The Entourage Effect of CBD & Terpenes

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If you’re a fan of University of Maryland athletics, the “Terps” are an essential part of your happiness. If the Terps (terrapins) are selected for the March Madness NCAA tournament, it provides sports fans with something to do at the tail end of the long Mid-Atlantic winter. 

But there’s another type of terp that contributes to overall health and happiness—regardless how UMD fares in hoops. 

As native Marylanders and CBD educators, we’re big fans of both the Terps and terpenes, the latter of which is an essential component of hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD oil.  

What Are Terpenes? 

Speaking of essential, terpenes are the organic substances that provide aroma to essential oils and every single plant on Earth. This includes the cannabis sativa plant from which CBD is derived. 

Terpenes, specifically one called limonene, are what give oranges, lemons and grapefruit their citrusy scent. Another terpene, pinene, has, as the name suggests, a piney aroma. Pinene is also the main terpene constituent of rosemary. Eucalyptol is the main terpene associated with the smell of … you guessed it, eucalyptus.

The benefits of aromatherapy have been the focus of hundreds of research studies. When you take a deep whiff on an essential oil, terpenes light up your brain’s olfactory system. That’s the part of your brain that perceives odor. 

Within seconds of inhaling the terpenes of an essential oil, feelings of anxiety and depression may be reduced. Out of all the 100 or so commercial essential oils, lavender is one of the most studied for its anxiolytic effects

When you inhale a lavender wildflower or smell the flower’s volatile organic compounds from a steam diffuser, the terpene called linalool is what activates the olfactory bulb. This organ is the main component of the limbic system. If the olfactory system is responsible for smell, the limbic system is what makes you feel groovy after smelling a flower with a pleasing terpene profile. 

Terpenes such as linalool, eucalyptol, limonene and several others are what bestows full-spectrum CBD oil with a pleasing, natural, earthy, hemp aroma. 

So it’s not just the salt lamps, Swedish massages and ambient music that makes you feel blissed out when you visit a spa. It’s also the terpenes.

In casinos, the ching ching ching of slot machines are designed to activate the brain’s excitatory regions. The opposite is true with the feng shui psychology that massage therapists and spa managers employ to provide a chill-out-effect, using aromatherapy candles and essential oil diffusers. 

Terpenes And CBD: Working Synergistically Together

There’s far more to terpenes than providing plants with a pleasing scent. These phyto- (plant) chemicals are major co-stars in the full entourage effect of CBD, the non-intoxicating compound in the cannabis sativa plant, and the second-most abundant molecular compound in marijuana. 

The entourage effect describes the synergistic effect of various terpenes and cannabinoid compounds in full-spectrum CBD. In addition to CBD, full-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD contains other compounds, including CBN, CBG, CBC and THC-A. In short, the entourage effect is what provides the therapeutic potential action of a plant. In fact, terpenes are used in antimalarial drugs.

In a study from February 2020, researchers analyzed a novel entourage effect of cannabinoids and terpenes—for perhaps the first time in a peer-reviewed publication.

“To our best knowledge, such innovative combinations between terpenes and cannabinoids have not been considered earlier in existing scientific research,” the study authors write, adding, “The use of various cannabis-derived compounds opens the arena to the option of avoiding the adverse effects of the available antidepressants and mood stabilizers while treating mood disorders. This may be particularly important for patients who are non-responsive or non-adherent to conventional treatment.”


According to the study, there are over 400 terpenes known in cannabis. (That’s a fun fact that we just discovered; one reason we love what we do is that we learn new things just about every day!) 

While March Madness is right around the corner, and hopefully the Terps will win it all (both men and women), we’re banking on terpenes to contribute to our happiness all year long. 

As the study suggests, the interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids may reduce anxiety and balance the immune system response. Other reports suggest terpenes play an auxiliary role in regulating the inflammatory response. Without doubt, as the months and years go by, much more research will shine light on the benefits of terpenes and their role in contributing to the health-supporting properties of CBD. 

Keep in mind that only full-spectrum CBD offers the most extensive portfolio of terpenes. Go Terps! And go terpenes!

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