Terpenoids..what are they?

Terpenoids, sometimes called Terpenes are naturally occurring essential oils that are found in the cannabis plant, but also in other areas of nature such as trees, plants, flowers. Terpenes give plants its particular odor and flavor. How many terpenoids are found in the cannabis plant? According to Dr. Bonni Goldstein in her book "Cannabis Revealed" there are over 200 terpenoids in cannabis alone! Below she says some important facts about terpenoids:

* They are genetically controlled

*Production increases with light exposure

*Production decreases as soil fertility decreases

*U.S. FDA recognizes Terpenoids as safe

*Terpenoids vaporize near the same temperature as THC

*Concentrating cannabis into hash or wax may reduce the terpenes content and may cause medicinal effects to change

*Terpenoid lab analysis is the only way to know about a certain product's terpenoid levels.

Each terpene has its own effect. So for example the terpene "Limonene" is found in lemons and other citrus fruits. It it known to have powerful anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects as well as anti-tumor. Some other terpene effects are: anti-bacterial, Bronchodilator, anti-convulsant, sedating, anti-cancer, muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory and the list goes on!

Phytocannabinoids and terpenoids work synergistically to provide therapeutic effects and the terpenoids work synergistic with each other enchancing medicinal effects.  Below is a  page from Steep Hill Labs showing the terpenoids that they test for in cannabis and the relating effects of each one. Nature is truly amazing!!


Terpenes, Brain Injury and HIV

For this blog I have pulled an article written by Bailey Rahn. She is a University of Washington graduate and works with patients and doctors as Leafly’s Patient Advocate and Engagement Specialist, and previously worked as an editor in the drug rehabilitation field. Leafly is the world's largest online community. This article is from 8/5/2014 and what I like about it is it is to the point and provides a link to the actual studies on PubMed (for those of you who like the scientific information)

Another historic month for cannabis is behind us: Washington state opened their recreational cannabis storesD.C. decriminalized marijuanaFlorida approved a medical marijuana program, the House of Representatives introduced the Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014, and the New York Times called for an end to prohibition -- and published their first ever cannabis advertisement (did you see, did you see?!).

Keep spreading the knowledge, good people of Leafly. It’s killing prohibition, and this week we have three new cannabis studies to help you fight the good fight. Yeah education! YEAH SCIENCE! #JustSayKnow

1. This Cannabis Terpene Reduces Anxiety and Depression

You’ve heard of cannabinoids like THC and CBD, but there are many other therapeutic compounds in cannabis you may not be aware of. Allow us to introduce you to terpenes, the aromatic oils secreted by cannabis that provide rich flavor profiles and a variety of medical benefits. According to a recent study, one cannabis terpene called Beta-caryophyllene (which is also found in spices like pepper) has been found to reduce anxiety and depression by activating CB-2 receptors. 

Strains like the unfortunately-named Cat PissPower Plant, and Thai Haze have been rated very effective for treatment of anxiety and depression. Could it be a coincidence that Leafly reviewers happened to tag these strains with a pepper flavor, or could Beta-caryophyllene actually be at work here?

2. Endocannabinoids Protect Brain Cells After Injury

For those who don’t know, endocannabinoids are natural compounds our body produces. They’re similar to the chemicals found in cannabis, so researchers suspect that deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system could be treated with compounds found in the cannabis plant. 

On this point, a new study has found that higher levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide correlate with improved functioning in mice with traumatic brain injury. By inhibiting the enzyme FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), researchers noticed an increase in anandamide and thus improved motor function and working memory, while reducing anxiety and neurodegeneration.

3. Cannabinoids May Help HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders

HIV-Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) is a condition in whichHIV enters the nervous system and affects nerve cell activity, resulting in impaired memory, attention, language, and other cognitive processes. Activation of the CB-2 system by way of cannabinoids, however, may slow the progression of these symptoms according to a study published in Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology. Researchers found that CB-2 activation was associated with reduced neuroinflammation, inhibited HIV replication, and suppressed activity of neurotoxic proteins. Given the fact that certain cannabinoids bind to these CB-2 receptor sites, it’s possible that cannabis compounds hold promise in treatment of HIV and related conditions.