and Taste

Terpineol is a colorless liquid used as a scenting agent in fragrances due to its pleasant odor.

  • Terpineol has a floral scent similar to lilacs or apple blossoms.
  • Terpineol has a sweet and slightly fruity flavor. terpineol terpenes are found in CBD cannabis strains

Terpineol Effects

Terpineol relaxing effects

Terpineol is very relaxing with powerful sedative effects.

  • A 2011 medical study published in the Journal of Natural Medicines described terpineol as a “potent suppressor of the central nervous system” that elongates sleep time when inhaled.  (74)

terpineol insomnia benefit

Terpineol’s sedative effects are caused by its chemical structure.

  • Unlike the terpene linalool which obtains its relaxing effect from its association with a pleasant odor, terpineol’s sedative effects result from the absorption of the compound into the bloodstream. (75)

Terpineol cancer effects

Terpineol may inhibit the growth of some tumors.

  • Terpineol showed “significant cytotoxic activity in the small cell lung carcinoma cell line, suggesting tumor-specific activity.”  (76)

terpene cancer treatment

Terpineol anti-inflammatory effects

Terpineol has powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.

  • Terpineol has anti-inflammatory properties that “suggest that this compound might be potentially interesting in the development of new clinically relevant drugs for the management of painful and/or inflammatory disease.” (77)

terpineol health effects

Terpineol antifungal effects

Terpineol has powerful antifungal properties.

Terpineol’s high safety profile and low human toxicity mean it may be considered a natural food preservative for fresh fruits. (78)

terpene benefits terpineol

Valencene Terpene

Valencene is a naturally occurring terpene found in cannabis and Valencia oranges.

  • Fruity smelling cannabis is likely due to the terpene valencene or myrcene.
  • Valencene has a strong tangerine or orange-like scent.
  • Valencene is used in cosmetics as a scenting agent.
  • Valencene has strong anti-inflammatory properties and antimicrobial properties.

Valencene Smell and Taste

Valencene has a robust citrus smell and flavor. Valencene is found in high concentrations in Valencia oranges.

Valencene Effects And Uses

Due to its appealing scent, the terpene valencene is used in cosmetics and perfumes.

  • Valencene isolate can also act as an insect repellant for ticks and mosquitoes.
  • Studies show valencene’s effectiveness as an insect repellant is similar to DEET, the active ingredient in most chemical insect repellents. (78)
  • Valencene is being investigated for additional health benefits including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits.
  • Valencene’s significant anti-microbial properties may be especially useful as an ingredient in CBD creams.

valencene uses

Geraniol Terpene

Geraniol is the primary component found in rose oil and citronella oil. It’s also a terpene found in CBD cannabis.

  • Geraniol’s fruit-like flavor is used in food products to reproduce the taste of peach, raspberry, grapefruit, apple, plum, and pineapple.
  • Interestingly, geraniol is produced by the scent gland of several honeybee species to mark the location of nectar-producing flowers. geraniol terpene smells like peaches and plums

Geraniol Smell And Taste

Geraniol is a colorless liquid used as a scenting agent in bath products.

  • Geraniol has a fruity smell described as similar to peaches and plums.
  • Geraniol has a mild fruit-like taste. It is used as a flavoring agent in several food products.
  • Geraniol’s scent can also be used as a sweet-smelling insect repellent for mosquitos. geraniol terpene properties

Geraniol Effects

Geraniol sedative effects

Geraniol’s benefits are significant and extensive.

  • Geraniol has significant sedative effects and may have neuroprotective properties.
  • According to a 2017 medical study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, geraniol may help protect the brain from neurological disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. (79)

geraniol health benefits

Geraniol cancer effects

According to a 2016 medical study in the International Journal of Oncology, the terpene geraniol may have “therapeutic or preventive” benefits for cancers including:

  • breast
  • lung
  • colon
  • prostate
  • pancreatic
  • hepatic

geraniol cancer benefits

Geraniol is believed to be a “multi-target agent” against cancer.

  • Multi-target agents attack cancer cells in several ways as opposed to a single method of attack.
  • According to the 2016 medical study, “multi-target therapeutic agents are more efficacious for the treatment of complex diseases, such as cancer, and are less vulnerable to adaptive resistance.”
  • Multitargeting anticancer effects in the lab make geraniol less susceptible to adaptive changes that may make cancer cells less vulnerable to treatment. (80) geraniol cancer treatment

Geraniol antioxidant effects

In animal models, geraniol appears to have high antioxidant potential.

  • Geraniol has exceptionally high bioavailability.
  • When consumed orally, the peak blood concentration of geraniol occurs 30 mins after consumption and overall bioavailability is 92%. (81)

geraniol oral terpene

cut mango

 Terpene Side Effects

Terpenes in their natural form have few side effects.

  • Terpenes are present in many wild plants and food crops.
  • Your regular diet of fruit and vegetable will share many terpenes with cannabis.

Taking cannabis extract and concentrated terpene oils may be new to you and you may have an unexpected reaction.

  • Anytime you try something, you should start off slowly and then modify your dosage.
  • Dosage guidelines are only guidelines. Everyone is different.
  • You may have an unexpected reaction to terpenes and cannabinoids like CBD. Go slowly.
  • By starting slowly you give yourself time to adjust your dosage or discontinue taking a new terpene product.

cannabis growing in modern greenhouse

Now that you know more about the best CBD terpenes, find which ones work best for you.

  • Add this guide to your favorites and check back from time to time.
  • This terpene guide will be updated regularly as new health studies are published.


1. Nuutinen T. Medicinal properties of terpenes found in Cannabis sativa and Humulus lupulus. Eur J Med Chem. 2018;157:198–228. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2018.07.076

2. Russo EB. The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain. Front Plant Sci. 2019;9:1969. Published 2019 Jan 9. doi:10.3389/fpls.2018.01969

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