Although CBD, (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahidrocanabinol) are the best-known chemical elements of Cannabis chemovars, these are only two of the more than 500 chemical compounds that this plant brings together. Among them are more than 120 terpenes which represent an ample therapeutic arsenal, interacting with the cannabinoids in such a way as to potentiate the physiological and therapeutic effects of full-spectrum Cannabis products. The synergy of this interaction is called the Entourage Effect.
In this content we will tell you more about this and explain the benefits of terpenes from the Cannabis plant, making a list of their main effects on the body. Read on and understand why you should prioritize full spectrum products in your prescribing practice!
Therapeutic benefits of Cannabis terpenes
Terpenes make up a broad therapeutic arsenal of Cannabis, being responsible for the aroma of the plant and for stimulating characteristic physiological effects, depending on the profile of these substances.
Knowing the terpene profile of the prescribed products is crucial for a more effective and assertive prescription . In fact, the richer the cannabinoid and terpene profile of the plant, the better its therapeutic performance can be.
In this regard, we highlight the importance of the Entourage Effect in the optimization of results and, especially, in the modulation of possible adverse effects. This interaction is potentiated by the use of full spectrum, Cannabis products, that is, products manufactured with the whole plant, aiming to contain all of its chemical elements.
This is because when we use the whole extract of the plant (and not just its isolated parts such as CBD only, or products without THC), the several cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and esters of the chemovar, act in synergy to potentiate the common therapeutic effects and inhibit potential adverse effects of some chemical element.
For further information on assertive prescribing, enjoy our complete guide and learn more about how to choose and prescribe Cannabis products safely and effectively!
What is already scientifically known about it?
There are already several scientific studies attesting to the potential of terpenes in the interaction between the Endocannabinoid System and the other chemical elements in Cannabis. One example is this bibliographic review that suggests the therapeutic properties of terpenes in several pathological contexts, with good results in inflammatory, infectious and neurodegenerative diseases.
>> You can read the full review here: Terpenoids, Cannabimimetic Ligands, beyond the Cannabis Plant.
Another example is this bibliographic review that looks at the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids beyond CBD and THC. The review evaluates the potential of phytocannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabivarin, cannabigerol and cannabichromene, while also exploring the phytotherapeutic profile of the terpenes: limonene, myrcene, α-pinene, linalool, β-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, nerolidol and phytol.
The research suggests that terpenes from Cannabis are quite potent in both animals and humans when inhaled from ambient air, contributing to the entourage effect of medical extracts based on the plant. The review covers studies showing good and synergistic results with regard to the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, drug addiction, epilepsy, symptoms associated with cancer, and fungal and bacterial infections.
>> You can read the full review here: Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects.
More specifically anxiety and mood disordersregarding this literature review evaluating the interaction of cannabinoids with terpenes in psychiatric practice stands out. It is already known scientifically that the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) plays an important role in modulação do humor, as well as learning and memory processes.
Phytocannabinoids and terpenes in Cannabis help to balance the ECS, promoting quality of life and bringing well-being to patients in various pathological contexts. The studies that make up the review evaluate the therapeutic contribution of terpenes through the entourage effect of the plant, highlighting this interaction as a potential tool in the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders.
>> You can read the full review here: The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders.
This research also shows that chemovars with higher concentrations of terpenes favor the entourage effect, potentiating the therapeutic results of Cannabis products. The study showed an important role for terpenes in pain modulation and relief, through the activation of CB1 endocannabinoid receptors.
For this experiment, the terpenes linalool, a-humulene, b-pinene and geraniol were tested individually and in combination with the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55,212-2, which stimulates the body’s natural cannabinoid receptors. The results showed that the four terpenes activated the CB1 receptor, as do THC and other phytocannabinoids.
The test was performed on mice, showing that when administered individually, the terpenes decreased pain sensitivity and at least one of three common side effects following CB1 receptor activation in these animals: hypolocomotion, hypothermia, and catalepsy.
Furthermore, when these terpenes were combined with the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55,212-2, the researchers observed a greater reduction in pain sensation compared to using the terpene alone or the synthetic cannabinoid alone, substantiating the positive effects of the entourage effect.
The research made it clear that some of the main terpenes present in Cannabis are able to activate CB1 receptors and potentiate the analgesic effects of the plant.
>> You can check out the full experiment here: In Defense of the “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Found in Cannabis sativa Activate the Cannabinoid Receptor 1 In Vivo.
Another valuable benefit of this synergistic interaction between cannabinoids and terpenes is the possibility of using smaller and equally effective doses of the plant extracts, also minimizing the possibility of adverse effects.
Types of terpenes of Cannabis
We have seen that the terpenes in Cannabis act synergistically with the other chemical compounds in the plant. Terpenes are also responsible for the aroma of Cannabis. Cannabinoids, on the other hand, have no odor, so the fragrance of the plant is determined by the predominant terpenes. We’ll tell you more about them below.
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Cannabis Terpenes and their effects
Check out the therapeutic properties of some of the most common terpenes in Cannabis:
- Also found in pine.
- Also found in lavender.
- Gastric protector;
- Also found in black peppers.
- Sleep inducer;
- Muscle relaxant;
- Also found in hops.
The occurrence of the Entourage Effect and the optimization of therapeutic results depend on the synergy of action of the various cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other chemical elements of the plant, present in full spectrum products.
Would you like to learn more about how to choose and dose cannabinoid derivatives? Access our guide and understand how to reach the desired therapeutic doses!
Ferber SG, Namdar D, Hen-Shoval D, Eger G, Koltai H, Shoval G, Shbiro L, Weller A. The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2020.
Gallily R, Yekhtin Z, Hanuš LO. The Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Terpenoids from Cannabis. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2018
Gonçalves ECD, Baldasso GM, Bicca MA, Paes RS, Capasso R, Dutra RC. Terpenoids, Cannabimimetic Ligands, beyond the Cannabis Plant. Molecules. 2020.
LaVigne J, Hecksel R, Streicher JM. In Defense of the “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Found in Cannabis sativa Activate the Cannabinoid Receptor 1 In Vivo. The FASEB Journal. 2020.
Russo EB. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. Br J Pharmacol. 2011.