Which Terpenes Are Best for Pain?
Posted on December 17th, 2020
If you are looking for relief from pain and chronically painful conditions, you may want to explore Mother Nature’s own pharmacy. There are plenty of plants that contain ingredients that could address many ailments. Each grown from soil and many with few known side effects. Care to spend some time reading to learn more about the potential helpers Nature has in stock? In the following reading, we will learn a little bit more about terpenes. We’ll also tell you which terpenes are best for pain based on results from clinical research studies.
What Are Plant Secondary Metabolites?
Humans have come a long way in the fields of chemistry and innovation. Yet, even our most technologically advanced chemical production facilities can’t hold a candle to the intricate process at work in the smallest of plants.
Plants mastered the science and art of chemical production probably long before humans came to be. Whereas animals communicate through behavior, plants communicate and interact with their environment through advanced chemical processes.
Every plant will produce two distinct sets of chemicals, also known as “metabolites”. The primary metabolites are “standard” chemical processes used by all plants to survive, like the chemicals needed for photosynthesis.
Then, there are secondary metabolites. These are the chemicals that each individual plant produces to exist in its own environment. They are a big part of what gives a plant the individual characteristics particular to each. For example, secondary metabolites are what gives black pepper or red pepper its own brand of spiciness and what gives a jasmine flower its unique fragrance.
What Are Terpenes and Which Terpenes Are Best for Pain Management?
Terpenes are the largest category of secondary metabolites produced in minuscule factories inside plants. Terpenes exist in all forms imaginable. The rubbery substance in natural rubber from rubber trees is a terpene produced to ward off infections and protect the tree. The exotic spiciness of cinnamon and oregano also comes from a special combination of terpenes made by the plant to protect them from a specific type of predator.
Many terpenes, like myrcene or α-pinene are also called VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds. These compounds evaporate quickly into the atmosphere to perform a unique function of either attracting pollinators or warding off predators. If you have ever seen a vial of essential oils, these are concentrated secondary metabolites and many terpenes in VOC form. That’s right! Essential oils are not actually “oils” at all, only called so because, like oils, they are hydrophobic or non-water soluble.
Which Terpenes Are Best for Pain Relief?
What is so amazing about terpenes is the way they interact with the human body. You can ingest terpenes or administer them topically. You can even inhale terpenes into the respiratory tract, where you can absorb their potential benefits through the lungs and the olfactory epithelium, where they can provide a very potent effect on the limbic system.
Of course, it will be very important to consider your plan for using terpenes before you begin any supplementation. Be sure to speak with your physician and a qualified herbal medicine expert if you are actually thinking of addressing a painful condition with terpenes.
Here are some of the most common terpenes scientifically proven to reduce pain or relieve the circumstances causing pain.
Alpha Pinene, or α-Pinene, is the largest of the sparkling crispness of a conifer forest, the fragrance of a real Christmas Tree. You can also find α-Pinene in eucalyptus and cedar essential oils. In clinical studies, this important terpene seems to suppress the inflammatory reaction by inhibiting the production of specific proteins.
There is also anecdotal evidence from the ancient witch doctors and apothecaries. They would prescribe herbs containing α-pinene for pain relief purposes. Rosemary, a well-known homeopathic treatment for stomach pains, contains α-Pinene.
What characterizes Borneol is a minty camphor-like aroma that the perfume and fragrance industry highly prizes. For centuries, herbalists treasured herbs rich in this potent terpene for their capacity to bring soothing relief through a cooling sensation. Sage and Marjoram are two herbs rich in Borneol.
A number of medical studies certify Borneol’s potent anti-inflammatory action. In one study, lab mice received an irritant that caused an inflammatory reaction in their lungs that simulated acute lung injury. When provided with Borneol, inflammatory responses in the lungs greatly diminished.
While this terpene is present in cinnamon, ylang-ylang, copaiba, and many other trees and forest plants, its presence in cannabis is the most famous. BCP is part of the ‘entourage effect’. That is when the cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant work together to improve the potency of the therapeutic effects it gives.
Researchers understand that the cannabinoids of the cannabis plant interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of our bodies. As a regulatory system, the ECS plays an important role in the inflammatory reaction and experience of pain. The interaction mentioned above between the ECS and the plant cannabinoids yield therapeutic effects related to those areas.
BCP does not cause any psychoactive effects. Rather, it improves the function of the other cannabinoids by activating the CB2 receptors in the ECS.
A few studies have suggested that BCP may have benefits as a
- Hepatoprotective (liver protection).
- Cardioprotective (heart health).
- Kidney and liver-protective.
Myrcene has a notable pungent aroma that can smell like a ripe fruit. This is another ingredient found abundantly in cannabis Sativa. This is one important terpene in mitigating pain with a variety of applications. It is also an important part of the entourage effect. As a matter of fact, many cannabis enthusiasts will recommend eating mangos before consuming CBD. Mango also packs much myrcene. The idea is that this increases myrcene intake and may improve the overall experience.
Other studies show that myrcene can play a role in the regulation of TRPV1, a Nociceptive Transient Receptor Potential channel. Because TRPV1 has a capacity to regulate pain, experts agree that myrcene might play an important role in the formulas for new analgesic treatments.
Cymene has a delectable smell akin to herbs like anise, licorice, eucalyptus, and cumin. The fragrance industry values it highly, the cooking and natural medicine niches do so as well. Cymene comes in a variety of forms. Para-cymene (P-Cymene) is the most common and possesses many well-known health benefits.
One of the most important ways that p-Cymene may provide relief is for the cholinergic symptoms signature of Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases. This is due to the death of cholinergic neurons at the onset of these neurodegenerative conditions. A study showed how thyme essential oils, which are especially high in p-Cymene, could improve the health of neurons. Thus, prevent some of the pain and discomfort of cholinergic dysfunction.
If you’ve had the chance to walk through the forests of Norway Spruce or Helm Oak, you will be delighted to enjoy this exquisite aromatic terpene. You can also find traces of this aromatic Phyto-compound in essential oils like bergamot or nutmeg. Because of its complex aromatic profile, the fragrance world highly values Sabinene.
But it is also especially valuable in the realm of natural remedies and treatments. Sabinene is one of the most potent antioxidants in the world. So much so that the scientific community classifies it as an anti-inflammatory as well.
Which Terpenes Are Best for Pain? – Additional Considerations
Before you run off to the alternative health market and begin purchasing every terpene, there are some things to consider. Natural treatments and therapies take time and require dedicated planning beforehand to be effective.
With this in mind, there are some things to consider before you begin your pain treatment with terpenes. Here are three important rules it’s good you abide by before starting a natural treatment plan.
No matter what you are suffering from, stress will be working against your body-s own capacity to heal itself. With this in mind, the first thing you will want to do before beginning any natural treatment for any condition will be to relax. By practicing a regular relaxation regime, you will improve your body’s capacity to heal and the efficacy of your natural treatments.
When the body is suffering, it requires nutrients and materials to repair itself and reach a full recovery. Eating healthy foods provides your body what it needs to recover. But not only that, but it also improves the capacity your body has to assimilate the healthy natural compounds you will be consuming to improve your health.
Consult a Medical Professional
Finally, if you will be taking on a new plan while living with any medical condition, it is better that you speak with your regular medical practitioner beforehand. Terpenes are highly potent chemicals produced by plants; they can interfere with certain medications. Thus, they could cause undesirable effects stemming from those interactions on those with certain conditions as well as pregnant or nursing women.
Which Terpenes Are Best for Pain? – The Takeaway
As seen in this article, there’s no shortage of terpenes across cannabis and many other plants around. The compound forms a very important part of the alternative and herbal medicine niches, one you could reap many advantages from.