Last month we covered the basics of cannabisterpenes. This month I promised you a more detailed blog on the medicinal effects of terpenes.
Cannabis, a plant that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, has gained much attention in recent years with the discovery and exploration of its chemical constituents. Among these compounds, terpenes have emerged as a fascinating topic of study. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive examination of the medicinal properties of terpenes in cannabis, shedding light on their potential therapeutic applications and underlying mechanisms of action. Through a comprehensive review of the current scientific literature, this article examines the diverse range of terpenes in cannabis and their potential contributions to human health.
The cannabis plant(Cannabis sativa) has a long history of medicinal use, dating back thousands of years in different cultures. Although the primary focus has traditionally been on cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), recent research has emphasized the importance of terpenes in cannabis.
Terpenes, aromatic compounds responsible for the distinctive smells and flavors of plants, have shown promising therapeutic potential in various diseases and disorders. This blog aims to delve into the medicinal properties of terpenes in cannabis and explore their potential benefits and mechanisms of action.
Terpenes in cannabis: diversity and chemical profiles
Cannabis contains an extensive array of terpenes, with more than 100 different types identified to date. These terpenes contribute to the unique aromatic profiles of different cannabis strains and offer different flavors and aromas.
Some of the most common terpenes in cannabis are limonene, myrcene, pinene, linalool and betacaryophyllene. Each terpene has its own set of potential medicinal properties and opens avenues for targeted therapeutic interventions.
Medicinal properties of terpenes in cannabis
Terpenes, like cannabinoids, often have very similar chemical compounds. For this reason, many terpenes have overlapping effects. Below I have listed the main medicinal properties found in cannabis and the terpenes with which they are associated.
- Analgesic effects: Several terpenes in cannabis have demonstrated analgesic properties. For example, myrcene and beta-caryophyllene have been shown to exhibit analgesic effects through their interaction with cannabinoid receptors and modulation of neurotransmitter activity.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: terpenes such as alpha-pinene and betacaryophyllene exhibit potent anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds can suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, potentially relieving inflammation associated with various conditions, including arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Anxiolytic and antidepressant effects: Certain terpenes in cannabis, such as limonene and linalool, exhibit anxiolytic and antidepressant properties. These terpenes can modulate the activity of neurotransmitters and affect the levels of serotonin and dopamine, reducing anxiety and improving mood.
- Neuroprotective effects: terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene and pinene have demonstrated neuroprotective potential by reducing oxidative stress, inflammation and neuronal damage. These traits may have implications for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- Antimicrobial and antifungal effects: some terpenes, including terpinolene and alpha-pinene, have antimicrobial and antifungal properties. These compounds can inhibit the growth of common pathogens and provide alternative treatment options for microbial infections.
Terpenes interact with our bodies in different ways – more research is needed to identify exactly how terpenes combine with our internal body functions, but this is what we currently know.
The underlying mechanisms by which terpenes exert their medicinal effects are multifaceted and often involve interactions with different molecular targets. Terpenes can interact with cannabinoid receptors, such as CB1 and CB2 receptors, modulate the endocannabinoid system and influence neurotransmitter release. Moreover, terpenes can inhibit enzymes involved in inflammation, oxidative stress and neurodegeneration, exerting their protective effects.
Moreover, terpenes can cross the blood-brain barrier, directly affecting brain function and possibly modulating neurotransmitter activity. Some terpenes have been found to interact with receptors for serotonin, GABA and dopamine, important neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation and mental health.
It is worth noting that terpenes can also work synergistically with cannabinoids, enhancing their therapeutic effects in what is known as the “entourage effect.” This phenomenon suggests that the combined action of terpenes and cannabinoids can produce more significant and diverse therapeutic results than individual compounds alone.
The medicinal properties of terpenes in cannabis offer a promising avenue for therapeutic interventions under various health conditions. The diverse assortment of terpenes in cannabis exhibits analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, neuroprotective and antimicrobial properties, among others. Understanding the chemical profiles and mechanisms of action of these terpenes provides valuable insights into their potential therapeutic applications.
However, further research is needed to fully elucidate the specific effects of individual terpenes and their combinations in cannabis. Rigorous clinical trials and well-designed studies are needed to evaluate the safety, efficacy and optimal dosing of terpene treatments.
In conclusion, the exploration of terpenes in cannabis represents an important shift in our understanding of the plant’s medicinal properties. By harnessing the potential of terpenes, researchers and healthcare professionals can unlock new treatment options and improve the well-being of individuals with various diseases and conditions. Continued research on the therapeutic potential of terpenes in cannabis is essential to increase our knowledge and improve patient care in the field of medicinal cannabis.
Remember that you can find detailed information about terpenes on our posters displayed in our trusted stores (Among which Greenhouse Secret Farmers in The Hague is one). Scanning the QR code at the bottom of the poster saves this information on your phone for future use.