Some 20,000 terpenes contribute to the characteristic odors and flavors of plants on Earth. The combination of terpenes in a cannabis strain is responsible for its unique aroma – and its therapeutic benefits! We’re only now researching the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, so much of what we know about terpenes and their effects comes from studies of other plants.
As many as 140 terpenes have been identified in cannabis, of which only about 30 are common. In part 1, we’ll explore Phellandrene, Linalool, and Pinene and the cannabis strains that can help users experience their outstanding benefits.
Phellandrene for Digestion
Phellandrene from the root of ginger is used as a digestive in traditional Eastern medicine. This terpene contributes to why cannabis, like ginger ale, is effective in treating upset stomachs.
- Other medicinal properties: antifungal, antibacterial, and expectorant for coughs; may build up the body’s defenses against cancer, but more research is needed
- Mood effects: energizer and antidepressant
- Aromatic profile: mint, black pepper, wood, and citrus
- Common plants: eucalyptus, mint, fennel, dill, garlic, cinnamon, parsley, and pine
Linalool for Relaxation
The medicinal properties of linalool – in the form of lavender – were recognized by the ancient Egyptians, the ancient Greeks, and the ancient Romans. Lavender remains popular today for its calming and soothing effects as a major component of relaxing essential oils. It’s no surprise then that linalool is linked to cannabis’s ability to relieve stress, anxiety, insomnia, and agitation.
Linalool’s effects on the nervous system and brain are scientifically recognized, including “reducing the activity of brain chemicals involved in muscle contraction”. It’s a proven anticonvulsant, capable of relieving muscle spasms, including some forms of epilepsy. Linalool likely contributes to the relief seizure patients find in medical marijuana.
- Other medicinal properties: sedative, pain reliever, anti-inflammatory
- Mood effects: relieves anxiety, insomnia, and agitation; stress prevention and relief
- Aromatic profile: floral, with spicy undertones, most commonly associated with lavender
- Common plants: lavender, mints, cinnamon, some citrus fruits, some fungi; in total, more than 200 species of plants
Pinene for Breathing
When you hear about Japanese shinrin-yoku, translated to “forest bathing” or “forest therapy”, does it sound like crazy talk? Personally, it makes instinctive sense – I remember how open my lungs feel in the forest, how easy it feels to breathe. Now there is scientific data to back it up! According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, “the biological effectiveness of terpenes support the benefits of forest bathing”. Yes, the same terpenes – α-Pinene and β-Pinene – found in cannabis!
However you choose to breathe in the Pinene – in the forest or a puff of cannabis – it’s a scientifically recognized bronchodilator, meaning that it dilates the bronchi in the lungs, aiding in respiratory issues such as asthma. It’s also suspected to inhibit the infectious bronchitis virus.
- Other medicinal properties: studies have found that α-Pinene is effective at inhibiting cancer cell growth in liver cells in a lab, but much more study is before we can extrapolate these benefits to medical marijuana or a living person
- Mood effects: increases alertness and focus, improves short term memory and boosts creative inspiration
- Aromatic profile: Christmas
- Common plants: coniferous trees, like pine and fir varieties, as well as herbs like rosemary, allspice, nutmeg, fennel, and sage
In part two of this cannablog, we explore Myrcene, Humulene, and Limonene. In part three, we’ll look at the Ocimene, Terpinolene, and β-Caryophyllene terpenes and their effects.
Hola Courtney; do you have any citations or references for this work?
High Russ, good question! Unfortunately, I compiled them all separately, over about a year. I didn’t intend to publish it, but in the end, I enjoyed terps so much that I wanted to share this in a blog! If there is a specific item you want a source for, please email me at email@example.com and I’ll get back to you with what I can retrace. And if I have missed the mark somewhere, please email details and I’ll be sure to make the correction.