*Trial BITES excluded

What are terpenes, and why do people talk about them?

on January 24, 2023



Here at LIX, we formulate a little differently than most (and always with our furry friends in mind), and that brings some conversation around why we do not formulate with the use of terpenes, like other products on the market...So let's dive into that here.

Let's start with a conversation around terpenes, and then we'll move to the entourage effect (what it is and what it is NOT) in my next post.

We hear a lot (like a lot, a lot) about the taste and smell of tinctures, the formulation of the tinctures as full spectrum or broad spectrum, and the "marketing term of the years"… the entourage effect. What is this entourage effect concept? One talk track is that it's the thought that the compounds responsible in part for the taste and smell of cannabis are crucial in how the phytocannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, etc.) work. Except, it's not really accurate information. Why? We'll get to that entourage conversation next post but first, let's look at what terpenes are overall.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are the intense aromatic compounds that determine the smell of many plants and herbs like hops, cannabis, rosemary and lavender, basil, etc. Think about picking up an orange and the smell of that citrusy orange or the deep basil scent. Terpenes are primarily responsible for those smells.

Important to note that a terpene is a terpene is a terpene. All this means is that whether they're from cannabis or hops or lavender or limes, etc., they're ALL botanical terpenes defined by their chemical makeup. Since cannabis is a botanical, its terpenes are also botanical.

Let's unpack this a little more: I have linalool as a terpene (think that lavender scent we all know and love); it doesn't matter if my linalool is found in lavender or cannabis or rose or basil or neroli, etc., it's ALL the same as far as the linalool chemical structure.


What is the difference between cannabis terpenes and other terpenes?

The difference in cannabis terpenes is that they maintain the taste and smell of cannabis but structurally, and that's the important thing to know, they're ALL the same.

Botanical terpenes are partly responsible for the naturally occurring taste and smell of whatever plant. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN EFFICACY ACROSS BOTANICAL TERPENES. This matters because we can feed our animals a wonderfully colorful and nutrient-dense plant and fruit mixture with various proteins they'll want to eat (no forcing a taste and smell they don't like). The benefits of these highly nutritious whole foods are overwhelmingly positive and full of phytocompounds, including terpenes (WITHOUT the cannabis taste animals don't like). Another quick thing, except a little nerdy, terpenes can be irritants (they're volatile hydrocarbons) and, in tinctures and topicals, can cause stomach upset; GI irritation can burn when swallowing them, especially important because animals can't tell us when it burns – even though they will froth in some cases which should be a warning to us - EVEN with the carrier oil. Have you ever taken a tincture and felt that slight burn in your throat after swallowing it? Why would we do this to our animals, especially when we can feed them fresh blends of vegetables and fruits with a wide antioxidant, phytonutrient, and naturally occurring vitamin profile as a super yummy topper over their food, and we can do this inexpensively AND STRESS-FREE? They'll still benefit from the naturally occurring plant compounds in a way they like and benefit from daily. No burning. No GI upset.


Another thing to note is that cannabis terpenes are delicate and will deteriorate if stored incorrectly or in heat or light. The structure will change, so it's not that beneficial and certainly not more beneficial in a tincture. Some aren't good for animals or a particular animal even, think allergens, etc., at certain times of the year. Take the kinder whole food option and watch how your animals thrive. It matters!

I'm not a fan of forcing animals to take things they don't like, especially when it's a CBD blend that can be given twice daily. The last thing I want to do is add anxiety around supplementation when I'm working to reduce stress overall. Right?

At LIX, we have considered all of this and the overall impact on our animals, which is why our tinctures are formulated to be flavorless and odorless and have a broad spectrum of enhanced profiles (CBD, CBG, CBN, etc.) and a formulation carried over into our soft BITES too!

Now that we've looked at this terpene conversation, the next post will address the entourage effect. We will take the 'entourage effect' off its marketing pedestal and look at what that is and how it's studied.

We will revisit this terpene conversation soon; we wanted to start at ground level and move forward as we roll more health and wellness ideas into the blog.

I hope this helps, and, as always, we're here to help.


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