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Can The Best Terpenes Relieve Pain And Inflammation?
Terpenes play a significant role in the analgesic (pain-relieving) and anti-inflammatory effects of medical cannabis. Most people are aware of the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids but are less familiar with the important part that terpenes play in the plant’s healing properties.
Read on to learn more about how the best terpenes can help relieve acute pain and chronic pain, anxiety, and inflammation.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are fragrant oils that produce strong aromas in the plant world. They are produced by many plants, fruits, and even some insects. It is thought that these sweet aromas have evolved as a means of attracting pollinators and repelling animals that might eat them.
Cannabis is a plant that is naturally high in terpene content. This is the plant component that is responsible for the potent smell of the cannabis buds. If you have ever indulged in essential oils, the soothing beneficial effects you may have felt would have also been produced by terpenes.
The Science Behind How Terpenes Alleviate Pain
Cannabis plants contain a specific gland that produces cannabinoids associated with pain-relief i.e. THC and CBD. Terpenes are in fact produced by the same gland that produces these cannabinoids and subsequently possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of their own.
Terpenes act in a similar way to cannabinoids in the way they communicate with certain protein cell receptors in the body’s inner endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is this interaction that promotes the beneficial effects of consuming cannabis. This has lead researchers to pursue the potential of using terpenes for pain reducent.
The ECS is the body’s physiological system that regulates things like pain, appetite, sleep, stress, and mood. In 2008, it was discovered that the terpene caryophyllene is able to directly activate the body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. This suggests that other terpenes make also have the ability to activate cell receptors in the ECS and promote the same healing effects as cannabinoids. This includes the power to suppress an overactive immune response to both inflammation and pain.
The Best Terpenes For Pain And Inflammation Relief
There are more than 200 variations of terpenes in the cannabis plant. Some of these terpenes fight acute and chronic pain, while others do not actively relieve pain systems.
If you are seeking relief for a specific symptom, we recommend asking your budtender for advice when you visit your local dispensary. We have also taken the liberty of sharing some of the best terpenes for pain management. We have listed terpenes that can be found in popular strains of cannabis that are readily available at most dispensaries.
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Linalool is commonly found in plants like lavender, citrus, and mint. This floral terpene is known for its anti-anxiety properties, hence why lavender is a popular fragrance for relaxing bath products and night time essential oils.
In addition to being a contributing factor in the calming effects of cannabis, linalool has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. It is believed to be particularly effective against chronic conditions like MS, arthritis, and chronic pain. The soothing properties of these terpenes are often the reason why cannabis is sometimes recommended as a treatment for those suffering from insomnia.
Beta-myrcene is believed to be the dominant terpene in more than 40% of known cannabis strains. It is commonly found in cannabis, but also in fruits like mangoes and other plants like lemongrass and bay leaves. Several animal studies have indicated that myrcene terpenes may be useful in both the treatment of acute pain, chronic pain, and anxiety.
Myrcene produces a citrus-like aroma. The terpene is particularly common among indica strains of marijuana. It works alongside THC to relax sore muscles, fight inflammation, and calm pain.
The most commonly found terpene in the natural world is pinene. This terpene can be found in a huge range of fruits and plants, including conifer trees, pine needles, orange peels, and rosemary.
Peiene has an earthy, piney scent. It is also strongly associated with anti-inflammation and pain reduction. It is most commonly recommended to treat chronic pain conditions like arthritis and MS, making it one of the best terpenes for pain.
You’ll find pinene in strains like Cannatoinc and Grape Ape. In addition to its physical pain-related benefits, this terpene also has calming anti-anxiety effects and combats the short-term memory loss that is often associated with the use of THC.
Limonene is found in approximately 8% of cannabis strains. This terpene produces the citrus smell in fruits like oranges and lemons. Strains like Super Lemon Haze and Super Sour Diesel are named according to the potent presence of these terpenes.
Limonene is believed to stimulate the immune system. It is also used for treatment against the mental symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as the physical symptoms of pain and inflammation. This makes it one of the best terpenes for pain treatment thanks to its dual immune system boosting and pain-relieving properties.
Beta-Caryophyllene is found in all types of plant life, including hops, basil cloves, and rosemary. It is believed to exist in approximately 13% of known cannabis strains and is one of the most popular terpenes for pain reduction.
Caryophyllene has been found to activate cell receptors in the body’s endocannabinoid system. By activating CB2 receptors, the terpene produces anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects. One particular study (2013) demonstrated that these terpenes can reduce pain in mice.
More research is still needed but so far, results have strongly suggested that the terpene’s ability to activate the body’s CB2 receptors means that beta-caryophyllene is one of the best terpenes to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. CB2 reception activation also works to prevent seizures and decrease plaque buildup in the arteries.
Eucalyptol is found in eucalyptus trees, bay leaves, and tea trees. It produces a strong eucalyptus order and is often used in insecticide to ward off insects.
This fresh-scented terpene has been seen to reduce inflammation in sinuses and the digestive system. Research has even suggested that eucalyptol could be used to treat chronic conditions like Alzheimer’s. It has also been seen to be effective in treatment against certain cancers, such as leukemia.
In a clinical trial, eucalyptol reduced pancreatic edema, cerulein-induced histological damage, and other pain-related symptoms of rhinosinusitis. As far as the future of using terpenes for pain goes, the medical use of eucalyptol found in cannabis is looking very promising. It has already proven to be one of the best terpenes for pain and terpene research continues to support these findings.