Medicinal Terpenes

Terpenes produce more than just scents. These secret weapons and key communicators of the plant world – about 20,000 distinct chemicals have been identified so far – can also induce a wide range of biological effects. There’s evidence that some plant terpenes can improve cognition, block pain, kill harmful bacteria, cause hallucinations, inhibit inflammation, fight cancer, make you sick, reduce stress, and get you high.

In the cannabis world, terpenes are a subject of steadily increasing interest. Project CBD recently reported on a new study that used analytical chemistry to determine key differences between cannabis samples labeled Sativa and Indica. The researchers uncovered no evidence for the common assumption that these two terms represent distinct genetic lineages, and there was also no meaningful difference between them in terms of cannabinoid profile. Ultimately, it all boiled down to a handful of terpenes including farnesene, myrcene, and eudesmol – compounds that, together with even-less-studied flavonoids, simultaneously influence cannabis flavor and effect.

As scientists continue to study terpenes and their place in not just the cannabis world but all of herbal medicine, new and sometimes surprising findings about these fascinating plant compounds emerge almost weekly.

BAD FOR CANCER CELLS, GOOD FOR BRAIN HEALTH?
Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene (consisting of three isoprene units) famous for contributing to the spiciness of black pepper. It’s also found in cannabis, cloves, hops, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, basil, and more. As a result of its presence in so many common foods and spices, it has been the subject of significant scientific attention over the last couple decades – especially following the discovery in 2008 that beta-caryophyllene binds to the CB2 cannabinoid receptor, making it the first known “dietary cannabinoid.”

Beta-caryophyllene, a cannabis terpene that binds to the CB2 receptor, is a “dietary cannabinoid.”

In the last month, two more papers have….read more on Project CBD

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