While much of the recreational or adult use cannabis industry focuses on high-THC products, its important that the Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania patients who get their medical cannabis certification from Compassionate Clinics of America understand that cannabis medicine is a lot more than THC.
While THC and CBD are cannabinoids that are known to produce the effects of cannabis, with THC being intoxicating and psychoactive, and CBD being non-intoxicating, terpenes hold the key to what differentiates different cultivars (strains) and products. Terpenes also hold medicinal and therapeutic properties that are essential in achieving the patient’s desired outcomes with cannabis medicine.
Earlier on our blog we featured 5 Terpenes to Have On Your Radar, highlighting the important medical and therapeutic role that these compounds in cannabis hold. Here, we’ll provide an overview of what terpenes are, refresh the 5 terpenes we previously covered, and introduce new terpenes and their properties.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in the essential oils all plants in the natural world, including cannabis. Terpenes contribute to the flavor, aroma, and sometimes effect that a medical cannabis patient will experience between different cultivars (strains) of cannabis.
Terpenes are essential players in The Entourage Effect or the synergy between cannabinoids, terpenes, and other components of the cannabis plant that lead to its effect. Terpenes are what differentiate a cannabis cultivar (strain) that will have you up cleaning the house or locked into the couch with your TV remote.
5 Terpenes to Have on Your Radar: A Refresher
We featured in detail the medical and therapeutic properties of 5 terpenes in a previous blog, but here is a refresher before we introduce more terpenes in detail:
- Limonene – Abundant in all citrus fruits, valued for its anti-anxiety, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and can contribute to pain management.
- Myrcene – The most common terpene found in cannabis, mostly known for its sedative effects, and is being researched for its pain relieving properties, antioxidant attributes, and potential anti-microbial properties.
- Humulene – A unique terpene as it acts as both a terpene and a cannabinoid with possible anti-inflammatory attributes, anti-bacterial properties, and potential anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties.
- Alpha Pinene – The most abundant terpene in the natural world, and is being researched for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its potential for pain management. It also holds bronchodilator properties, and anti-bacterial properties.
- Beta-Caryophyllene – Able to activate several receptors in the body, including the CB2 of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), demonstrating analgesic properties, and may act as an antioxidant for the liver and help control gastric acids.
5 More Terpenes for Medical Cannabis Patients to Have on their Radar
There are hundreds of terpenes in the natural world, and the advancement of medical cannabis is leading to more research on the medical and therapeutic properties and benefits of these natural compounds.
Here are 5 more terpenes that the medical practitioners at Compassionate Clinics of America are excited about:
Nerolidol is known for having an aroma that is similar to tree bark and is found in strong aromatics such as jasmine, tea tree oil, and lemongrass. Similar to myrcene, Nerolidol is known as a sedative terpene.
A 2016 study took a close look at Nerolidol, showing its many potential medicinal applications, holding potentially anti-cancer, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, anti-bioﬁlm, anti-oxidant, anti-nociceptive, anti-inﬂammatory, anti-ulcer, skin penetration enhancer, insect repellent, and anti-cancer properties.
Linalool is often related to relaxing and calming effects. Most detected in lavender, linalool is in over 200 plants, and is one of the most popular alternative medicine sleep aids in the world.
Like myrcene and nerolidol, Linalool is known mostly for its sedative effects, with animal studies confirming that linalool does produce sedation without a loss of motor function. Other animal studies observe that Linalool can produce feelings of relaxation and counteract anxiety (when inhaled), produce anti-inflammatory effects to sources of inflammatory pain, or may have anticonvulsant properties.
Studies on addiction prevention see the potential of linalool via lavender therapies as a way to reduce dependence on opioids post-operation. It may be helpful in restoring lung health for smokers, with another study observing that it inhibits smoke-related lung inflammation.
Geraniol is a sweet yet floral terpene found in rose, lemongrass, peaches, carrots, coriander, blackberries, and of course, cannabis. Geraniol acts as an analgesic, with initial animal studies confirming its effect on how the brain interprets pain, while other animal studies confirming that it acts as an anti-inflammatory.
It also has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties suggesting its effectiveness against fungal and bacterial infections. When used in cannabis or CBD topical products, Geraniol enhances skin penetration upon application.
Eucalyptol is a very recognizable terpene, most linked to eucalyptus and has been widely researched for its medical and therapeutic properties. It’s also found in bay leaves, tea tree oil, rosemary, and common sage, in addition to cannabis.
Eucalyptol holds anti-bacterial properties as well as analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. For the possible treatment of asthma or other lung conditions, Eucalyptol also has bronchodilation properties.
Citronellol is most linked to citronella, which is known to be a powerful insect repellant, but also holds important potential medical properties that are continuing to be uncovered. It is most known for holding antibacterial and anti-microbial properties with potential for the control of microbial infections in humans in animals.
Animal studies on citronellol show potential anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anti-oxidant effects, and position it as an alternative method for pain mediation and management.
When used in a blend alongside lemongrass and patchouli, Citronellol may be effective against acne and dermatitis when applied through a topical cannabis or CBD product.
Integrating Terpenes into the Medical Cannabis Experience
Once a patience receives their medical cannabis recommendation, they will be able to explore various cannabis cultivars (strains) and products that have various terpene profiles, which can be found on the label or by viewing or requesting a Certificate of Analysis (COA) on a cannabis product. Taking the time to learn about terpenes help the patient in choosing products that help them get to their desired outcomes for relief.
In terms of how much of a cannabis product is composed of terpenes, prominent cannabis researcher Dr. Ethan Russo has stated that terpene concentrations higher than 0.5% in cannabis are of “pharmacological note”, which means that terpenes in products would need to be at or higher than this level to have a medical or therapeutic outcome. One of the benefits of getting your medical cannabis certification in an adult use state is that medical cannabis dispensaries take great care in ensuring product choices have terpene-rich profiles.
Embrace Terpenes and Medical Cannabis with Compassionate Clinics of America
At Compassionate Clinics of America, we provide as much education as possible to our Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania patients to help guide them through their medical cannabis journey. Be sure to read the articles on our blog and stay tuned to this space as we continue to release more information to ensure those who receive a medical cannabis recommendation from us are empowered in their journey towards relief, healing, health, and well-being.