As Cannabis becomes more accepted as a medicinal aid, more research is being conducted to understand the complexity and advantages of the plant. Its superiority in the plant world is due, in part, to its history. The Cannabis plant is believed to be one of the first plants known to humans. Cannabis has been used for centuries, and it has been well-documented in historical records.

The healing cannabis plant is most notably known for the compounds THC and CBD. As researchers dive into the depths of the cannabinoid system it is becoming clear that cannabis terpenes are just as vital to a plant’s efficacy as are THC and CBD.

Within the Cannabis plant there are terpenes, or natural essential oils which contribute to the plant’s efficacy and versatility. Terpenes appear in abundance within nature, and it’s estimated that over 20,000 terpenes exist within our ecosystems. Every single plant, herb, flower, vegetable and fruit possess terpenes; and each terpene serves a very specific purpose. Terpenes contribute to the characteristic odor and flavor of any plant.

Paduch, Kandefer-Szerszeń, Trytek and Fiedurek, in their article titled “Terpenes: Substances Useful in Human Healthcare,” established that “Terpenes are naturally occurring substances produced by a wide variety of plants and animals. A broad range of the biological properties of terpenoids is described, including cancer chemopreventive effects, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antihyperglycemic, anti-inflammatory and antiparasitic activities.”

Borneol is one terpene that is prevalent in the Cannabis family. While it is not a common terpene, it is widely used throughout the world to treat a variety of ailments. This terpene smells earthy, like camphor or even menthol. It’s a strong analgesic pain killer that relaxes and reduces stress, alleviates insomnia, and helps with breathing by relieving pressure in the lungs and increasing air flow.

Borneol is a naturally occurring terpene which is found in several different plant species across the world. This terpene tends to have an earthy-spicy-minty flavor and scent. It is a component of camphor oil and has been used for almost 2,000 years as a remedy for several ailments.

Borneol is naturally found in wormwood and the cinnamon tree. It does not occur with high frequency in cannabis. Borneol is commonly prescribed and used as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and it is also known for its antiseptic and anti-insomnial compounds. It is commonly used as in herbal medicine practices and is an essential oil found in Lavendar, Thyme  and Rosemary

Borneol has additionally been used as a Chinese medicine including sedation, anti-inflammation and antioxidant activity. According to Chinese medicine, borneol was considered as a ‘guide’ drug, regulating and mediating the delivery of other prescription drugs.

As more research emerges as to the effectiveness of terpenes within the cannabis plant, Borneol will likely be studied more intently. As history has shown, botanical properties have served humans and animals precisely.

Some strains that have been known to contain Borneol:

When terpenes and cannabinoids interact together, there is a heightened efficacy for medical marijuana patients. Patients should speak with their certified medical marijuana physician to determine which strains and methods of consumption are most appropriate for their medical conditions.



Additional citations:

Hassanpouraghdam MB, Hassani A, Vojodi L, Asl B Hajisamadi and Rostami A: Essential oil constituents of Lavandula officinalisChaix. from Northwest Iran. J Agr Food Chem. 22:167–171. 2011.


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