CBD and Terpenes: Learn when to use what

CBD and terpenes: which one to use when
  • CBD and terpenes are both known for assisting with pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety and sleep disturbances. But which one should you chose? This article provides some key differences to help you decide which product is best for you.

With each generation, humans have evolved as a species. There was a time when herbs saved lives, and a few brilliant minds of the past decided which worked best. Nowadays, herbs still save lives globally, but in different forms and methods. There are natural compounds in every chemically-designed medicine we take, but they also have a fair share of side effects. Hence, when life came in full circles, and we looked for natural alternatives for a few of our issues, we found some in the Cannabis plant! 

However, with its uprise in popularity, CBD and other similar products flew into the market, and it became an increasingly difficult choice to make. We’ve teamed up with Plain Jane CBD to simplify this issue – let us see how.

CBD and Terpenes: learn when to use what
Cannabis is abundant in compounds including cannabinoids and terpenes. Image Credits:

What is CBD?

CBD or Cannabidiol is a compound we get from the Cannabis sativa plant. It belongs to the cannabinoid group and is one of the most abundant of the 100+ cannabinoids in cannabis. Usually, CBD products are actually full-spectrum cannabis extracts, containing the full suit of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. That is one of the reasons why ‘CBD’ products are so effective. Cannabidiol’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years, even though it has been around for a long time. However, many people confused it with THC, the other major cannabinoid from the hemp and cannabis plants. THC is, however, a different product that shows psychotropic effects upon consumption. Hence, an advantage of CBD over THC is that it doesn’t get the user high and doesn’t make you hallucinate. This property enables CBD enthusiasts to get work done even after consuming it. It may hence, be many people’s best bet for managing insomnia, pain, stress, and anxiety.

What are Terpenes?

 In addition to cannabinoids (CBD, THC etc) there is also a substance called Terpene. Terpenes or terpenoids are the most diverse group of compounds that occur naturally. Terpenes provide the unique aroma and flavour that makes Cannabis so popular. In fact, terpenes are found in just about all plants. Lavender, eucalyptus, pine and common herbs are particularly abundant with terpenes. So far, scientists have discovered over 20,000 different terpenes. Cannabis contains about 150. 

Cannabis terpenes come from the plant’s resin glands and are responsible for unique smells like pine, coffee, mint, etc. The original function of terpenes, however, involves evolutionary features. They lure potential pollinators and prevent predator attacks and other hazards. 

What is CBD useful for

Now that we understand the difference between CBD and terpenes, let us look at why Cannabidiol is so popular. 

Firstly, Cannabidiol is extremely helpful for your skin. It comes in plenty of skincare products, especially facial creams, and leads to healthier skin. The anti-inflammatory properties of Cannabidiol may also lead to alleviation of your acne troubles! 

Secondly, CBD’s most prominent feature is its anxiety and stress-alleviating properties. In fact, some people are even replacing their prescription antidepressants with CBD oil. It is also beneficial in fighting chronic pain! Many users globally use it regularly to fight off their painful mornings. 

Additionally, CBD has soothing effects that help you relax, and it may eventually lead to better quality sleep. Even on the days when you haven’t gone out or fatigued your body out, Cannabidiol may help you fall asleep in minutes!

terpenes for stress
Both terpenes and CBD may assist in reducing stress, anxiety and improve sleep quality

Why use terpenes

Some terpenes can interact with the same receptors as CBD, therefore effects can be similar and people use them for the same reasons. Terpenes and CBD might even go hand-in-hand. Many people say that terpenes “enhance” the high that you get from Cannabis. Hence, CBD and THC might hit a little differently when paired with terpenes. This is widely known as the ‘entourage effect.’ 

The unique point about terpenes is that they are subtler versions of the famous compound. In fact, they can bind to the same receptors as CBD and stimulate similar responses for problems such as sleep disturbances, stress, anxiety, pain and inflammation. 

Here’s a general overview of the principle ways terpenes interact in the body (McPartland, J. M., & Russo, E. B., 2001):

  • Act on receptors and neurotransmitters
  • Can act as serotonin uptake inhibitors (similar to antidepressants like Prozac)
  • Can enhance norepinephrine activity (comparable to antidepressants like Elavil)
  • Increase dopamine activity
  • Augment GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter that counters glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter) 

Terpenes are generally cheaper than CBD, at least in Australia. They are also generally recognised and safe and therefore readily available over the counter, whereas CBD currently is not. 

CBD and Terpenes: When to use what?

When you have many choices, choosing one product from the pile may get confusing. In such situations, it is vital to remember your purpose. The first criterion to fulfil is why you need the product. From there, it becomes easier to choose the one you need. However, for a beginner starting with terpenes could make more sense. But if you want to try CBD anyway, start with lower doses and gradually increase it according to your needs. 

CBD-based products vs. Terpenes

When it comes to consumption methods, there is one clear winner: CBD. Cannabidiol is one of the most versatile products in the supplement market. There is an ideal CBD-based product for everyone, and we mean it. When you want to try CBD, you can go for the traditional CBD oil. Then, there are CBD vapes, patches, creams, pills, tinctures, and whatnot. Another fan favourite is the popular CBD gummies. They are sweet little treats of Cannabidiol that can lighten up the mood in a matter of minutes.  

Unfortunately, CBD is only readily available overseas. Australia is still a little behind. Luckily, terpenes have found their way to the Australian market. Terpenes are mainly available as tinctures. If you’d like to learn more, check out our range of terpenes. It is important to note that the terpenes are not extracted from cannabis. That is why they can legally be sold in Australia. 


To conclude, many factors come into play when choosing the ideal product for yourself. As discussed earlier, consider your priorities: Why do you need the substance? Remember, there are a lot of Cannabis products in the market, and more than one of them can be ideal for you! 

When it comes to the legal issues, a general rule is that the limit for THC content in these products is 0.3% in the United States and 0.2% in the UK. In Australia your doctor will help you decide if a CBD or THC dominant product is best for you. If visiting the green market it is worth remembering that buying from reputable vendors is the way to go. Certifications are your best friend when choosing a vendor. You can also check the genuine customer reviews to get a better idea. Lastly, reputed CBD news sources suggest you remember to consult with a doctor before starting your dose of any Cannabis variants. They can also help you with proper dosage plans. 

If you’re still unsure, start with terpenes. They are legal, cheaper and may be all you need on your journey to better health. 

Vasse Valley offer terpene blends targeting lifestyle challenges including chronic pain, poor concentration, poor sleep and stress and anxiety


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