When people think of terpenes, they often think of marijuana or hemp. At first glance, you would assume the two are synonymous, but how they interact within the body couldn’t be any more different. The only thing the two share in common is the fact that most people don’t realize exactly how beneficial both can be.
In this post, we will discuss the surprising health benefits of terpenes as well as what the most common terpenes types that are used.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are natural hydrocarbons which are responsible for giving plants and fruits their unique smell. Aside from smell, terpenes can also work synergistically with other compounds to enhance effects of other plants. While terpenes are often associated with marijuana and hemp, they can be found in other plants as well.
5 Health Benefits of Terpenes
1. Pain and Inflammation Alleviation
Some of the most commonly used terpenes used are known to have pain and anti-inflammatory effects. One of these terpenes is Myrcene. When used together with another terpene Beta-Caryophyllene, the two can work together synergistically to prevent and aid in pain relief while reducing inflammation. This ability to ward off pain can be explained to the terpenes’ ability to alter the permeability of cell membranes. This in turn causes the terpene to act more as a regulator which can enhance the effect of other cannabinoids.
2. Stress and Anxiety Symptom Reduction
When using specific terpenes together, it can help reduce stress and anxiety symptoms naturally. Using the terpene Linalool has shown positive effects in people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder and mild forms of depression. It has worked so well in fact, there are even some studies to suggest using the terpene Linalool was able to reverse hallmark symptoms of the disease Alzheimer’s while simultaneously working to restore some cognitive function.
3. Elimination of Bacteria
Some terpenes, when extracted from specific plant sources have been proven to help aid in the elimination of bacteria. Using the terpene Cineole was shown to fight against the bacteria Bacillus subtilis and even build a defense against the bacteria Trichophyton mentagrophytes. There has even been a study which found this terpene was able to prevent the transmission of Herpes type 2
4. Inhibiting Cancer Cell Growth
There are some terpenes whose value should never be underestimated. One of these terpenes is Terpinolene. This terpene was recently found to help aid in the reduction of AKT1, a protein kinase which contributes to cancer cell progression. It also helps to inhibit cell proliferation.
What does this mean?
It means this terpene was found to slow down the progression of cancer and helped to prevent cancer from spreading.
5. Anti-Seizure Relief
The terpene Linalool, which we already discussed, was also found to help aid in the reduction of seizure symptoms. The study that came to this conclusion was so successful in epilepsy patients, in 2018 after the completion of a successful clinical trial a CBD product containing Linalool was produced. This product is currently used as a form of treatment for those suffering from epilepsy.
Terpenes: The Bottomline
Terpenes, once thought of as science fiction, are now being used as a popular method of treatment for various ailments. However, even with the science backing it up, using terpenes on a regular basis can be a great way to promote overall well-being and keep you healthy regardless of your lifestyle.
AM, S.-G., E, O., & GP, C.-G. (2015). Linalool reverses neuropathological and behavioral impairments in old triple transgenic Alzheimer’s mice. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, 111–120. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.11.002.
McPartland, J. M., & Russo, E. B. (2010). Chapter 9: Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts: Greater than the sum of their parts? In Handbook of Cannabis Therapeutic (pp. 171–206). New York, NY: Digital Printing by Routledge.
Okumura, N., Yoshida, H., Nishimura, Y., Kitagishi, Y., & Matsuda, S. (2011). Terpinolene, a component of herbal sage, downregulates AKT1 expression in K562 cells. U.S. National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health, 2012(3), 321–324. doi: 10.3892/ol.2011.491
Thomas, R. H., & Cunningham, M. O. (2018). Cannabis and epilepsy. BMJ Journals Practical Neurology, 2018(18), 465–471. doi: 10.1136/practneurol-2018-002058