In Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effects, Part 1, we looked at Phellandrene, Linalool, and Pinene – three of the approximately 140 terpenes that have been identified in cannabis. Terpenes contribute to the characteristic odors and flavors of cannabis and all plants on Earth. Have you ever thought that beer and cannabis have a similar taste and smell? If so, you’re onto something! You may have detected Myrcene and Humulene, two terpenes that are common to both weed and hops – the bittering, flavoring, and stability agent in beer. In fact, Cannabis and Humulus (hops) are two genera in the same taxonomic family, Cannabinaceae.
Of course, the combination of terpenes in a cannabis strain is responsible for more than its unique aroma. Terpenes also contribute to cannabis’s therapeutic benefits! Let’s take a look at Myrcene, Humulene, and Limonene and the cannabis strains that can help users experience these terpenes and their effects.
Humulene for Relief
Humulene is one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis and a significant contributor to the therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana. Humulene is proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain reliever), making it ideal for patients with chronic pain and inflammation-related pain.
- Other medicinal properties: antibacterial, antifungal, and appetite suppressant
- Aromatic profile: earthy, woody, and spicy
- Common plants: black pepper, ginseng, sage, ginger and pine
Myrcene for a Higher High
Myrcene may make it easier for cannabinoids to transfer from our bloodstream into the brain, where we have the highest concentration of CB1 receptors in our body. These CB1 receptors are most capable of absorbing the cannabinoid THC, making them directly responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis! Myrcene may be a critical variable in the “entourage effect”, whereby the cannabinoids and terpenes work together to enhance the mood and medicinal benefits of cannabis!
- Other medicinal properties: anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibiotic
- Mood effects: sedative, psychoactive (indirectly)
- Aromatic profile: herbaceous, resinous, green, balsamic, fresh hops and slightly metallic
- Common plants: hops, bay (leaves), parsley, cardamom, lemongrass, verbena, mango
Limonene for Mood (and maybe Cancer)
Limonene, one of the most common terpenes in cannabis and the world, elevates mood while decreasing stress and anxiety. In study after study, Limonene has been shown to boost serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels.
- Medicinal properties: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer, digestion
- Mood effects: uplifting
- Aromatic profile: citrus
- Common plants: lemons, limes, and oranges
While Limonene is often considered the “anticancer” terpene, it’s important to keep in mind that legalization is only now paving the way for research into the therapeutic benefits of cannabis in humans. Much of what we know about cannabis terpenes and their effects are inferred from studies of other plants or studies on human cells.
Also remember that terpenes occur in relatively low doses in cannabis, compared to injecting a terpene directly into a mouse’s cancer cells. It’s still premature to scientifically conclude that cannabis, as we consume it, is a medically effective therapy in humans. This is especially true of cancer research.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this cannablog, in which we’ll explore three final terpenes and their effects: Ocimene, Terpinolene, and β-Caryophyllene.