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How Terpenes Enhance Functional Beverages

Discover how terpenes can improve functional beverages and even help them stand out amongst ever increasing competition.

Considering the positive growth the functional beverage industry has seen over the last few years, it’s safe to say that these products are in-demand. According to one data firm, sales increased by roughly 16 percent between 2020 and 2021, and that trend is projected to continue. But what exactly are functional beverages and how can these products stand out amongst ever increasing competition?

Some of these stylish beverages claim to promote mood-related effects like less stress, wellness effects like better digestion, and even improved skin-related woes.  If it were just a matter of flavor, the obvious solution would simply be to have the best tasting beverage. When it comes to products intended to promote certain effects, however, that’s just not enough. 

Bottom line? The best functional beverages are going to be the ones that actually deliver on their claims. That’s where terpenes come in handy. Not only can they improve the flavor and aroma of functional beverages, they can also increase the “functional” aspect of these products as well. 

Reading Time - 5 min


Functional Beverages Require Functional Ingredients

What Are Functional Beverages?

In the simplest sense, functional beverages are non-alcoholic drinks (with the exception of some kombuchas that may contain trace amounts of alcohol) that promote benefits outside of their nutritional value. Technically, energy drinks that claim to increase stamina and focus qualify as functional beverages. Other types of functional beverages include…

While their effects can vary wildly depending on the ingredients used, consumers reach for these products because they desire the effects these beverages promise. 

Whether that’s increased energy, creativity, or even brighter skin, consumers will only continue purchasing these products if they actually work—and that all comes down to the ingredients.

Clementine Terpene Strain Profile | Water Soluble | Abstrax Tech

How Do Terpenes Enhance Functional Beverages?

Functional beverages use some of the most diverse ingredients in the CPG industry. From raw fruits and amino acids to mushrooms and herbs, the ingredients are often a mix of traditional botanicals that have been used for thousands of years along with compounds only available through modern technology.

Speaking of ingredients only available through modern technology, terpene isolates and the terpene profiles of various botanicals can greatly enhance certain effects promised by these beverages.

For example, functional beverages designed to promote cognitive function often rely on ingredients like taurine, caffeine, etc. While we know that some of these ingredients definitely give people energy, it’s debatable whether or not they actually improve memory recall, problem solving, etc. Alpha-pinene, however, has been shown to boost memory by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. 

But that’s just one example. Here are a few more…


Studies from Altern Med Review have shown promising results indicating that limonene can temporarily elevate mood, relieve stress, and support increased energy levels. It functions much the same way that pinene does, by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. A separate study indicated that limonene was able to increase serotonin, and modulate adenosine receptors which in turn triggers dopamine to be released.


When it comes to focus, beta-caryophyllene may help improve cognition by reducing neuroinflammation and boosting antioxidants. It’s able to activate a special pathway (NRF2) and boost glutathione levels that protect against glutamate-induced oxidative stress


In a study with mice, myrcene was found to provide sedative effects, increase sleep time and help with motor issues. 


A study found that bisabolol has therapeutic potential by, “improving the antioxidant network and restoring the redox balance by antagonising oxidative stress.” Essentially, this terpene helps slow oxidative stress and the inflammation that it causes.

What Functional Beverages Can Learn From Cannabis

While there are some cannabis and CBD beverages that fall under the umbrella of functional beverages, the entire functional beverage industry can learn a lot from the cannabis industry. Mainly, in regard to using a spectrum of “ingredients” to create unique effects and experiences.

On top of the useful effects from terpene isolates, combining terpenes in various ratios opens up the possibility of even more unique effects. We’re talking about effects like creativity, sensuality, and more. This is most clearly illustrated by examining cannabis and its many different chemovars.

High levels of THC will definitely have a strong psychoactive effect, but without terpenes, you won’t experience a variety of flavors or effects that different chemovars possess. That’s why some strains make you want to clean your entire house, while others make you want to drool on the couch for hours. Basically, two strains could have the exact same terpenes and cannabinoids, but the varying ratios of those items will have a huge impact.

The terpene strain profile of GSC, for example, includes dominant terpenes beta-caryophyllene, limonene, and alpha-humulene. It’s known to be relaxing, euphoric, and stimulating. Zkittlez has similar dominant terpenes, however, its effects are known to be more creative and then slowly evolve into sedation.

The point is that the various ingredients within a product can influence each other. Sometimes they can enhance effects, diminish them, or alter them entirely. It’s all about the precise art of product formulation, and that’s something the cannabis industry knows all too well. Consequently, if the functional beverage industry can harness that knowledge along with the use of terpene science, the effectiveness of products will skyrocket.  

Pineapple Express Terpene Strain Profile | Water Soluble | Abstrax Tech

Enhance Functional Beverage Effects with Terpenes

As the leader in botanical extraction and terpene and aroma compound research, we help brands differentiate product lines with new, consistent, and scalable experiences in a variety of industries. 

Contact us today for custom terpene formulations, water-soluble terpenes, and let’s talk about how terpenes can enhance your products.

READ NEXT → List of Terpenes Best For Beverages


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