Introduction to Terpenes:
Terpenes are aromatic oils that are naturally produced by plants, fruits, vegetables, and spices and are also commonly found in the marijuana plant. These terpenes often relate to the common smells found in other plants such as citrus, black pepper, lavender, pine, and other floral smells. Another thing that terpenes have (when consumed) are natural effects, such as mood elevation, relaxation, or even anti-biotic properties. When these properties are combined with THC/CBD, these effects can be exponentially increased or manipulated. Some of the more common, medically-focused terpenes are β-caryophyllene, β-myrcene, linalool, and myrcene. Below is a brief summary of these more commonly found terpenes and their medical benefits.
Beta or β-caryophyllene is a particularly unique terpene found in several plant species as a constituent of their essential oil. It is naturally found in basil, cinnamon, cloves, lavender, oregano, rosemary, and cannabis. β‐caryophyllene has a strong wood odor and is one of the chemical compounds that contribute to the aroma of black pepper.
Medical Benefits: The interesting thing about this terpene is that it is a full agonist of CB2 cannabinoid receptors while having no interaction with CB1 and thus does not exert any psychoactive effects. Because of this, β‐caryophyllene has been investigated broadly for treating many neurological diseases. More than 500 scientific publications have investigated the activity of this terpene and found that it exhibits a protective role in several nervous system-related disorders including; chronic pain, anxiety, spasms, convulsions, depression, and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Beta or β-myrcene is a terpene that is that is found in plants and herbs such as mangoes, hops, thyme, lemongrass, basil, and cannabis. In a study involving rodents, researchers found that myrcene produced muscle relaxing and sedative effects (do Vale et. Al., 2002).
Medical Benefits: Myrcene can have many potential effects and there is still more to learn about how it reacts with other terpenes, but some benefits have been found. These include; anti-inflammation, pain relief, antibiotic, sedation, and antimutagenic.
Linalool is a more uncommon terpene that can be found in cannabis. This terpene produces a smell resembling floral and spice. Linalool is mostly found in lavender and coriander.
Medical Benefits: The main uses for linalool are for sedation and relaxion, but it innately has many potential benefits, including; anti-anxiety, antidepressant, sedation, anti-inflammation, anti-epileptic, and an analgesic.
The terpene Limonene is more common in strains that are lemon or citrus-scented. Naturally, this terpene can be found in lemons, limes, and peppermint.
Medical Benefits: Although not much research has been done, the research that has been found shows that limonene can have effects such as; elevated mood, stress relief, inflammation, and anti-fungal and bacterial properties.
Do Vale, T.G., Furtado, E.C., Santos, J.G., Jr., and Viana, G.S. (2002). Central effects of citral,
myrcene and limonene, constituents of essential oil chemotypes from Lippia alba (Mill.) n.e. Brown. Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine. Federal University of Ceara Fortaleza, Brazil. Phytomedicine. Dec. 2002. 9 (8): 709-14.