If you’ve spent any time shopping for commercial cannabis products or essential oils, you’ve probably heard quite a bit about plant terpenes. These organic compounds are incredibly popular for their possible therapeutic effects, but are terpenes safe?
The question has become a hot topic recently as a growing number of cannabis products have come under scrutiny by health officials. The good news is that terpenes themselves aren’t subject to any specific health concerns. However, it’s still important to be an informed shopper and know what you’re buying if you plan on investing in these popular plant oils.
Terpenes – An Overview
Terpenes are natural oils found in all plants. They’re responsible for giving plants their aromas, and they’re also noted for their therapeutic effects. More than 50,000 terpenes have been discovered, and there are more than 100 in the cannabis plant alone. Scientists have linked specific terpenes to specific effects in the body. For example:
- Myrcene has been linked to pain relief
- Linalool has been shown to reduce anxiety
- A-pinene has been shown to help with respiratory symptoms
- Caryophyllene has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects
Different plants contain different terpenes, and these oils can be extracted and used on their own or combined with other plant compounds. For example, cannabis users are now adding liquid terpenes to their favorite bud to help enhance the effects or create a unique sensation. This is known as the entourage effect. Manufacturers are doing it too. For instance, some CBD companies are adding terpenes like myrcene, linalool, and nerolidol to their products to enhance the anti-anxiety properties of the CBD. But the question still remains: Are terpenes safe?
Are Terpenes Safe?
As previously noted, terpenes themselves are just naturally occurring plant compounds. They’re found in the fruits and vegetables you eat, the essential oils you enjoy, and the cannabis and CBD products you consume. If you’ve ever taken a satisfying whiff of lavender and felt elevated by it, you can thank the terpenes (linalool in particular).
So on their own, terpenes are perfectly safe and nothing to worry about. When shopping for terpene products, however, you do have to exercise a bit of caution—not because of the terpenes themselves, but because of the other ingredients contained within the terpene solution. Like cannabis products, terpene products are not reviewed by the FDA, which means you have to pay very close attention to what you’re getting.
Are Terpenes Safe From a Legal Standpoint?
Terpenes may not cause you physical harm, but can they get you into hot water with the law? Since terpenes are so often used with cannabis products, this is an understandable concern.
If you live in one of the 11 states that permit recreational cannabis use, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you live in a state where cannabis is still prohibited or limited to medicinal use, you’ll just need to be mindful of where your terpenes are coming from. These organic compounds are found in all plants, so just make sure to purchase terpenes not derived from cannabis. At Vapeur Terp, all of our terpene products are extracted from non-cannabinoid sources and are legal in all 50 states.
How to Find Safe Terpene Products
If you’re considering buying liquid terpenes to customize your favorite cannabis strains, there are a few key things you need to look out for.
- First, look at the ingredients. You want a pure plant profile with no unnecessary chemical additives. Watch out for names like glycerin and propylene glycol.
- Look for a certificate of analysis provided by a third-party laboratory that meets ISO/IEC 17025 standards. The product web page should contain a link to this certificate. Because the FDA still doesn’t review terpene products, you need to take this extra step to ensure that the product is as advertised and contains no heavy metals, pesticides, or solvents.
- Read reviews and look for any product recalls. Stick with reputable companies and steer clear of companies that have had products recalled or have been subject to any punitive actions.
As long as you heed the guidelines above, you should be able to enjoy your terpene products with no major safety concerns. Just make sure to apply the same level of scrutiny to any cannabis products you use with your terpenes.
So to sum up: Are terpenes safe? Absolutely! But as with all things, it’s important to do your due diligence as an informed buyer.