New cannabis-derived products continue to burst onto the scene. Enthusiasts can now indulge their habit with a new type of cannabidiol (CBD) product—terpsolates.
A terpsolate is CBD isolate that’s been infused with terpenes. In theory, it could unite the unique benefits of both the cannabinoid and terpenes. CBD isolates are designed for people who are interested in CBD but have no desire to consume tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). With isolates, people can feel secure that only CBD is entering their system (at least, that’s the idea, but it’s unfortunately not always the case).
However, there’s a growing body of evidence showing that the combination of cannabinoids and terpenes elicits a special response that can’t be achieved by either compound alone. This is commonly referred to as the entourage or ensemble effect. As famed cannabis researcher Ethan Russo, M.D. wrote in 2019, “the case for Cannabis synergy via the ‘entourage effect’ is currently sufficiently strong as to suggest that one molecule is unlikely to match the therapeutic and even industrial potential of Cannabis itself as a phytochemical factory.”  Additionally, a 2018 meta-analysis found that patients with refractory epilepsy benefitted more from CBD-rich extracts versus purified CBD.  They concluded that “the roots of this difference is likely due to synergistic effects of CBD with other phytocompounds (aka Entourage effect), but this remains to be confirmed in controlled clinical studies.”
Because CBD isolates contain 98 to 99% CBD, it’s possible that consumers aren’t getting the full medicinal benefits if they choose an isolate rather than a full-spectrum product. Terpsolates are comprised of CBD and hemp-derived terpenes. They do not contain other compounds found in the hemp plant. The specific terpenes that are used to create the terpsolate depend on the whim of the manufacturer or a desired flavor profile (e.g., Jack Herer terpsolate). The synergistic effects of CBD and terpenes are still being discovered. Nonetheless, terpenes are associated with diverse therapeutic outcomes.
Because hemp is legal across the U.S., you can find hemp-derived terpsolates on sale online.
Image source: Earlybird CBD
- Russo E. B. “The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain.” Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.9, no.1969, 2019, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2018.01969. [Journal Impact Factor = 4.106; Times Cited = 35]
- Pamplona, F. et al. “Potential Clinical Benefits of CBD-Rich Cannabis Extracts Over Purified CBD in Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy: Observational Data Meta-Analysis,” Frontiers in Neurology, vol.9, 2018, 759, doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00759. [Journal Impact Factor = 2.635; Times Cited = 29]