Terpene Physiological Effects
Pinene is shown to reduce inflammation associated with bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), osteoarthritis, and skin inflammation. While limonene exerts anti-inflammatory properties likely due to its antioxidant attributes, some terpenes are believed to even reduce neurological inflammation, a symptom of brain disease and other neurological disorders.
Some terpenes have been shown to reduce/slow tumor growth by acting on specific pathways throughout the body. Proliferation of tumors is multifaceted, including uncontrolled cell growth, weakened cell apoptosis, invasion activation and metastasis. The most well-known terpene to exert anti-tumor properties is limonene. It is powerfully effective in protecting against chemical-induced tumor growth including those that occur in the breasts, liver, pancreas, intestines and colon. Studies show that limonene stops tumor proliferation by inducing cell apoptosis and by suppressing the PI3K/Akt pathway, an intracellular pathway designed to regulate the cell cycle. Other profound effects terpenes have on the body are:
- Analgesic (relieves pain)
- Anorectic (weight loss)
- Antibacterial (slows bacteria growth)
- Anti-diabetic (reduces blood sugar levels)
- Antidepressant (relieves symptoms of depression)
- Anti-emetic (reduces vomiting and nausea)
- Anti-epileptic (reduces seizures and convulsions)
- Anti-fungal (treats fungal infections)
- Anti-inflammatory (reduces inflammation)
- Anti-insomnia (aids sleep)
- Anti-ischemic (reduces risk of arterial blockage)
- Anti-proliferative (inhibits cancer cell growth)
- Anti-psoriatic (treats psoriasis)
- Anti-psychotic (tranquilizing)
- Anti-spasmodic (suppresses muscle spasms)
- Anxiolytic (relieves anxiety)
- Appetite stimulant
- Bone stimulant (promotes bone growth)
- Gastro-esophageal reflux (reduces acid reflux)
- Immunostimulant (stimulates the immune system)
- Immunosuppressive (reduces function in the immune system)
- Intestinal anti-prokinetic (reduces small intestine contractions)
- Neuroprotective (retards nervous system degeneration)
- Vasorelaxant (reduces vascular tension).
Interestingly enough, terpenes can even help you when you smoke too much cannabis. I will repeat that for the first-time edible user who underestimated the potential of 11-hydroxy THC (the very potent, orally ingested THC), scouring through the internet trying to find information about being too high.
If you accidentally get uncomfortably high, specific terpenes can help get you back on track.
Beta-caryophyllene, pinene and limonene are all super helpful when you’ve accidentally taken too big of a puff, too generous of a dab, or consumed too much of an edible. Beta-caryophyllene is particularly good for those times when you’re feeling anxious, paranoid, or a helpless passenger to your thoughts, after taking too much THC. The terpene interacts with the CB2 receptor, which is known to regulate anxiety and stress levels and can bring you back to a state of content. Smelling black pepper or eating a snack with black pepper is all you need to start feeling calmer. If you have black pepper oil, diffusing it is another way to find relief. Other foods and herbs which contain the anxiety-calming terpene are oregano, basil, cloves, lavender, true cinnamon, and ylang-ylang.
Pinene promotes mental clarity so if you’re feeling ‘out of it’ or unable to focus, eating pine nuts or pistachios, which contain pinene, can clear the fog. As mentioned earlier, limonene has been proven to be extremely helpful for both anxiety and depression. Drinking some lemon juice or another citrus drink when you’re too high is another great way to combat uncomfortable feelings of anxiety and paranoia.