Terpenes & Stress: The "Other Medicine" in Cannabis
Learn/Terpenes & Stress: The "Other Medicine" in Cannabis
If you use cannabis to help manage stress and other symptoms, you may already know about the cannabinoids THC and CBD: Both of which exert beneficial effects on our bodies and minds. But incredibly, cannabinoids aren’t the only medically active compounds in the cannabis plant. If you’re interested in harnessing the power of this natural cannabis plant medicine, it’s time to get to know the world of cannabis terpenes.
What Are Cannabis Terpenes?
Terpenes are fragrant oils that give different strains of cannabis—as well as countless other natural products—their distinctive aromas and flavors. There are over 100 terpenes found in cannabis, delivering an incredible array of scents and flavors, including earthy myrcene, lemony limonene and minty camphor, to name but a few. And, as a growing body of research suggests, those alluring aromas are much more than just enjoyable on the nose: Cannabis terpenes may deliver measurable health benefits, especially when it comes to fighting stress. In today’s post, we’ll explore the world of these aromatic and relaxing plant-based powerhouses.
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Terpenes vs THC: A Comparison
One of the things that makes cannabis so fascinating is that it contains not just one or two, but several entire classes of medicines. And while chemically speaking the cannabinoids and terpenes are completely distinct, they work very differently from each other and in harmony with each other.
We’ve written previously about cannabinoids, the family that includes THC and CBD, among other compounds. They interact with a regulatory network called the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that’s involved in the regulation of immune response, pain, memory, and sleep, among other functions.
As we come to understand the active ingredients in cannabis through research, a hypothesis has formed suggesting that these active compounds, and in particular cannabinoids and terpenes, work synergistically to provide a more holistic benefit than any one compound could on its own. This theory is called the “entourage effect” and while the workings of the entourage effect are still coming into focus, there is growing evidence to support those specific terpenes exert anti-stress effects all on their own.
Cannabis Terpenes: Natural Stress Fighters
Stress is one of the major reasons people turn to cannabis medicine. After all, a number of studies point to the effectiveness of cannabinoids such as CBD for stress. But individual terpenes play a role as well. It’s already known that the linalool terpene—found in lavender, bergamot, and other aromatics—seems to exert pain-fighting effects. But at least one study demonstrates that it may also soothe stress and boost overall relaxation, too.
Have you ever inhaled the scent of fresh citrus and experienced a gentle lift in your mood? That may be coming from the limonene terpene, cherished for its unique ability to chase away stress (an observation supported by several studies). Animal studies have also shown that limonene may also help increase our body’s supply of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, both of which are important to mental wellness.
And caryophyllene—a signature component in black pepper’s spicy bite—may also have a role to play in fighting stress. Studies have established that the terpene exhibits calming effects in rodent models. Some researchers are hopeful that the terpene may eventually find a use as an all-natural treatment for stress disorders.
Cannabis Terpenes: In Conclusion
As you’ve probably guessed, we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of cannabis terpenes—a fantastically rich and varied family of aromatic compounds. Just as a growing body of evidence supports the efficacy of CBD for stress, there’s increasing proof that terpenes offer many profound and medically useful effects on our bodies and minds.
At Papa & Barkley, we’re big proponents of harnessing the full power of plants. That’s why all of our products are made with chemical-free, whole-plant infusions that contain the full spectrum of terpenes (and cannabinoids!) present in each plant we harvest. From our award-winning topicals to our convenient and effective tinctures, you’re putting terpenes to work with each and every one of our products.
If you have any other questions on the concept of terpenes vs THC—or any of the other ways our CBD supplements can support your overall health and wellness—don’t hesitate to ask. We’re always here to help!