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Do Terpenes Get You High? [Not in the Traditional Sense]

do terpenes get you high

If you ever opened a jar of fresh CBD flowers, the aroma from those buds carried gently through the air to caress your nose with a natural fragrance. Terpenes are essential oils in cannabis plants that create that organic odor. Hemp enthusiasts appreciate the smell of CBD flowers but do terpenes get you high?


Terpenes found in cannabis are not just for smell and taste. They work with other cannabinoids like THC and CBD to boost their beneficial effects. With so many of them found in cannabis plants, it can be tricky to learn about each one.


This guide will take a deeper look into the world of terpenes and how they work, their effects, and more! After learning about them, you will feel like a cannabis connoisseur.



What Are Terpenes?

They are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in nature but also closely associated with cannabis plants. They exist in almost all types of vegetation, with over 20 thousand types found in nature.


These compounds provide the aroma and taste for different kinds of vegetation, nuts, herbs, and spices. Different industries use them to provide scents to cleaning solutions, candles, perfumes, and other body products like lotions. Other companies use them for popular foods and beverages like beer. There are close to 200 cannabis-derived terpenes. Some of them are more abundant than others.


The cannabis terpenes, along with other cannabinoids, are in the trichomes of hemp plants. If you have ever seen CBD flowers, trichomes are the little white hairs visible upon a closer look. Terpenes and cannabinoids are created at the tip of the trichome, which is called the resin gland. Light sources can increase the production of terpenes and cannabinoids.



cbd terpenes




‘Terpenes’ and ‘terpenoids’ are terms that are used by people interchangeably. They share some similarities but have some key differences. Terpenoids are terpenes that were oxidated or chemically modified.


Terpenoids are also natural organic compounds in plants and spices, including different cannabis plant strains, but they can also be synthetically produced. It is common to see terpenoids used commercially for herbal remedies.



How Do Terpenes Work?

Hemp enthusiasts do not just smell CBD flower strains because it looks cool or smells nice. The aroma from the buds helps determine which terpenes are dominant. Once a consumer can match the fragrance to the appropriate terpenes, they can determine what kind of effects the hemp cannabis strain has.


Terpenes are volatile compounds. This means that scent created from them will evaporate as it is exposed to the surrounding air.


Terpenes have different roles when it comes to people, vegetation, and animals. Here is a further breakdown of how they interact with different organisms.


Mammals and Terpenes

All mammals share certain characteristics. They all have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) responsible for maintaining overall mental and physical balance in the body. When hemp is consumed, its cannabinoid contents, terpenes, and flavonoids combine to provide beneficial effects.


CBD extract that also contains terpenes and flavonoids is “full spectrum” CBD. The synergetic reaction between flavonoids, cannabinoids, and terpenes boosts the effects of hemp. This process is “the entourage effect.”


The entourage effect occurs in the receptors of the ECS located throughout a mammal’s body. Some terpenes attach themselves to some of these receptors to enhance and provide remedial effects. CBD products are not only used by people but by their pets too!






Plants and Produce

Terpenes are also responsible for producing scents in plants and producing fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. The scents serve a different role depending on the plant and food item.


In some plants, the aroma from them is meant to attract insects to help spread pollination. Some plants use the odor they give off to ward off plant-eating pests or herbivores looking for their next meal.


The terpenes found in plants and produce can also give a taste that can be either too sour, sweet, bitter, or spicy. The different flavors are effective in preventing grazing animals from eating these plants. The various types also help determine some of the colors in plants, fruits, veggies, and herbs.


What Effect Do Terpenes Have?

When consumed through ingestion, inhalation, or applied as a topical, they can provide plenty of effects. There has been plenty of research to study what types of terpenes cause which effects and how they can have potential benefits.


Here is a list of the different effects cannabis terpenes can provide when infused with different products.


  • Reduce Swelling
  • Soothe Physical Discomfort and Aches
  • Enhance Mood
  • Ease Nervousness
  • Aromatherapy
  • Antibacterial and Anti-fungal Properties
  • Increased Relaxation
  • Promote Natural Respiratory Function
  • Alleviate intoxicating effects associated with THC
  • Soothe Irritated Skin
  • Promote Natural Digestion


Some of the products infused with terpenes may cause side effects or allergic reactions. Before you use a product that contains essential oils from terpenes, review the other ingredients for potential allergies. Consult with a doctor before consumption.



Do Terpenes Get You High?

A concentration of pure terpenes cannot get you high. They help cannabis strains retain their fragrance and taste but are not the chemical compounds responsible for making consumers “high.” The feeling of being intoxicated is related to the amount of THC in cannabis plants.


THC is another well-known cannabinoid in marijuana strains. It produces a psychoactive effect that can make consumers feel intoxicated, tired and invoke racing thoughts.


Terpenes can be effective in reducing the unwanted side effects that are associated with THC. Studies have shown that terpenes found in lemons, black pepper, pine nuts, or calamus plant roots may effectively alleviate the intoxicating effects of THC while still retaining its remedial effects.



black pepper oil



Are Terpenes Toxic?

No, the majority of terpenes are not toxic. Multiple studies have been published showing how they are beneficial.


Some synthetic terpenes found in CBD products like vapes and wax have been harmful. When heated, these synthetic ingredients can turn into harmful compounds like benzene which can cause headaches. One way to avoid those bad byproducts is by choosing CBD products from reputable brands.


One of the reasons terpenes are used in a wide variety of products is that they are deemed safe for consumption by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Terpenes and terpenoids are extracted from plants and then infused into different remedial products that are sold worldwide.


Companies use different extraction methods to retrieve certain terpenes from plants and cannabis. The CO2 extraction method is the safest way to retrieve natural cannabinoids and terpenes from hemp flowers for CBD brands. Formulators add the full spectrum CBD extract to various CBD products for consumption.



What Are the Most Common Terpenes?

It would take a collection of encyclopedias to cover the thousands and thousands of terpenes in existence. Even though over two hundred terpene compounds are in cannabis, some are more common than others.


Here is a list of the most common terpenes.



One of the most common terpenes, pinene, has an earthy pine smell. Besides being in pine trees, it is also present in popular culinary herbs such as rosemary, basil, and parsley. It is also in orange peels, sagebrush, and of course, cannabis.


Research has shown that this pinene contains properties that can reduce swelling. Pinene, listed under “essential pine oil” in some products, is effective at relaxing the airways in the lungs.



Of all the terpenes found in cannabis, myrcene is the most abundant. Myrcene is in cannabis plants, lemongrass, thyme, mangoes, and hops used to make beer. This terpene has a robust aroma with fruity sweet undertones.


Myrcene can produce calming effects. It works well with CBD products in alleviating physical aches and promoting natural sleep.



If you love how lavender smells, it is thanks to linalool. This terpene has a floral but spicy odor to it. You can also find linalool naturally in mint and coriander. Linalool can provide a feeling of mental tranquility. It has soothing effects that can boost relaxation.



lemons on table




The second most abundant terpene in cannabis plants, limonene is also a major component in lemons and limes. It has a citrusy smell that most people are familiar with. Limonene has a strong presence in all citrus fruits.


Limonene itself is an effective ingredient in many cleaning products. It also acts as a natural insect repellent for different plants. Limonene essential oils are also popular in aromatherapy for inducing feelings of calmness.



Beta-caryophyllene is the only terpene that can connect with one of the receptors in the ECS located in the gut and other parts of the body. It has an earthy smell with spicy and peppery undertones. It is naturally in black pepper and many green leafy vegetables.


Because it interacts with the CB2 receptor of the ECS, this terpene may soothe gastrointestinal aches and promote natural digestion. It also provides strong soothing effects for swelling.



Part of the name may sound familiar to you, as it is the most common terpene in eucalyptus trees. It has a strong minty-fresh aroma.


Eucalyptol essential oil is a common ingredient in mouthwash and acts as a natural cough suppressant. Some companies also use this oil in their cosmetics and perfumes. Eucalyptol helps plants and trees repel leaf-eating pests and herbivores.



Final Thoughts – Do Terpenes Get You High?

People have always relied on their sense of smell and taste to appreciate the abundance of food produced by nature. The next time you smell herbs while cooking or look at different CBD flower strains at a dispensary, you will know that terpenes are behind these smells and tastes.


If you are ever in a conversation with hemp enthusiasts, and they ask, “do terpenes get you high?” you will be able to inform them that they will not get you high and also provide a list of therapeutic effects. One way to enjoy terpenes in their natural form is through CBD products. Check out Hollyweed CBD for a wide variety of CBD products!

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