For centuries, humans have relied on the cannabis plant for its therapeutic properties. More than ever, cannabis can aid in the treatment of chronic disease and as a supplement to a patient’s healthcare regime.
As the cannabis plant, and medical marijuana, become more mainstream, science is proving what humans have known for centuries: cannabis is a means by which patients can seek and receive holistic wellness. The healing cannabis plant is complex and 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 cannabinoids.
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.
Over 140 terpenes have been discovered within the Cannabis plant, and they are generally classified as primary and secondary terpenes, based on how frequently they occur in cannabis. The odor represents a distinction between cannabis varieties which indicates that different plants can offer different benefits.
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.”
Additionally, the team stated that “Terpenes are also presented as skin penetration enhancers and agents involved in the prevention and therapy of several inflammatory diseases. Moreover, a potential mechanism of their action against pathogens and their influence on skin permeability are discussed. The major conclusion is that larger-scale use of terpenoids in modern medicine should be taken into consideration.”
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.
A 2010 article published in The Journal of Pharmacuetical Biology described the heightened interest in the research and exploration of the health benefits related to “plant secondary metabolites (PSM), particularly essential oils, have evoked considerable interest as food and feed additives and as an alternative to antibiotics and synthetic antioxidants.”
This 2004 article published in The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society discusses the Antimicrobial properties of plant secondary metabolites and essential oils.
Phellandrene is naturally found in these plants and herbs:
- Ceylan cinnamon
- Black pepper
- Corn parsley
- Water fennel
- Canada balsam
- Ginger grass
- Grand fir
Phellandrenes are often used in fragrances because of their aromas.
According to Botanical Studies, published in 2017, “essential oils from plants have been reported to have widespread antimicrobial activity against various bacterial and fungal pathogens, and these include Phellandrene.” Their study suggested that Phellandrene might be used as fungicides to fight against postharvest fungal diseases.
A 2013 study on diseased mice demonstrated that phellandrenes reduced cell growth/cell size of disease and promoted an immune response in normal, healthy mice.
Medical cannabis strains in which phellandrene may be present:
- Super Sour Haze
- Super Silver Haze
- White Widow
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. The staff at Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers will assist patients in selecting from a variety of cannabis products.
Noma Y, Asakawa Y. Biotransformation of monoterpenoids by microorganisms, insects, and mammals. In: Baser KHC, Buchbauer G, editors. Handbook of essential oils: science, technology, and applications. Boca Raton: CRC Press; 2010. pp. 585–736.