Terpenes are a large class of organic compounds produced by lots of plants – including hemp. In fact, they’re so common, you probably interact with them every single day without even thinking about it!
Terpenes are aroma creators – they’re the reason many plants, flowers, and trees have distinct fragrances. Often they’re pleasant to us: the sweet smell of lavender and lilacs, the fresh citrus smell of oranges and lemons, or the woody smell of pine trees and other conifers. They’re the primary component of many essential oils used in perfumes and aromatherapy. Love walking past a rose bush and taking a big whiff? Terpenes! Have a strong childhood memory of rosemary and basil in the kitchen? Terpenes!
Terpenes don’t just exist for us to sniff, though. Plants really are brilliant, complex organisms: they can emit specific terpenes when they’re in distress, repelling a pest or attracting a predator toward the pest, protecting the plant from harm.
The hemp plant is full of terpenes - over 200 different kinds! Not only do the terpenes present in the hemp plant give it its smell and flavor, they also help determine the wellness-boosting properties that hemp extracts can offer. We’ve talked about the entourage effect before, and although cannabidiol (CBD) is the most abundant phytocompound in hemp, you wouldn’t see the effects of CBD without terpenes (and other organic compounds – it’s a team effort!) complementing and boosting its effects. When we say our products are “Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract,” terpenes are an important part of that spectrum!
So what kind of terpenes can you find in the hemp plant, and what benefits do they have? Here’s a few of the most common ones:
- Myrcene supports relaxation and promotes a sense of calm, and has a hop scent
- Caryophyllene enhances mood and soothes everyday aches and pains, and smells of cloves and black pepper
- Linalool is also found in lavender, and promotes calm and relaxation
- Pinene supports focus, memory, and energy; as the name suggests, it’s also found in pine trees
- Eucalyptol can help with discomfort and stiffness and offers the fresh minty flavor of eucalyptus
All these hemp plant goodies like cannabinoids and terpenes are great, but they’re also volatile. They can evaporate easily, which means the process by which they are extracted and their storage method is extremely important. Manitoba Harvest uses the CO2 extraction method for this reason. It uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to preserve and maintain the purity of every compound being extracted.
Here’s a quick rundown of how it works: CO2 extraction is a method of Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE), which is the process of separating components from each other by using a particular type of solvent.
CO2 is a “supercritical” solvent because when it’s exposed to high pressure and extreme low temperature, it changes from its natural gaseous state to a liquid that’s capable of dissolving other substances into “fractions” that can be separated out. That’s why, in a broad spectrum hemp extract, you know you’re getting all the terpenes and cannabinoids and none of the THC, waxes, and unnecessary plant matter of a hemp plant. The CO2 extraction method makes separating and extracting those compounds possible.
Because CO2 extraction takes place at low temperatures, there’s little risk of compromising the volatile terpenes and cannabinoids. This is also why Manitoba Harvest uses brown bottles – protecting the precious phytocompounds inside the bottle from sunlight.
Terpenes: yet another reason why hemp is such a transformative and amazing plant! 🌿
The information provided is for informational purposes only. None of the information provided here should be considered medical advice or treatment recommendations. Consult with your health care provider if you have questions about incorporating CBD into your wellness regimen.