We’ve written before about terpenes, the aromatic “essential oils” that give different strains of cannabis—and countless plants, fruits and vegetables, trees, and more—their distinctive flavors and aromas. Increasingly, terpene effects are being recognized as important factors in the subjective experiences imparted by individual cannabis strains.
Today, we’ll dive further into what that earlier post only touched on—terpenes’ benefits when it comes to our bodies and our minds. And as the scientific knowledge around cannabis continues to grow and evolve, we believe terpenes are only going to increase in importance. Are you ready to jump into the fascinating world of these all-natural medicinal powerhouses? Let’s get started!
Terpene Health Benefits
With cannabis still finding its way into the mainstream, it makes sense that most medical professionals focus their attention on cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. After all, scientists have been studying the impact of cannabinoids on our health for decades now, even if federal prohibition has delayed its pace.
Make no mistake: Cannabinoids are a very big deal, and they’re justly recognized as the most critical of the “active ingredients” naturally found in cannabis. Our ancestral humans have known about the importance of terpenes for a very long time. Camphor, for instance—a wood that shares the terpene camphene with some strains of cannabis—was used in ancient Persia as an insect repellant and antiseptic. Modern research has uncovered camphor’s additional functions as an antimicrobial, antiviral, and a cough suppressant. Camphene isn’t the most common terpene found in cannabis—there are dozens more.
Myrcene as a Case Study
Myrcene, the most prevalent terpene found in cannabis, is another story. A recent study highlights new scientific analysis of some of this terpene’s health benefits.
For years now, researchers have suspected that myrcene might function as a gentle, non-intoxicating sedative. That’s hardly the end of the story, though. As research now shows, myrcene may act as both an analgesic and an antibacterial, among other effects.
What’s more, this terpene’s health benefits extend beyond these isolated effects. It’s long been suspected that myrcene lowers resistance across the blood brain barrier, in effect allowing cannabinoids to pass through more easily and exert a greater effect. The recent study suggests that this trait could be leveraged to allow myrcene to help other compounds such as terpenes be even more effective than they would be on their own.
What about myrcene as a sedative? The study points out that high-myrcene strains—often classified as indica—tend to exert a “couch lock” effect. By comparison, sativa terpenes tend to be more energizing.
Bath time with a mrycene-loaded pre-roll, anyone?
Terpene Benefits: Beyond Myrcene
We chose to highlight myrcene because of its importance within the cannabis ecosystem, but it hardly provides the only example of a terpene’s health benefits. As we’ve noted before, alpha- and beta-pinene may help ease inflamed airways, and the unforgettably citrusy limonene may impart a subtle but unmistakable mood-boosting effect. In fact, the list of known cannabis terpenes and their effects is long and only growing, as further research into these fascinating natural compounds expands our understanding of the cannabis plant.
Do you have other questions about terpenes—or anything else in the world of cannabis? Don’t hesitate to reach out: We’re always here to help!