Let’s Talk about Cannabinoids and Terpenes

What is the difference between Cannabinoids and Terpenes?

What is the difference between Cannabinoids and Terpenes

There is an emergence in the movement towards Hemp Extracts due to the natural elements within the plant; such as terpenes and Cannabinoids. Mike Membrino, President of Neuro-Endoceuticals asserts that cannabidiol is one of the most exciting cannabinoids (natural compounds found in the plant) that we are aware of today. Also known as CBD, cannabidiol is transforming from a little-known molecule, to a potential breakthrough nutritional component and treatment. This notion has been supported by scientific researchers that have proven the importance of CBD in various neurological disorders and physical ailments.

On the other hand, Terpenes are also argued by Kennedy & Whightman (2011) to exist abundantly in nature. For example, from orange peels, to pine resin, and even hemp extract compounds like cannabidiol (CBD), which tends to have a sweet and pungent aroma. Terpenes; however, are connected to the overall aroma and the individual flavors you may taste when you smoke. It is due to this, that terpenes are more often discussed when we are talking about the flower, rather than say a sub-lingual spray. Terpenes come from the oils on the plant and each one yields a different flavor which is why some may be minty and yet others taste like citrus. The synergy that happens between cannabinoids and terpenes relate back to the ECS in our body. This is the system that is literally built to receive cannabinoids.

What is the difference between Cannabinoids and Terpenes?


Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main cannabinoids present in naturally growing environments and in the industrially cultivated varieties of hemp extract. This allows CBD to be associated with the treatment of pain for patients with multiple sclerosis and many other physical ailments. Despite a different pathway of action. Contemporary research has discovered that CBD possesses several medical properties as stated by Mike Membrino, President of Neuro-Endoceuticals.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is found throughout the seeds, stalk and flowers of hemp plants. Unlike many of the 85+ cannabinoids that we are aware of, CBD occurs naturally, which makes it the second most abundant cannabinoid within the plant. Aswin Suri states, CBD tends to interact with our natural environment and does not have any negative effects like THC that is psychotropic active. In effect, this characteristic makes CBD much safer, a less controversial alternative, and offers important health benefits.


Terpenes or terpenoids are said to be naturally occurring compounds that can be found in various plant species and they play significant roles for different flavors and fragnaces of the cannabis sativa plant. The pungent aroma that exists in the compounds like Terpenes has been known for centuries. However, the awareness of the therapeutic potential of this compound is taking another development with several studies explaining it’s significant impact. On the other hand, other researchers have argued that terpenes are primary concepts of essential resins. They are commonly referred to as the isoprenes, and their molecular structure is based on the repeating isoprene (Russo, 2011).

Similarly, the simplest molecular formula of terpenes are made of hydrocarbon bonds denoted as, (C5H8)n, in which later n represents the first isoprene open structure made of -Isoprene – 2-methyl-1,3-butadiene- units. This is proved by scientists to be the isoprene rule. Consequently, there are distinct differences between terpenes and terpenoids in which terpenes are necessary hydrocarbons while terpenoid is the extracted version that contains a particular functional group that comprised of a range of chemical from Cannabinoids (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) (Russo, 2011). Consequently, other scientists have presented that the name ‘terpene’ also include terpenoids. This backed by the notion that terpenes are also known as terpenoids.

Types of Terpenes and where thay are naturaly found

Separately, terpenes are classified into distinct compounds that are separated by the number of carbon atoms. Some of the common compounds of terpenes that are found are discussed below below:


Is described as the most common terpenes found in medical hemp. It’s commonness is associated with the majority of oils that are present in hemp plants. Additionally, they are characterized by specific medical properties such as lowering the resistance across the blood brain. It also has anti-inflammatory effects. This essential oil can be naturally found in citrus fruit and fresh mango.


It is also referred to as alpha-pinene or beta-pinene. This type of terpene is said to have distinctive aromas of pine and fir. Pinene is associated with several effects including mental focus, and alertness. Scientists have also suggested that it can be used in the treatment of asthma. Pinene is also used in medicine as an anti-inflammatory, expectorant and antiseptic compound that naturally occurs in pine, basil, parsley, and dill.


Is the second most common type of terpene found in medical hemp. It has a great citrus smell and is associated with antifungal and anti-bacterial properties. Other studies have also discovered that limonene also works as an anti-carcinogenic and that it may help prevent the growth of tumors. It is also essential in uplifting and sedating. This type of terpene can be found in orange, lemon, and grapefruit.


This compound is naturally found in plants such as cloves, cinnamon leaves, black paper, and sometimes in small quantities of lavender. When used, it has different effects on people including anti-inflammatory effects and holds a success in cancer treatments. On the other hand, it is the only terpenes that interacts with the endocannabinoid system, which gives it the possibility of being a therapeutic agent in preventing neurotoxicity.


The most common type of terpenes that are found in most all plants including cinnamon, laurel, citrus fruit, and mint. This compound has two isomers and is associated with sweet, flowery, citrus like aroma. It’s effects on people include uplifting and sedating. Separately, researchers have indicated that is assists with anxiety and elevating moods.


Is described to be associated with sweet, floral, and local aroma. It can be naturally found in apple blossoms, orange, and hemp extract. The products are mostly used in the United States in soaps and perfumes. Additionally, is commonly known for its pine aroma with slight herbal and floral nuances. Its effects include intense physical relaxing, and it is associated with couch lock.


The main effects of this compound include balancing and stimulating. Additionally, it is used as a cough suppressant and anti-bacterial in mouth wash and body powder. It is also associated with minty, camphor, and spicy aroma. This type of terpene can be naturally found in rosemary, peppermint, and citrus fruit.


Is a plant that is extracted from monoterpene, which has pungent odors of damp woodlands and far needles. It plays a significant role in helping with heart disease. Sometimes it is used in food additives for flavoring and used in the production of fragrances.


Commonly known as delta-3-curene. It is a bicyclic monoterpene with a sweet yet pungent odor smell. This product is naturally found in several healthy, beneficial oil plants such as berry oil and cypress oil. It can also be found in basil oil, grapefruit, orange juices, and in citrus peel oils from fruits like lemons, limes, mandarins, and tangerines. Its effects include sedating and sometimes can be used as a central nervous system depressant.


Its main effects include calming and sedating. On the other hand, it is commonly used as traditional Chinese medicine as moxa, which tends to reduce stress. It can be found in cinnamon, warm wood, and galanga. The compound is associated with spicy, camphor, and  menthol aroma.


Is produces a sweet and delightful smell like roses. Its effects include sedation and uplifting. On the other hand, recent clinical trials have indicated that geraniol may have potential in the treatment of the neuropathy.


Commonly used as Chinese medicine for digestive disorders. It has a slight scent of citrus and described as pepperminty. The compound was discovered in eucalyptus oil. Additionally, it can be naturally found in common herbs such as garlic, dill, ginger, and parsley.


The bottom line is that both are important even though terpenes may be lesser known and not talked about as much. Cannabinoids and terpenes work hand in hand. If you are really interested in knowing what terpenes are in your flower most lab test will reveal this. Cannabinoids and terpenes are found in every strain of hemp and it’s these synergistic elements that create the ‘entourage effect’. This means we know that when cannabinoids work in conjunction with terpenes that the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts. Some argue that when you divorce one element from the rest, that the medicine becomes less effective. No doubt, cannabinoids seem to have a much higher profile in the dialogue surrounding cannabis. This is due to the fact that cannabinoids are more commonly known to create a certain effect such as CBD being known for anti-inflammatory. But when the two are combined, the can generate much more positive results for numerous different situations.


Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology163(7), 1344–1364. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x.

Kennedy, D. O., & Wightman, E. L. (2011). Herbal Extracts and Phytochemicals: Plant Secondary Metabolites and the Enhancement of Human Brain Function. Advances in Nutrition2(1), 32–50. http://doi.org/10.3945/an.110.000117