What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are compounds responsible for the unique aroma associated with plants like cannabis, pine, and lavender. Aside from fragrance, terpenes may also offer some health benefits to the human body.
In some plants, terpenes attract pollinators, while in other plants, they cause a strong reaction to repel predators, such as insects or foraging animals. Some terpenes play a protective role in the plant, helping the plant to recover from damage; others act as a part of the plant’s immune system to keep away infectious germs.
As regulations surrounding cannabis become less stringent, the research surrounding the potential therapeutic effects of these plants and the associated terpenes are becoming more prominent.
Terpenes and The Body
Terpenes can be bioactive, which means they may affect the body. The degree at which the terpenes affect the body is dependent on the concentration of the terpene itself and how the person is using it. Research suggests that many terpenes have demonstrated beneficial effects on the body and could serve as an alternative medical remedy.
Some terpenes types include Limonene, Pinene, Linalool, Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Humulene, Geraniol, Terpinolene, Ocimene, and Phytol.
If your interested in a more detailed view of each of these terpenes and their potential threptic effects on the body, reference below!
Limonene is a terpene common in lemons and oranges, providing their signature citrusy scent. Limonene is associated with a wide array of health benefits, including its ability to enhance focus, quell stress and help fight depression and anxiety.
A Study in Chemico-Biological Interactions notes that limonene appears to modulate the way certain immune cells behave, which ay protect the body from a range of disorders. This study suggests that limonene has the following therapeutic properties:
Pinene provides the fresh scent associated with pine needles, rosemary, and basil. Pinene acts as a bronchodilator, allowing more air into the lungs. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect that may fight against infection when inhaled. Some studies suggest that the terpene can also with pain relief, anti-anxiety and may help combat short term memory impairments associated with THC consumption.
Linalool is most abundant in the lavender plant and gives the flower its rich scent. Linalool is one of the more important compounds in aromatherapy and is responsible for the calming effect many people get when smelling lavender or its essential oil.
A study in Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces notes that linalool may affect the body in a variety of ways due to a range of properties, including:
Myrcene is a common terpene found in plants like cannabis, hops, lemongrass, and thyme. Myrcene has shown to be a powerful antioxidant and could provide protection from oxidative damage to vital organs in our system. Myrcene also has powerful antibiotic, antimutagenic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and sedative effects.
Humulene is a key component of the hop plant. Other plants, such as clove and ginger, also contain it.
One study in Frontiers in Pharmacology notes that terpenes, including humulene, may have potential in preventing allergic reactions and asthma. In animal models, humulene reduced allergic inflammation in the airways. This could make it a helpful compound for natural asthma treatments in the future.
This terpene has been used in Chinese medicine for generations and is a popular supplement for:
- Weight Loss
- Bacterial Infections
Terpenes are the compounds responsible for a plant’s scent, aid in the plants immune system, could help the plant recover from damage. They are abundant in cannabis and many other plants, fruits, and herbs. The latest research suggests that terpenes can provide health benefits to humans. Different terpenes react with the body in different ways depending on its concentration with different benefits associated with each.