Terpenes for Pain Management
Do you know which terpenes to look for to combat pain? Every cannabis strain has different concentrations of terpenes and different terpene profiles. The amount of THC in a strain doesn’t necessarily determine whether it will take away your pain or not – it’s all of the cannabinoids and terpenes in the strain working together. This guide will help you understand which terpenes for pain management to look for when purchasing cannabis and cannabis products.
Beta-caryophyllene is an important terpene. It has analgesic and arthritis-fighting properties. It may also aid those with neuropathy, cancer and gastrointestinal issues. One of the benefits of this terpene is that it doesn’t clash with any other terpenes. It works synergistically with nearly all terpenes.
Where to find beta-caryophyllene:
- Copaiba balsam (Copaiba oil has as much as 50-percent beta-caryophyllene)
- Black caraway
- Black pepper (more concentrated in African black pepper)
Given that this terpene is found in several common herbs, you’re likely getting a little bit on a daily basis as it is. This does not mean, however, that you’re getting the amount your body needs. Cannabis may be a better source. Some manufacturers of vape products and other cannabis concentrates do add terpenes back into their formulas and beta-caryophyllene is a commonly found terpene in those formulas.
Additional benefits of beta-caryophyllene:
- Anti-nociceptive (reduces experience of pain)
- Curbs cravings for nicotine and alcohol
- May improve symptoms of depression
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps fight cancer
- Antioxidant properties
Inflammation is a symptom of hundreds of medical conditions. Beta-caryophyllene has inflammation fighting properties as well. This is a common reason for pain as inflammation stresses joints, muscles and organs throughout the body.
Alpha-pinene is another dominant terpene in many cannabis strains. It’s part of what gives a strain the smell of pine trees, earthiness and sometimes a little mossy/musty aroma. The strain isn’t bad; some strains just have a natural mossy/musty aroma from the combination of terpenes in that strain.
Cannabis strains containing alpha-pinene:
- Island Sweet Skunk
- Blue Dream
- OG Kush
- Strawberry Cough
- Super Silver Haze
- Dutch Treat
- Jack Herer
- Bubba Kush
Some of the benefits of alpha-pinene include being effective in reducing inflammation and pain. It may also help improve symptoms of depression and is known for enhancing the entourage effect (synergy of all cannabinoids/terpenes working together).
Alpha-pinene is found in:
- Pine trees/shrubs/needles
- Juniper berries
While working on reducing pain and inflammation, this terpene may also help you open your airway from its bronchodilator properties. Strawberry Cough is a strain known to aid the common cold and the congestion that comes along with it.
Limonene is partly responsible for giving some cannabis strains their citrusy aroma and flavor. But, it does more than give cannabis a great flavor and aroma – it’s a powerful inflammation fighter too. With increased inflammation comes increased pain and often – anxiety. Limonene is known to aid in calming anxiety.
Some of the potential benefits of Limonene include:
- Lower cholesterol
- Insomnia relief
- Better blood glucose control
- Fibromyalgia symptoms
- Reduced stress
- Calms arthritis inflammation
- May help treat and prevent some types of cancer
Limonene is a versatile terpene. It is a common terpene in cannabis strains and is a common terpene added back to extracted cannabis formulas.
Limonene can be found in:
- Citrus peels and pulp (limes and lemons mainly)
- Conifer trees
- California walnuts
- California pistachios
You may be able to find limonene sold by itself in a food-grade terpene formula. This would be what you’d want to look for if you’re considering adding limonene to cannabis or CBD tinctures for a little extra terpenoid benefit.
Linalool isn’t as common as beta-caryophyllene, alpha-pinene or limonene but it is more present than some other terpenes in cannabis. It’s known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, making it ideal for pain management applications. It also has anti-epileptic, sedative, anti-anxiety and mood stabilization properties.
Linalool is found in:
- Citrus fruit (more is in the peel than the pulp)
- Laurel plants
- Birch trees
You may be able to find bergamot as an essential oil, which may be ideal for topical applications. If you plan to ingest bergamot, make sure it is a food-grade formula with an all-natural cutting agent like coconut oil or MCT oil.
Myrcene is one of the most valuable and most beneficial terpenes. It’s also common in many cannabis strains. CBD and cannabis concentrate producers often add myrcene to formulas for its multiple benefits. If you suffer from frustrating muscle spasms and painful inflammation, this may be what you need in your life.
Myrcene is often touted as being the most abundant terpene in cannabis – which is why so many strains work so well for chronic pain disorders.
- Aids cell membrane permeability
From this list, you can see how versatile myrcene is and why it is so valuable to the body. One of the benefits of terpenes is that they have been accepted as having therapeutic benefits and are available in food-grade form for use by anyone for any purpose.
Myrcene is found in:
- Bay leaves
- Wild thyme
Mangoes help the body absorb terpenes and cannabinoids. There is a theory that eating mangoes 45 minutes before using cannabis may enhance the effects, but really, it just helps the body absorb more so it seems like the “high” is more intense. Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in therapeutic bath salt and foaming bath formulas. In combination with Epsom salt, it may help reduce inflammation and minor pain from the outside in.
Higher concentration of myrcene is found in these cannabis strains:
- Pure Kush
- El Nino
- White Widow
- Skunk #1
- Himalayan Gold
Myrcene is one of the terpenes associated with couchlock, meaning that it can relax the body so much that you don’t want to move.
While incorporating these terpenes into your regular cannabis regimen, also give terpineol and humulene some attention. Both aid in reducing pain and inflammation while aiding in relaxing the body. When seeking out cannabis strains containing these terpenes, you may have to visit a cannabis seed provider website. Most dispensaries and retail shops provide just a general description of a strain and leave out terpene profiles. It’s always best to do your own research to ensure that the strain contains cannabinoids and terpenes that will help you the most.