Terpenes will likely be familiar to any cannabis or CBD user. In fact, some CBD brands are now selling special ‘terpene oils’ on their websites. Such products do not contain CBD or any cannabinoids, but are packed only with terpenes instead. However, it remains unclear how shoppers are supposed to use these products.
Terpenes can be excellent for working into your daily or weekly routine, but you need to know how to use them properly to get any real benefit out of them.
Furthermore, there is a question about whether using terpenes incorrectly could be dangerous. Find out below whether terpenes are safe, and how to use them properly in order to get the most out of your product.
What Are Terpenes – And Why Are They Related to Cannabis?
Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in plants. You may not be surprised to learn, as a result, that they also feature in cannabis! That signature smell you get a whiff of every time you pass by someone smoking up? Those are terpenes.
There are some common terpenes found in cannabis, including humulene, myrcene, pinene, linalool, and more. Some rarer additions, such as ocimene, are also found in certain strains.
Marijuana aside, terpenes also exist in hemp. When manufacturers are producing CBD products and extracting compounds from the plant, terpenes often come along with the cannabinoids. Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products usually contain terpenes.
However, terpenes have become so popular that companies now sell them alone. You can purchase bottles of terpenes, much like a CBD tincture. But what do you actually do with them?
Why Use Terpenes?
You may be wondering why people would want to use terpenes at all. Terpene-heavy oils have been used for millennia in the art of aromatherapy, which involves inhaling substances to provoke certain benefits.
It was easy for ancient populations to notice that drinking lavender tea made them sleepy, but the question was why. Researchers have since analyzed terpenes in a more scientific way, revealing the way that terpenes work on our bodies. It took many years for science to answer this, but luckily, we now have the knowledge.
In the lavender example, it appears that linalool is responsible for many of the plant’s aromatherapeutic benefits. The soporific qualities of the terpene interact with the body to trigger certain effects, such as making you feel sleepy and relaxed.
Each terpene has different actions, and these likely contribute to the varying effects — and varying smells — of different cannabis strains. Also, each strain contains different terpenes and in unique quantities, which likely affects the type and duration of the high that is experienced.
Using Terpene Oil: Scientific Studies
According to research, specific terpenes may also have medicinal properties. For example, this study from 2014, published in the Iranian Journal of Microbiology, suggests that pinene and limonene have antiviral properties.
Of course, terpenes also smell and taste good. Limonene, for example, provides a pleasant citrus flavor and is commonly found in the rind of fruits like lemons. (This is another reason many terpenes are used in aromatherapy – they make the room smell good at the same time!)
How to Use Terpenes Effectively
There are multiple ways to use terpenes. If you’re interested in buying a bottle, there’s no sense in letting it go to waste by using it wrong. Here are some common ways to use terpenes, including the ones that you can buy from CBD brands.
Firstly, and most commonly, there is aromatherapy. This practice takes on many forms, as technically lighting a scented candle is a form of aromatherapy. Similarly, wax melts are commonly used. Not only can terpene oils make your house smell lovely, but they may provide some aromatherapy benefits.
More traditionally, you can use a diffuser. These can come in the form of reed diffusers, which are free of electricity and very simple to use. You can also get electric ones that emit a powerful aroma with the terpene-inspired aroma profile of your choice. To use these, simply add a terpene oil blend to the diffuser and allow it to work its magic.
The great thing about using terpene oils is you can switch up your terpene profiles according to the aromatherapeutic benefits you’d like to achieve.
Choose a scent such as lavender, for example (which contains linalool) if you’re looking for calm and relaxation. Similarly, pine-scented candles can calm you down and create a pleasant vibe in any room. On the flip side, aromatic use of terpene oils that contain limonene often promote invigorating, energizing effects.
It may surprise you, but you can use the terpene oils you buy from CBD brands in cooking! The terpenes, if used cleverly, can add extra flavor to the food. You can also blend them with CBD oil to create CBD-infused creations.
Our top recommendation would be a canna-lemon drizzle cake. Take your favorite full-spectrum CBD oil, and mix it together with limonene terpenes. Alternatively, take a zesty terpene blend such as Jack Herer.
Make your creation by following this lemon drizzle cake recipe, but replace the canna-oil with CBD terpene oil.
Not only will your recipe be extra tasty, but it will also be infused with CBD and terpenes!
When people ask ‘how to use terpene oil,’ they’re most commonly referring to how to use them in a vape device or CBD vape oil. It’s important to understand that you cannot vape terpene oils on their own. Vaporizing requires an e-liquid base, consisting usually of a blend of propylene glycol (PG) and vegetable glycerin (VG).
Some brands will sell terpenes suspended in this mixture, but others will not. You need to check the label before adding terpene oil blends to your favorite vape juice or e-liquid. Typically, you only need to add a few drops to achieve the desired aromatic effects.
First, decide on the terpenes you want. Many brands sell blends of terpenes that resemble particular cannabis strains. Do some reading around to learn what terpenes you should be using to achieve the desired effects. Then, simply add a few drops to your regular e-liquid, and vape the juice as normal!
It’s increasingly common for people to use terpenes to make their e-liquids taste better — or to remind them of their favorite marijuana strain. If you enjoy the taste of cannabis, then this option is definitely for you.
Finally, you can use terpenes in topical form. One way to do this is to blend the terpene oil with your other cosmetics, mixing them into lotions and creams. Specific terpenes may have anti-inflammatory properties, for example, that will benefit you through topical use.
Other options include rubbing terpene oil directly onto your temples to soothe your head. Particular scents may achieve this better than others.
Before applying any terpenes to your body, check the ingredients thoroughly, and ensure you have no sensitivities. Terpene oil can have harsh – potentially even dangerous – effects on the skin if applied full-strength without being diluted. Make sure to read the label on your bottle of terpene oil prior to using it topically. Often the label will identify how much to dilute the solution prior to topical use.
Are There Any Dangers to Using Terpenes?
Using terpene oils in ways that they’re not intended can be dangerous. You need to ensure that you’re doing it properly and safely. First of all, you need to buy food-grade terpenes from reputable sources. As is the case with any CBD brand, check the lab reports to confirm the contents of the products. Furthermore, read reviews to check that other customers have had positive experiences.
Secondly, you need to use the right amount. Terpenes typically aren’t intended to be used at full-strength, so you will usually need to dilute them in some way.
Combine the terpenes with CBD oil, vape juice, or another product before use. If you want to use aromatherapy, shop with a brand that produces terpenes for this use, rather than buying from a CBD brand (which in most instances are designed to be added to CBD vape liquids).
How to Use Terpene Oil Safely: Final Thoughts
Terpenes are excellent compounds with a wide variety of uses. Not only do they smell and taste wonderful, but they may also provide some potential therapeutic benefits as well. You can use them in a variety of ways, including aromatherapy, cooking, topically, and vaping.
Since terpenes may have specific therapeutic benefits, using them can have a positive influence on your health.
Before you use terpene oil, make sure you thoroughly investigate the brand and do your research on the specific product that you’re using. Terpenes can be dangerous if not used correctly, but they can also provide fantastic benefits when used properly.