Here’s to your health!
Well, well, a good day to you, fellow smoking science fan! Here’s your favourite Professor, and today, I want to discuss terpenes from a broad medical perspective with you. The reason I want to shed some light on this topic is that since you’re a cannabis enthusiast like myself, you can probably make good use of some knowledge on the health aspects associated with the terpenes in your weed. I mean, they’re already in your joint anyway, so why not arm yourself with some general knowledge about which terpenes to look for when you’re feeling a bit down or slightly anxious, or after you fell of your chair laughing at some stoner movie and sprained your wrist in the process, eh?
Scratching the surface
Okay, so in my previous articles I’ve made a few attempts at explaining what terpenes are, broadly speaking, and how they can have effects on our mind and our body. These were just introductory texts, and we’ve only been dipping our toes here. The funny thing is, so has science. Research into the psychoactive and medicinal effects of terpenes is still in its infancy, but just as happened with CBD, more and more researchers and medical companies are starting to see the potential of terpenes for our well-being and health.
Healthy green groceries
A word of warning is in place here, though: this is not unshakeable medical science based on decades of solid research. We’re just starting to discover what terpenes can do for our health and general wellbeing, so don’t think you’ll never need to visit any doctor ever again once you’ve read this article. It’s more like knowing about vitamins and vegetables, and what a healthy diet can do for you. Once you know what to look for in the grocery store, it helps keep you fitter and healthier in a general way. The same can apply to paying attention to terpenes when buying or growing your, well, other green groceries.
An alternative to synthetic drugs?
All over the world, many people suffer from conditions such as depression, anxiety and chronic pain that are notoriously hard to treat with regular modern medication. Sure enough, if you go to a doctor with problems like these, they’ll always have some sort of pill they suggest you stuff your face with. Trouble is, they don’t always work, and what’s more, they usually come with serious side effects that leave you with a whole new range of symptoms to treat. The terpenes in cannabis can have effects like synthetic drugs: they may not be as powerful, but at least they’re plant-based, and they don’t come with all the horrid side-effects that painkillers and antidepressants can bring.
A quick glance at some terpene effects
As more and more research findings are coming in, some general patterns are starting to emerge. Any cannabis strain contains well over 100 different terpenes, so for now, let’s just pick two well-known ones and see how they compare.
The first terpene that comes to mind is limonene. Limonene is easily recognisable, as it gives a citrus-like scent to strains like OG Kush or Lemon Haze, for example – you’ll know it when you smell it. Limonene is said to help against anxiety issues and lift feelings of depression. Broadly speaking, it can lift your mood and reduce feelings of stress. Even just smelling the scent of lemons or oranges in the air can in fact have a soothing effect on the mind, and this is due to the limonene in these fruits’ essential oils. Well, guess what: the same limonene can be in your next smoke!
Myrcene has a spicy, peppery aroma, with fruity and herb-like tones. Myrcene is found in parsley, thyme, mango, and hops, to name but a few natural sources. You can also find it in many famous cannabis strains like Northern Lights. Myrcene is reported to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s also an antiseptic and antifungal compound, so it can help cleanse the body of all sorts of contaminants. It has a range of mental effects too, including relaxing properties, which explains the stress relief claim. Interestingly, myrcene may help enhance the effect of THC. Supposedly, myrcene helps to ‘ease up’ the passing of THC through the brain/blood barrier, which I touched upon before. This could give strains with high myrcene content a sedative, heavy ‘couch-lock’ stoner effect, which sure holds true for THC-heavy Northern Lights. If you really need to get that stressed-out feeling off your mind, then myrcene would seem a sensible choice of sensi.
The search continues…
Right, I see I’ve been going on long enough for one article here today. At least we’ve now seen that just a quick glance at two of the 100+ terpenes in cannabis opens up a range of possibilities for their medicinal or recreational use. I think you’ll agree that we are going to have to dig a little deeper here. There’s lots more to find out, but I’ll leave that for future articles. For now, I’m going to kick back and stock up on some terpenes myself. See you next time for more smoky science as the search for terpene goodness continues!
Yours Empirically, Professor Harvest at the Coffeeshop Info Centre in lovely Amsterdam.