Terpenes 101: Everything You Need to Know

Everytime you breathe in the refreshing fragrance of a fruit or a plant, you’re entering the wonderful world of terpenes.

Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in plants that give them their unique scents. Some terpenes are said to offer health benefits such as pain relief and mood elevation. 

Cannabis and hemp contain high concentrations of terpenes, thus their popularity among health enthusiasts. About 17 beneficial terpenes can be found in hemp alone. 

To help our customers get the most out of terpenes from their CBD products, our team at Oley Hemp compiled everything there is to know about terpenes. 

Terpenes 101: What are Terpenes? 

Terpenes are compounds found in the essential oils of plants that have a wide range of pharmacological benefits for humans. Scientists believe that when CBD oil rich in terpenes is ingested by humans, the terpenes enhance the medicinal effects of CBD and THC, creating what is known as the entourage effect

In nature, plants produce hundreds of strong-smelling terpenes to defend themselves against different predators and pathogens and also to attract pollinators. 

Humans discovered the usefulness of terpenes thousands of years ago. We’ve been using terpene scents like myrrh and frankincense in religious ceremonies for millenia. We’ve also extracted terpene-rich resins like rubber to make mechanized industrial devices.

Interest in the health benefits of terpenes, especially those in hemp, has peaked in the past decade but scientists are just beginning to understand the therapeutic potential of terpenes. Research is being conducted to explore each terpene’s ability and how to extract them for human benefit.

From what scientists have discovered so far, the terpene makeup of a hemp plant is greatly influenced by its environment. How much sunlight, nutrients, water, temperature, and general care a plant receives determines what terpenes a hemp plant will produce.

Health Benefits of Terpenes 

Terpenes give humans a whole host of health benefits, from relaxing the mind to helping your body fight cancer. Depending on how you consume terpenes, you can extract their benefits in a variety of ways. 

When ingested orally, certain types of terpenes like alpha-bisabolol and limonene may help stymie the growth of cancer cells and kill harmful leukemia cells. Other types of terpenes like myrcene may reduce inflammation and release antioxidants to counter free radicals in the body.

Terpenes can also work wonders for the skin. Applying terpene-rich essential oils on the skin can help combat skin diseases and inflammations. 

Bisabolol, a terpene found in hemp and chamomile, has been observed to reduce the effects of dermatitis in patients and protect their skin from other skin conditions. 

Terpenes, because of their strong scent, can also relieve stress and help you sleep better. Aromatherapy is one of the best ways to enjoy these benefits. Diffusing essential oils high in terpenes can elevate mood and help you fight depression and anxiety. 

Kim Kardashian West recently made the most out of terpenes at her ‘CBD and Meditation’ themed baby-shower. After freaking out from the responsibilities of having a fourth child, she invited her friends to the party to enjoy CBD-infused aroma diffusers, skin creams, and body oils and just chill out with her. 

The Top 5 CBD Terpenes


Myrcene has a fruity, clove-like smell and is found in the flowers of the hemp plant as well as in mangoes, lemongrass, and basil. It’s reported to be the most common terpene found in commercial hemp. 

The research that’s been done so far shows that myrcene may have sedative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain relief properties. People suffering from osteoarthritis and chronic muscle pain are likely to benefit most from myrcene.

Anecdotal evidence backs this up, but because the studies were mostly conducted on animals, more research involving humans needs to be conducted to confirm these effects. 


Limonene, as you probably guessed, has a citrusy fragrance. Though CBD oils with limonene won’t smell like lemons, they contain the same therapeutic effects. Limonene is said to increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, helping users manage their anxiety, depression, and OCD.  

In some studies, limonene was observed to reduce chronic inflammation (common in patients with osteoarthritis) and potentially inhibit the activity of leukemia cells. It may even have anti-cancer properties. Patients with breast cancer who took daily limonene supplements saw a 22% decrease in breast tumor cell expression. 


Linalool is the terpene that gives lavender its soothing aroma. Humans have used it for centuries to treat different ailments like insomnia, anxiety, and headaches. 

Recent research suggests that there may be enough scientific evidence to confirm these benefits. 

A 2010 study involving mice showed that linalool reduced anxiety and counteracted aggressive behavior, while a 2012 study identified linalool as a key antidepressant ingredient in essential oils. 

People seeking treatment for anxiety, epilepsy, sadness, and insomnia could benefit from the health effects of linalool. 


Beta-caryophyllene, or simply caryophyllene, is a terpene considered by the FDA to be a safe dietary cannabinoid. It works just like THC and CBD to activate our nervous system and give us psychoactive effects but just without the high. 

Caryophyllene has a spicy scent profile reminiscent of black pepper, rosemary, and cloves. Scientists have found that this terpene has the potential to treat and protect people against liver fibrosis, inflammation, colitis, anxiety, and depression

Studies have only been conducted on mice so far but there is promising evidence of caryophyllene’s therapeutic effects for humans. 


Alpha-bisabolol, or bisabolol, is a sweet-smelling terpene that’s naturally present in chamomile and hemp. It’s believed to help skin heal and counter inflammation. Outside of the CBD industry, bisabolol is used by several cosmetics companies to treat skin conditions like dermatitis. 

Bisabolol consumed through hemp products may give people a wide range of health benefits. Studies have shown that it can help kill leukemia cells in humans, improve cardiovascular health, and prevent the growth of cancer cells. 

On a more general level, bisabolol can help calm anxiety and promote sleep. 

Popular Hemp Products with CBD Terpenes

To get the most out of terpenes, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about the most popular hemp products with CBD and terpenes that you can use everyday. 


CBD-infused honey is the best choice for getting your daily dose of terpenes. Whether you have it in the morning or before you go to bed, the terpenes in the honey will make you zen.

Bisabolol and myrcene in the honey will help you sleep better while also giving you anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties. For those of us with insomnia, CBD-infused honey is a good introductory product to get started with for a better night’s sleep. 

Essential Oils and Skin Cream 

If you have muscle and joint pain or skin conditions, CBD-infused skin cream and roll-on oil blends can help soothe the pain. They moisturize the skin and deliver terpenes and other good plant molecules deep into the skin to provide temporary relief. 

For people who do not like eating CBD products, topical applications are a good alternative. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) athletes are using CBD-infused oils and creams to recover from aches and inflammations after fights. 

The skin products allow for a systemic approach to targeting key pain areas for a sustained period of time. 


Diffusing CBD-infused essential oils is one of the most popular ways to get all the good benefits of terpenes. Inhaling the strong scent of terpenes activates the limbic system, which deals with our emotions and memory. 

Terpenes like linalool produce an immediate calming effect on the brain. Users have  noticed lowered anxiety levels and a lessened state of fear. They also reported a calmer heart rate as well as slower, deeper breathing. 

Are Terpenes Safe? 

When consumed in moderate amounts, terpenes are safe for humans. 

It’s only when high concentrations of terpenes are consumed or applied to the skin that we see adverse effects. If the concentration is too high, the terpene-rich product could taste very bitter, smell pungent, and even sting your mouth or skin. 

Some people might also be sensitive to certain types of terpenes. They may develop allergic reactions, like how they might to strong-smelling perfumes. Itching and sneezing are two of the most common symptoms. 

Linalool, for example, may cause allergic reactions such as facial psoriasis and eczema in some people when rubbed on the skin. The same is true for limonene when applied in large doses to the skin. 

CBD-infused oils and products contain moderate amounts of terpenes so you don’t have to worry much about the side effects. But it’s good to keep them in mind. 

If you’re concerned about the potential side effects of terpenes, it’s best to apply a very small amount to the skin or consult a medical professional first before using. 

Use OleyHemp’s Products to Get Your Daily Dose of Terpenes 

OleyHemp’s hemp products use only all-natural organic ingredients to give you the cleanest daily dose of terpenes. 

We select the highest quality hemp from across the United States that are free of chemicals to craft our best selling CBD skin care products and foods. We understand that our customers care about the environment and their health, and it is our commitment to bring you only the most nutrient-dense, sustainable food products.