Biomedical Significance of Terpenes

Terpenes are a class of organic compounds produced generally by conifers. Famous for their characteristic odor, these hold a great importance in medical science. These are volatile in nature and often have a characteristic aroma. Classified by the number of isoprene units present, terpenes can be hemiterpenes, monoterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes etc.

Although the health benefits of terpenes are not as popular as CBD oil health benefits yet their importance in clinical purposes cannot be ignored.

Cannabis is said to contain almost 120 different terpenes in addition to cannabinoids including THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (Cannabidiol), CBN (Cannabinol) and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin). Out of this only THC is found to be highly psychoactive, while CBD and Laughing Buddha cannabis strain are considered to be relatively harmless and having great biomedical significance like terpenes.

Here we bring you 7 terpenes that are quite useful from the biomedical point of view:

LIMONENE - Limonene is the monoterpene responsible for the characteristic aroma of the citrus fruits. Used as a popular flavor additive in packed food items, it has a great biomedical significance. The compound is used for many medicinal purposes including the treatment of cancer and bronchitis. It is known for reducing heartburn and other cardiovascular problems.

BORNEOL - A terpene derivative, borneol is used in traditional Chinese methods of treatment. A natural insect repellent, borneol finds its uses and applications almost everywhere. Known for curing fatigue and stress, it is generally recommended to patients having anxiety problems or depression.

TERPINEOL - A terpene produced majorly in Cannabis Indica plants, Terpineol is a strong antibacterial and antifungal agent. The compound is known for its anti-inflammatory action also. It is used in the treatment of cancer as it minimizes the growth of the tumor cells by suppressing NF-kB pathway.

MYRCENE - The most abundant terpene found in cannabis, myrcene is a monoterpene. Responsible for producing strong analgesic effects, myrcene is also used for creating a sedative effect. The compound has a pleasing aroma making it useful in the production of perfumes and other scented materials.

PINENE - Occurring as two natural isomers, pinene is also a monoterpene. Known as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, the isomers are generally derived from turpentine. A natural herbicide, the compound is known to exhibit significant antibacterial and antibiotic properties.

LINALOOL - Last but not the least, Linalool is a terpene found in many flowers and spice plants. It is a monoterpenoid having two enantiomers. The compound finds maximum use as an anxiolytic, that is as an anti-anxiety drug. It has really strong sedative effects and is a popular cure for anxiety and depression.

DELTA-3-CARENE - Aromatherapy oils are known to contain high levels of this terpene. Excessive fluids running from eyes, nose or mouth can be cured with this very easily. Common side effects of cannabis including dry mouth and eye problems can be cured using this compound. It is also found in rosemary, pine and cedar resin.

Out of the large variety present, the compounds present in cannabis are limonene, myrcene, pinene, linalool and phytol.

Popular for their biomedical significance, terpenes hold a special place in the world of aromatic compounds. Having a special property to reduce heartburn and gastric acid reflux, terpenes are used as an alternative medicine. The greatest plus point is that they do not have any side effects like other cosmetic pharmaceutical products.

Also used as a natural solvent due to their ability to dissolve oils and lipids, terpenes find some good applications in the oil industry. Used in making ointments and flavour enhancers, terpenes are multi-functional. They can easily cure many skin problems including pain and itching.

Terpenes find their greatest application in the cure of depression and anxiety. Having an incredible sedative effect, they relieve the patient of stress and anxiety. Ultimately making you feel happy and content, terpenes promote a better personal and professional life.

Some terpenes, namely Myrcene, are so effective that their aroma is enough to show their herbal properties. Their aroma makes them quite useful for aromatherapy. A small shrub-like plant, this has long been used as an effective treatment for dysentery, diarrhea and diabetes. Besides, they find extensive usage in perfume and insect repellent industries. Their pungent smell lends them their characteristic insect repellent features.

Limonene and Pinene are especially used in air fresheners. Having antimicrobial properties, they can effectively fight with fungus and bacteria. When consumed orally, they can prevent indigestion. Also used as natural agricultural pesticides, terpenes find applications in the industry as well. Ongoing research also suggests that terpenes can have anti-cancer properties and may prove to be useful in curing the fatal disease.

Having an inhibitory effect on the root growth, terpenes can also be used to prevent competition among plants competing for similar resources. It is a natural herbicide. Also acting as a bronchodilator in humans, they are majorly known for their antibacterial and antibiotic properties.

Sara O Brown is a working mom, lives with her dentist husband and her adorable dog, Casper. She is passionate about traveling and cooking. Find her recent writing here:

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