WHAT ARE TERPENES AND FLAVONOIDS AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT FOR CBD PRODUCTS?
*Disclaimer: This article is not meant to serve as a substitute for veterinary advice. Dr.Hempdog believes firmly in the contents of this article because of the thorough research that backs it up and our own experiences with the thousands of dogs that we have helped through the years (including our own). You should always defer to your veterinarian when adding anything to your dog's unique wellness routine.
You may have heard of terpenes and flavonoids before, but do you know what they actually are? These plant compounds are found throughout nature, yet the terpenes and flavonoids that occur in the hemp plant can be extraordinarily effective at reducing inflammation and pain. We’ll quickly walk you through what terpenes and flavonoids are, how they could improve your dog’s quality of life, and why you should be looking for them in superior hemp products.
What are Terpenes and Flavonoids?
Both terpenes and flavonoids provide flavor and smell to almost every plant found in nature (these are also the primary ingredients in many essential oils). Hemp has especially high concentrations of particular terpenes and flavonoids that can help to relieve inflammation, pain, and other ailments, making it a medicinally diverse plant.
Though similar in terms of taste and smell, terpenes and flavonoids are chemically distinct from one another, and have other subtle differences:
- Terpenes account for most of the well-known flavors and smells of plants. Limonene, for example, is a terpene responsible for the fragrance of oranges, yet also shows up in significant quantities in hemp. Studies have shown that many of the terpenes in our hemp strain can help to combat inflammation, pain, anxiety, and even cancer.
- Flavonoids contribute to the flavors of many plants as well as their vibrant colors. Current findings demonstrate that flavonoids can act as powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in animals, which we discuss in more detail below.
The Effects of Common Terpenes and Flavonoids in Hemp
There are tens of thousands of unique terpenes and flavonoids in nature, all of which could be immeasurably helpful for certain conditions. Let’s look at the most common terpenes and flavonoids in hemp and what the science says about each.
Common Terpenes in Dr.Hempdog and Their Benefits
Dr.Hempdog’s product features an array of helpful terpenes, all of which have been studied for their ability to help manage inflammation and many other conditions:
Beta-myrcene (AKA myrcene) is the most common terpene in hemp, and according to a 2015 study, can significantly alleviate inflammation and the onset of arthritis. This finding is further corroborated by a 2013 review stating that myrcene (as well as many other terpenes) is a notable anti-inflammatory agent.
- From the European Journal of Pharmacology: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25622554/ and Molecules journal: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6269770/
Beta-caryophyllene (AKA caryophyllene or trans-caryophyllene) is a powerful anti-inflammatory and painkiller. For example, a 2018 publication found that caryophyllene had incredible potential for treating inflammatory conditions, and a recent 2020 study concluded that it could alleviate chronic inflammatory pain.
- From the British Journal of Pharmacology: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758392/ and Frontiers in Neuroscience: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7461959/
Alpha-humulene (AKA alpha-caryophyllene) is similar to beta-caryophyllene, offering potent relief for those suffering from inflammation. In fact, two similar 2007 studies found that alpha-humulene could actually be even more anti-inflammatory than beta-caryophyllene.
- From the European Journal of Pharmacology: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17559833/ and the British Journal of Pharmacology: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2013990/
Caryophyllene Oxide is similar to both caryophyllene and alpha-humulene, and can provide anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-pain effects according to a review from 2016 and a 2010 study of its effects.
- From Cancer Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5083753/ and Phytomedicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19576741/
Alpha-pinene is an incredibly diverse terpene capable of treating inflammation, cancer, anxiety, seizures, pain, and many other conditioning. These findings are corroborated all the way from studies in 1993 to a recent 2019 review of its properties and a study from 1993.
- From Planta Medica: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8302953/ and Biomolecules: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6920849/
D-limonene (AKA limonene) can act as a potent treatment for pain, inflammation, and cancer, according to a review from 2018. Another 2010 study, among many others, further supports limonene’s anti-inflammatory properties.
- From Chemico-Biological Interactions: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0009279717310487 and the Journal of Oleo Science: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20625233/
Linalool has proven itself to be an anti-inflammatory, anticancer, painkilling, and anxiety-relieving agent time and time again. One 2018 review cites many of these clear studies, such as a 2011 study that found that Linalool could significantly alleviate inflammatory pain.
- From Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30098535/ and Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia: https://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0102-695X2011000600015&script=sci_arttext&tlng=es
Alpha-bisabolol (AKA bisabolol or levomenol) can help with pain, and certain tumors according to a 2009 medical review, and has been further shown to be both neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory thanks to a recent 2020 study.
- From the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society: https://aocs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1007/s11746-009-1483-3 and Biomolecules: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7599960/
Guaiol is best known for its antibacterial properties, yet has also shown remarkable anticancer effects, even going so far as to help certain cancer medications work more effectively according to one 2016 study.
- From Oncotarget: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5308748/ and the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28134988/
Common Flavonoids in Hemp and Their Benefits
Flavonoid testing is rare and underdeveloped for now, but certain flavonoids are more common than others in hemp, and can provide a variety of robust benefits for animals suffering from inflammation and oxidative stress:
Cannflavins are flavonoids exclusively found in hemp/ the Cannabis plant, and come in two main varieties: cannflavin A and cannflavin B. When they were discovered in 1985, scientists could already see that both cannflavins were approximately 30 times more anti-inflammatory than common aspirin.
- From Biochemical Pharmacology: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0006295285903259
Apigenin is a proven anti-inflammatory according to many findings, such as in one 2016 study that demonstrated how apigenin could effectively alleviate inflammation by leveraging the body’s immune system.
- From the International Journal of Molecular Sciences: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26938530/
Kaempferol is a fairly common flavonoid with well-documented anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, according to a 2018 review of the effects of various flavonoids on cancer.
- From Cancers journal: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6357032/
How Flavonoids and Terpenes Enhance Hemp Products
Flavonoids and terpenes are incredible enough on their own, but did you know they can actually enhance the beneficial effects of CBD and hemp products as a whole? This synergy between hemp compounds is known as “the entourage effect,” and is one of the reasons why full-spectrum CBD products are so effective.
For example, one 2017 study showed that two terpenes, beta-caryophyllene and alpha-humulene, can both inhibit certain liver enzymes that are responsible for breaking down drugs, making hemp products last longer once ingested.
- From Chemico-Biological Interactions: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29074051/
Check for Terpenes in a Hemp Product’s Lab Work Before You Buy
As you can see, the most effective hemp products will feature a diverse profile of terpenes and flavonoids. The easiest way to check whether or not a hemp product has these vital compounds is to look at the company’s lab work, otherwise known as a Certificate of Analysis (COA). Flavonoid testing isn’t very feasible at this time, but companies can and should be listing out the terpenes in their product. Knowing this, we make Dr.Hempdog’s latest lab work easily available on our website, which clearly shows that our product has high amounts of beta-caryophyllene, alpha-humulene, and other essential terpenes.
If you’d like to know more about how terpenes, flavonoids, and hemp products overall could help your animal(s) with some of the ailments they may be suffering from, reach out to us by scheduling a free, 15-minute consultation at (720) 773-9595 or shooting us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Together, we’ll make sure your dog is as successful as possible with our best-in-class hemp products.