As hemp products become a staple commodity in the US market, interest around their chemical composition and potential effects is on the rise. Terpenes are the compounds giving hemp strains their unique smell and taste. Recent research reveals that combined with cannabinoids such as CBD, these molecules can have some beneficial effects on the consumer. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at some of the potential uses for terpenes and terpene tinctures.
According to institutions like the World Health Organization (WHO), mood disorders are reaching epidemic levels all over the globe. Although antidepressants have been shown to work for some people, they carry many undesirable side effects like sexual dysfunction, nausea, and gastrointestinal issues. Terpenes, on the other hand, could dramatically improve patients’ mental health without any adverse side effects.
Primary terpenes for mood enhancement
Probably the most fascinating terpene currently being researched for its psychological effects is beta-caryophyllene. Found in warm spices like pepper and cinnamon, beta-caryophyllene has the unique ability to bind with cannabinoid receptor sites throughout the body. To date, no other terpene has been shown to work directly on the endocannabinoid system.
This direct ability to influence CB2 receptors plays a powerful role in beta-caryophyllene’s mental health benefits. An important study conducted in the United Arab Emirates looked into this issue by stressing out a group of mice and observing their behavioral changes after beta-caryophyllene exposure. Researchers found that beta-caryophyllene’s ability to interact with the CB2 receptor significantly reduced signs of anxiety and depression in this mice model.
Secondary terpenes for mood enhancement
Two other primary terpenes that are being researched for their mind-altering effects include limonene and linalool. While the citrusy limonene is highly correlated with energizing effects, linalool appears to induce a sedating effect. For instance, a study out of Yamaguchi University showed that limonene increased pleasure-related chemicals like dopamine in the brain. By contrast, the University of Tokyo found that linalool significantly reduced the stress response in a group of mice. This suggests limonene might be best for people struggling with chronic fatigue symptoms, while linalool might better assist anxiety sufferers.
One issue closely related to the rise in mood disorders is the obesity epidemic. A recent study published by the American Psychological Association said there’s enough evidence to suggest these two conditions influence each other. Interestingly, there’s one terpene that might be able to help mental patients struggling with obesity-related issues. The terpene citral, which is closely related to limonene, showed great promise helping depressive patients increase fat-burning in a recent Kolkata-based study.