The hemp plant, which is technically both an herb and a vegetable, produces a variety of molecules that have been found to enhance human wellness and treat a variety of conditions. These molecules, called terpenes, fall close behind cannabinoids in importance to the hemp plant. To date, More than 200 terpenes have been identified in hemp.
Terpenes are the chemicals that give plants their alluring aroma. Interestingly, terpenes are found throughout nature, with more than 20,000 varieties produced by thousands of different plants, including hemp.
From an evolutionary perspective, terpenes are powerful aromatic agents utilized by plants to ward off pests and predators, thus, preserving the plant so that it can reproduce and propagate in nature.
In mammals, terpenes have been found to convey wellness benefits similar to those delivered by their chemical cousins the cannabinoids. We all know the plant lavender and its ability to relax, calm, sedate and relieve anxiety. This is because of linalool, the most prevalent terpene in lavender. Terpenes give the aroma as well as additional effects to hemp and marijuana beyond the cannabinoids.
Hundreds of diseases and conditions involve systemic inflammation. The ability of many terpenes to reduce this inflammation means they have efficacy for literally hundreds of conditions from neurologic to, arthritis. Many terpenes also convey anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, some even include the ability to kill MRSA.
According to Project CBD, the California-based non-profit organization, “Preclinical research indicates that full spectrum…cannabis oil is effective at much lower doses and has a wider therapeutic window than [an] isolate.”
WINGS™ tinctures provide an extra full spectrum of cannabinoids and additional natural terpenes that act in synergy to promote well-being. This is known as the Entourage Effect.
Research has indicated that terpenes interact synergistically with the human endocannabinoid system and often enhance or buffer the efficacy of cannabinoids and other terpenes. Sometimes this mechanism involves a terpene helping a cannabinoid cross the highly selective blood-brain barrier.
Due to this potential synergy, the exact composition of a hemp extract becomes increasingly important. Many wellness professionals and experts theorize that isolates and broad-spectrum extracts deprive users of many benefits of the entourage effect that are provided by full-spectrum formulations.
Research into the wellness benefits of dozens of terpenes, including how they interact with major cannabinoids such as CBD, has been taking place for decades.
A 2018 research study entitled “The Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Terpenoids” that was published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research found that terpenes reduce systemic inflammation. The study’s authors reported, “The terpenoid-rich essential oils exert anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities in vitro and in vivo, which vary according to their composition.”
Interestingly, the researchers also found that none of the terpenes tested was as effective in fighting systemic inflammation as the cannabinoid CBD. “None of the essential oils was as effective as purified CBD. In contrast to CBD that exerts prolonged immunosuppression and might be used in chronic inflammation, the terpenoids showed only a transient immunosuppression and might thus be used to relieve acute inflammation,” concluded the researchers.
Another 2018 study entitled “Patterns of Medicinal Cannabis Use, Strain Analysis, and Substitution Effect Among Patients with Migraine, Headache, Arthritis, and Chronic Pain in a Medicinal Cannabis Cohort” that was published in The Journal of Headache and Pain found that terpenes such as caryophyllene and myrcene provided anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Researchers reported, “Strains with predominant terpenes β-caryophyllene and β-myrcene [were] most preferred in the headache and migraine groups.”
A 2015 study entitled “Evaluation of the Anti-inflammatory, Anti-catabolic, and Pro-anabolic Effects of E-caryophyllene, Myrcene, and Limonene in a Cell Model of Osteoarthritis” that was published in the European Journal of Pharmacology demonstrated that myrcene is a significant anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic (preventing the breakdown of muscle mass). The study concluded that myrcene slowed and, in some cases, even halted the destruction of cartilage involved in this common variety of arthritis.
A 2012 study entitled “Terpinolene, a Component of Herbal Sage, Downregulates AKT1 Expression in K562 [Cancer] Cells” that was published in Oncology Letters used terpinolene that was extracted not from hemp, but rather rosemary and sage. The researchers observed that the terpinolene terpene reduced the expression of a special protein (AKT1) that results in the spread of cancer cells. “We found that terpinolene, a common component of sage and rosemary, markedly reduced the protein expression of AKT1 in K562 cells and inhibited [cancer] cell proliferation,” reported the researchers.
A 2011 study conducted by pioneering cannabinoid and terpene researcher Dr. Ethan Russo entitled “Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid‐Terpenoid Entourage Effects” that was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology studied the anti-inflammatory properties of the terpene pinene and its efficacy for inflammation-based conditions, including arthritis, cancer, and Crohn’s. “It is anti‐inflammatory and is a bronchodilator in humans at low exposure levels,” stated Russo. They study also noted the antibiotic benefits of this common terpene, concluding “[Pinene] seems to be a broad‐spectrum antibiotic.”
A 2002 study entitled “Anti-inflammatory Activity of Linalool and Linalyl Acetate Constituents of Essential Oils” that was published in the journal Phytomedicine considered the anti-inflammatory efficacy of the terpene linalool. The researchers noted, “The results obtained indicate that linalool and the corresponding acetate play a major role in the anti-inflammatory activity displayed by the essential oils containing them and provide further evidence suggesting that linalool and linalyl acetate-producing species are potentially anti-inflammatory agents.”
A 1999 study entitled “Anticonvulsant Properties of Linalool in Glutamate-related Seizure Models” that was published in the journal Phytomedicine found, in both in vitro and in vivo experiments, that the terpene linalool offers anti-seizure efficacy. The study states, “The data indicate that linalool modulates glutamate activation expression in vitro and in vivo.”
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