Terpene-Based Medication – Beyond Cannabis
Within broader academic discourse, it’s most common to hear about the influence of terpenes in the context of cannabis above anything. Realistically, the reason is understandable; despite how widely terpenes exist in the world, it’s most concentrated – chemically and effectually – in the appropriation of cannabis plants, and their interactions with its other widely recognised constituent compounds, cannabinoids.
That said, whether in or out of the cannabis conversation, studies regarding the efficacy of terpenes have long been a subject of debate, in an investigation into its potential uses beyond the homoeopathic. Common in the world (you can find it in your tea, shampoos or even handwash!), the inquiry is an honest insight into how the compounds that surround us the most affect us.
Is there an application for terpenes beyond the day to day experience into the medically esoteric? Can it be considered separately from its place in the cannabis seat? Let’s explore.
An Introduction: Terpenes and Cannabis
Firstly, exposition into the most considered usage of terpenes should be understood as a means of profiling its academic lineage.
The metabolization of cannabis products within the human body is one that predominantly includes THC and CBD, credited as being the most influential compounds necessary for the typical ‘high’ or psychoactive effects that accompany its use. In isolation from the plant’s vast array of other collaborative compounds, both THC and CBD have been the greatest contributors to arousals of anxiety, euphoria, hallucinations and other cognitive effects commonly associated – though THC, more so than its counterpart, posits more closely to its accessory physiological side-effects, as well as potential for abuse.
Where combined with its other major constituents, the likes of flavonoids and the titular terpene, the collaborative ‘Entourage Effect’ emerges – the suggestion of a ‘botanical synergy’ between cannabinoids and its other components as a means of increasing the net psychoactive effect of cannabis products, as opposed to their isolated use when elicited for the same purpose in products like CBD oil.
Although it’s yet to receive a clinical co-sign as an endorsement to enter pharmacological use, there’s mounting inertia arguing that the potency for holistic cannabis use is greater, regardless of whether these effects can be specified to exact detail.
Potential for Terpenes in the Clinical Setting
The reasons being for this confidence are empirical – its widespread presence means, naturally, that its involvement in other treatments has been historical.
As one of the primary benefactors to our sense of fragrance, flavour and gut health among a library of other benefits, the indirect association of terpenes with the potential to relieve common psychiatric disorders has given headway to expand on its potential for further pharmaceutical employment beyond its place in aromatherapy – which, regardless, has seen endorsement clinically as a viable alternative without medicinal scheduling.
For the most part, its expansive effects approach varieties of other medicinal benefit:
Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Fungal Properties
As an adaptive feature designed evolutionarily to be a defensive mechanism against potential predators, terpenes have the potential of being antimicrobial due to its hydrophobic tendency, altering the permeability of bacterial cell walls for antibiotic activity to better facilitate.
Terpenes have found general involvement in the inhibition of inflammation-inducing proteins, like cytokines, in hormonal signalling pathways – a reduction in immune cell migration is the associated effect here, the key correlate to inflammation.
Protective Cardiovascular Capability
Peripheral to its primary functions as sensory agents, the ability of terpenes to promote feelings of relaxation out of its evocative associations with smell and sensation also marks its influence on symptoms like heart rate, and reduction in the creation of particular myocardial enzymes.
Although we acknowledge more effects, these register the most with the potential for further research in future pharmaceutical impact – alongside compelling literature on its interest from the scientific community for further research, terpene-oriented treatments can expect to have far-reaching and viable means of application in the future.
Keen to understand more about terpenes, and its related world of cannabis? Check out more of our products, and learn more today!