Terpene Spotlight: Pinene
Knowledge and awareness about the benefits and effects of terpenes paired with cannabinoids, to create what is commonly called 'the entourage effect,' is increasing among marijuana users. Terpenes not only give plants their defenses and flowers their unique aromas, but also help humans calm inflammation and reduce anxiety like linalool, or myrcene as a sleep aid. One of the more prominent terpenes found in cannabis, especially the infamous OG lineage, is pinene.
Pinene comes in two structural isomers found in nature: α-pinene and β-pinene. Both can be found in terpene profiling when lab testing cannabis flower, though alpha-pinene is usually found a bit more than beta-pinene. The bicyclic monoterpene is also present in orange peel, dill, parsley, and basil. Pinene can also be found in coniferous trees like spruce and the very obvious, pine.
If you've ever been hiking in a coniferous forest and took a deep breath through your nose and feel your lungs open up from the fresh tree scent--that may be a contribution from pinene. Wikileaf reports, "A 2002 study published in the journal of Inhalation Toxicology found that alpha-pinene opened the airways of the upper respiratory system." In summary, pinene has a tendency to open airflow to your lungs.
Pinene is also an anti-inflammatory, has anti-bacterial properties, is an anti-oxidant (it can be found in things like berries), and is an anti-proliferative. "Another study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that alpha-pinene possesses enough anti-inflammatory properties to make it a potential ally in the fight against MS, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and cancer. The study, however, didn’t paint pinene as the teacher’s pet: rather, it found that all terpenes in cannabis work together to elicit the most optimal benefit out of each chemical," says Wikileaf. Aside from just the anti-nflammatory properties it has, pinene's anti-proliferative properties combined with other terpenes and cannabinoids may inhibit cancer cell growth.
Getting high on high grade marijuana strains like Jack Herer, which is commonly known to have increased levels of pinene, tend to give users a feeling of mental focus. Pinene may also have something to do with that, as it can cross the blood brain barrier and alter neurotransmitters to improve memory. Because of this, it is shown that pinene inhibits the memory loss that THC provides. It does this by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase activity in the brain. Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential to communication between nerves and muscles. However, just taking the terpene on it's own may not have a similar result. It's important to note that many other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids play a part in the effects on your body and mind.
Always consider a cannabis strain's entire chemical composition from up to date lab testing. Some other strains available at HERB high in pinene would be: Berry White, Lemon OG, and Blue Glue. Check out the entire HERB flower menu for each available strains' terpene profile. Also, remember to take a deep breath of fresh air, the next time you're out walking in nature.