Essential Oils have become commonplace and accepted as a supplement to an individual’s health care routine. Even drugstores, grocery stores and everywhere in between carry variations of plant essential oils and products containing oils to improve health. Just like all other plants, the Cannabis plant produces and excretes beneficial essential oils. These essential oils are called Terpenes, and while research is still evolving, science has proven that these oils can drastically improve a patient’s quality of life.
Cannabis and its Terpenes synchronize their chemical effects by working concurrently. There are over 140 confirmed Terpenes within the plant world, and each plant variety produces a unique effect. Because of Terpenes, each cannabis strain possesses a distinct taste and scent. Terpenes are aromatic molecules which are produced within the glands of cannabis flowers and buds. Some scents are considered sweet and fruity while other Terpenes are woodsy, pungent, earthy or skunky. While Terpenes give each cannabis strain a unique scent and flavor, these chemical compounds also contribute to the therapeutic effects that patient’s feel.
Ben Shabat and his team determined in 1988 that Cannbinoids and Terpenes work together. They termed this the “Entourage Effect.” The European Journal of Pharmacology stated that this effect “may represent a novel route for molecular regulation of endogenous cannabinoid activity.” This means that as a team these compounds make cannabis stronger and more efficient. This efficacy translates to better medicine and better treatments for patients.
Over 100 cannabis-based Terpenes have been discovered. Myrcene is a common Terpene which is also found in lemongrass, bay leaves, basil, thyme, hops, parsley and tropical plants such as mangos. Hops, for example, traditionally offer anti-inflammatory and metabolic properties. Myrcene has potent anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and anxiolytic properties, and has benefit in muscle relaxation, and prominent sedation/hypnotic, helpful in sleep.
This report published by the International Hemp Association states that Myrcene is the most prevalent Terpene within the Cannabis plant. The team compared the composition and smell of some fiber hemp and Cannabis essential oils isolated by steam distillation. Using steam distillation, the team reported, it is possible to concentrate most of these components to an essential oil.
A study on mice revealed that Myrcene has antinociception effects. Antinociception is the action or process of blocking the detection of a painful or injurious stimulus by sensory neurons. Within this study Myrcene was derived from Lemongrass and administered to laboratory mice. The mice effectively received pain relief from the Terpene.
A team from the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Ribeirão Preto Campus, Brazil reported in their study titled “Myrcene mimics the peripheral analgesic activity of lemongrass tea,” that “Terpenes such as myrcene may constitute a lead for the development of new peripheral analgesics with a profile of action different from that of the aspirin-like drugs.” The science proves the analgesic effects of Myrcene.
Additionally, a 2015 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology reported that Myrcene aids in anti-Osteoarthritis treatment. Ana Teresa Rufino and her team summarized that the “data show that myrcene has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic effects in human chondrocytes and, thus, its ability to halt or, at least, slow down cartilage destruction and osteoarthritis progression warrants further investigation.”
Some common medical cannabis which contain significant amounts of Myrcene are:
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.