Updated: Oct 10, 2020
Plants consists of a wide variety of chemicals and compounds. About 140 of these belong to a large class of aromatic organic hydrocarbons known as terpenes (pronounced tur-peens). The essential oil is extracted from the plant material by steam distillation or vaporization. Terpenes also play an incredibly important role by providing the plant with natural protection from bacteria and fungus, insects and other environmental stresses. It is well established that cannabis is capable of affecting the mind, emotions and behavior. Many of the other cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids found in the hemp plant that play a big role in boosting the therapeutic effect of CBD remain understudied.
Key Terpene Profiles in Cannabidiol
Camphene is monoterpene which emits pungent odors of damp woodlands and fir needles. Camphene may play a critical role in cardiovascular disease. Clinical studies have found camphene reduces plasma cholesterol and triglycerides in hyperlipidemic rats. Given the importance that the control of hyperlipidemia plays in heart disease, the results of this study provide insight into how camphene might be used as a lipid lowering agents which are proven to cause intestinal problems, liver damage and muscle inflammation. This finding alone warrants further investigation.
Delta-3-carene is a bicyclic monoterpene with a sweet, pungent odor. It is found naturally in many healthy, beneficial essential oils, including cypress oil, juniper berry oil and fir needle essential oils. In higher concentrations, delta-3-carene can be a central nervous system depressant. It is often used to dry out excess body fluids, such as tears, mucus, and sweat.
Geraniol produces a sweet, delightful smell similar to roses. This makes geraniol a popular choice for many bath and body products. It is also known to be an effective mosquito repellant. Medically, geraniol shows promise in the treatment of neuropathy.
Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene found in many plants such as Thai basils, cloves, cinnamon leaves and black pepper, and in minor quantities in lavender. It’s aroma has been described as peppery, woody and/or spicy. Caryophyllene is the only terpene known to interact with the endocannabinoid system (CB2).
Humulene is a sesquiterpene also known as α-humulene and α–caryophyllene; an isomer of β–caryophyllene. Humulene is found in hops, cannabis sativa strains, and Vietnamese coriander, among other naturally occurring substances. Humulene is what gives beer its distinct ‘hoppy’ aroma. Humulene is considered to be anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anorectic (suppresses appetite). It has commonly been blended with β–caryophyllene and used as a major remedy for inflammation. Humulene has been used for generations in Chinese medicine. It aids in weight loss by acting as an appetite suppressant.
Benefits & Effects of Humulene
The medical and therapeutic potential of humulene is expansive and well-researched. A 2016 study shows that it may help terminate cancer cells when combined with phytocannabinoids and other terpenes. Humulene is present in many therapeutic-grade essential oils and the use of such oils for healing purposes dates back centuries. The terpene is present in Balsam fir oil (a.k.a. Abies balsamea essential oil), and is believed to be an active mechanism in fighting tumors, evidenced by its ability to produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).
The oil was also shown to exhibit antibacterial properties in another study, proving to be active against the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (a.k.a. golden staph) when administered in small quantities. S. aureus is a bacterium present in our bodies at all times, but it can play a role in a host of nasty infections and diseases when exposed.
Linalool is a monoterpenoid and has been described as having floral and lavender undertones. Varieties high in linalool promote calming, relaxing effects. Linalool has been used for centuries as a sleep aid. Linalool lessens the anxious emotions provoked by pure tetrahydrocannabinol, thus making it helpful in the treatment of both psychosis and anxiety. Studies also suggest that linalool boosts the immune system; can significantly reduce lung inflammation; and can restore cognitive and emotional function.
Humans have inhaled the scent of certain plants, including many containing linalool, since ancient times to help lower stress levels, fight inflammation, and combat depression. Linalool has been the subject of many studies, including a recent one in which scientists allowed lab rats to inhale linalool while exposing them to stressful conditions. It was reported that linalool returned elevated stress levels in the immune system to near-normal conditions.
Limonene is a monoterpenoid and one of two major compounds formed from pinene. As the name suggests, varieties high in limonene have strong citrusy smells like oranges, lemons and limes. Strains high in limonene promote a general uplift in mood and attitude. This citrusy terpene is the major constituent in citrus fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper and peppermint, as well as in several pine needle oils. Limonene is highly absorbed by inhalation and quickly appears in the bloodstream. Clinical studies have shown that it assists in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and other body tissue.
Myrcene, specifically β-myrcene, is a monoter- pene and the most common terpene produced by cannabis (some varieties contain up to 60% of the essential oil). Its aroma has been described as musky, earthy, herbal – akin to cloves. A high myrcene level in cannabis (usually above 0.5%) results in the well-known “couch-lock” effect of classic Indica medicinal cannais strains. Myrcene is found in oil of hops, citrus fruits, bay leaves, eucalyptus, wild thyme, lemon grass and many other plants. Myrcene has some very special medicinal properties, including lowering the resistance across the blood to brain barrier, allowing itself and many other chemicals to cross the barrier easier and more quickly.
Akin to its name, pinene has distinctive aromas of pine and fir. Pinene is one of the principal monoterpenes that is important physiologically in both plants and animals. It tends to react with other chemicals, forming a variety of other terpenes (like limonene) and other compounds. Pinene is used in medicine as an anti-inflammatory, expectorant, bronchodilator and local antiseptic. Clinical studies indicate that the effects of THC may be lessened if mixed with pinene.
α-Terpineol, terpinen-4-ol, and 4-terpineol are three closely related monoterpenoids. The aroma of terpineol has been compared to lilacs and flower blossoms. Terpineol is often found in cannabis varieties that have high pinene levels, which unfortunately mask the fragrant aromas of terpineol. Terpineol, specifically α-terpineol, is known to have calming, relaxing effects. It also exhibits antibiotic, AChe inhibitor and antioxidant antimalarial properties.
Pulegone, a monocyclic monoterpenoid, is a minor component of cannabis. Higher concentrations of pulegone are found in rosemary. Rosemary breaks down acetylcho- line in the brain, allowing nerve cells to communicate more effectively with one another. An ethnopharmacology study indicates pulegone may have significant sedative and fever-reducing properties. It may also alleviate the side effects of short-term memory loss sometimes associated with long term use of THC.
Terpinolene is a common component of sage and rosemary and is found in the oil derived from Monterey cypress. Its largest use in the United States is in soaps and perfumes. It is also a great insect repellent. Terpinolene is known to have a piney aroma with slight herbal and floral nuances. It tends to have a sweet flavor reminiscent of citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. Terpinolene has been found to be a central nervous system depressant used to induce drowsiness or sleep or to reduce psychological excitement or anxiety. Further,
terpinolene was found to markedly reduce the protein expression of AKT1 in K562 cells and inhibited cell proliferation involved in a variety of human cancers.
Emerging research is also looking at terpinolene’s potential to reduce the risk of heart disease when used in concert with other nutrients, and its possible role in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. Keep in mind, researchers are still teasing out the possible effects of terpinolene. In addition, many scientists believe that terpenes and cannabinoids work in tandem to create a strain’s overall effect—so don’t expect a strain that contains terpinolene to necessarily have relaxing, sedative properties.
This 2014 study shows that ocimene derived from flowers of the Citrus Unshiu plant, a close relative of the mandarin orange, had highly effective anti-inflammatory properties. For the study, a chemical composition analysis of the essential oils of the flowers was performed via gas chromatography- mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
The study revealed that ocimene made up 5.6% of the oil’s chemical constituency. The study also found supporting evidence that these oils have the potential to suppress the production of several different inflammatory substances emitted by the immune system.
Further research indicates that ocimene may help treat symptoms of diabetes by inhibiting the proliferation of key enzymes. In this 2013 study, GC-MS analysis of the essential oils of black pepper seeds revealed ocimene as a key constituent. This oil was shown to have anti-oxidative properties as well as the ability to inhibit key enzymes connected to type 2 diabetes and hypertension.
At Pure Therapy, we have recognized how important it is to maintain the terpenes during the extraction process because of the beneficial properties that the hemp plant possess. We understand the science behind health conditions and the science of how certain terpenes profile of the plant can be beneficial to our bodies. Our products are physician formulated with you in mind.
Please visit our website Pure Therapy MD for more information about our products at https://www.puretherapymd.com/shop-products.