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Will Terpenes Show Up on a Drug Test?

September 16, 2022 5 min read

Will Terpenes Show Up on a Drug Test?

Will Terpenes Show Up on a Drug Test?

When you learn more about CBD products made from hemp, terpenes may come up. What precisely are they, and what possible effects may they have on the body? Learn more about what the study on terpenes has shown by examining a few key aspects below.

Many plants, including pine, cannabis, lavender, and fresh orange peel, release fragrant chemicals that give them their distinctive scents. A mixture of terpenes is responsible for the scent of the vast majority of plants. These terpenes in nature shield plants against animal grazing and pathogenic pathogens. This article explains whether terpenes might show up on a drug test.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes sometimes referred to as isoprenoids, are the most numerous and diverse collection of naturally occurring substances. They are mostly found in plants. However, bigger families of terpenes like sterols and squalene can also be found in animals. Terpenes are responsible for how plants smell, taste, and appear in color. They are categorized according to how they are organized and how many isoprene units they contain. According to Ehlern et al. (2021), terpene's building component, the isoprene unit, is a gaseous hydrocarbon with the chemical formula C5H8. The terms terpenes and terpenoids are frequently used interchangeably, but they have a few subtle differences. Terpenes are a combination of isoprene units, naturally occurring, volatile, unsaturated 5-carbon cyclic compounds that emit a scent or a taste to protect themselves from organisms that feed off particular plants. They serve various purposes in plants, including solvents, pigments, flavors, and thermoprotectants. Terpenes also have several medical benefits.

Commercial Syntheses of Terpenes

According to Gao, Honzatko & Peters (2012), terpenes and terpenoids are widely distributed. However, their extraction from natural sources is sometimes difficult. As a result, they are created by chemical synthesis, typically using petrochemicals. One method involves the condensation of acetone and acetylene to produce 2-Methylbut-3-in-2-oil, which is then prolonged with the acetoacetic ester to produce geranyl alcohol. Others are made from large quantities of readily separated terpenes and terpenoids, such as those from the paper and tall oil industries. For example, naturally occurring -pinene may be transformed into citronellal and camphor. Additionally, menthol and rose oxide may be made from citronellal.

Where Can You Find Terpenes?

Although most plants contain terpenes, some have more than others. It is also important to note that the terpenes in various plants have varied effects on how they look, smell, and feel. You're likely to encounter terpenes in several places in your home and worldwide. You may have varied effects from the terpenes according to what kind of plants you ingest.

Terpenes and the Human Body

Many scientists think terpenes protect plants from predators and severe weather, but more study is needed to determine how terpenes affect humans. Many studies are being conducted to identify terpenes so that consumers and researchers can better prevent the effects of these compounds on the human body. There is speculation that terpenes may function with CBD and THC to produce distinct effects in different individuals, but this is still an active study topic. Terpenes may have a role in the disparity in effects between two strains with comparable THC concentrations. If you combine THC, terpenes, and CBD, you may receive a better effect from the drug. In the future, it will be intriguing to watch what scientists discover.

Can Terpenes Be Called Cannabinoids?

According to Russo (2017), it's a misconception to believe that terpenes are cannabinoids, although they operate in conjunction with two of the most important cannabinoids to produce specific effects. Cannabis contains cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. Cannabinoids and terpenoids may influence a cannabis product's potency. However, these compounds are not interchangeable. The entourage effect happens with there is an interaction between THC, CBD, and terpenes. Cannabis users experience various effects and feelings because terpenes and cannabinoids function together. Instead of blaming the effects of cannabis on a single chemical, it's important to remember that a variety of factors come into play. It's common to see folks attempting to take advantage of CBD's medicinal effects by looking for a product that is only CBD. However, if you don't obtain the desired results with this CBD isolate, you may want to look for a "full-spectrum" product. In a broad-spectrum product, you'll find THC, terpenes, and other cannabinoids that may alter your mood or perception of the medicine. In this case, you may get the desired results.

Are Terpenes Psychoactive?

Terpenes are psychoactive because of their impact on the brain. However, this does not cause the euphoric feeling as THC does. According to Russo (2011), terpenes alone are not intoxicating, but they may affect how THC acts in the body. Traditional cannabis highs are associated with the cannabinoid THC. It induces a state of euphoria in those who ingest it in large quantities. Even while the THC amount of a cannabis product is critical, the terpene profile is just as crucial. A terpene might have a major influence on how THC affects a person. Consumers need to consider how specific terpene profiles could affect their high, especially when matched with the THC level of certain products since there are still a lot of studies to be done on this topic.

Do Terpenes Show Up in Drug Tests?

Terpenes are not cannabinoids, but they depend on the substance you consume. Thus, they shouldn't be detected on most drug tests. Terpenes will only appear in a drug test created to find them, which is uncommon. Remember, if you eat a substance containing terpenes, THC, and CBD, the THC may appear on a drug test. As a result, use caution.

 Are They Dangerous?

Terpenes can kill you, although this is quite rare. Acute hazardous effects may occur at extremely high dosages. In some instances, you may need to be sent to the hospital. As a result, thoroughly read the label before attempting to use a product with a new terpene profile. The dosage may be increased after you acquire a sense of how the product affects you.


Terpenes are chemicals that give plants their distinct scents. These plants include herbs, flowers, and cannabis. There is a possibility that terpenes have an impact on a plant's health and survival. Taking in terpene-rich plants or spending time in terpene-rich environments may bring some health advantages to people in certain situations. Terpenes won't show up in a drug test for anything. To completely comprehend terpenes' potential therapeutic and medical benefits, researchers need to keep studying them.


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Gao, Y., Honzatko, R. B., & Peters, R. J. (2012). Terpenoid synthase structures: a so far incomplete view of complex catalysis. Natural product reports, 29(10), 1153-1175.

Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid‐terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344-1364.

Russo, E. B. (2017). Cannabidiol claims and misconceptions. Trends in pharmacological sciences, 38(3), 198-201.