This research has been generously supported by agseedco.com and Todd McCormick. Please visit and enjoy browsing Todd’s beautifully curated collection of Cannabis genetics.
There’s little disagreement, even among most Cannabis opponents, about the proven and rapidly developing medical value of Cannabis and its cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Now that it is finally permitted, scientific and medical research is revealing remarkable new health and healing potential literally every day, building on centuries of the People’s knowledge of this natural medicine.
Just for fun, do a search for any Cannabis terpene and “neuroprotective”. Then try ‘cardioprotective”. Let’s say you try 10. What % of hits do you get?
Right. Just about every terpene has research around its neuron-protective and cardioprotective properties. And that’s far from the end of the story. Try “anti-inflammatory” and “antioxidant” with any of the Cannabis terpenes.
I think the science shows us pretty forcefully that terpenes may be why Cannabis smokers don’t have high levels of “smoking-related disease” even when they are inhaling heavy pesticides from Black Market Cannabis, which is as contaminated with pesticides as cigarettes.
Understanding the diverse roles of the magnificent array of terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids in nature’s incomparable Cannabis flowers will help each of us make better, more personal choices in the medicinal Cannabis varieties we choose to maintain our health when we’re well, and to treat and heal ourselves when we’re not.
However, in the face of this exciting new information, it’s easy to get carried away and jump to the most attractive conclusions – the instinctive wish for a silver bullet. The idea of an undiscovered natural treatment and cure can be almost irresistible. But even if a snap conclusion happens to turn out right, getting results without knowing why doesn’t do us much good when we’re trying to understand how to manage our health.
I’m also concerned that a lot undocumented and sometimes misleading and even potentially harmful opinions about Cannabis terpenes in particular are being shared around, with too many websites simply repeating what others have said without checking the facts for themselves.
Medical and scientific research is clear that terpenes are potent complex substances that clearly have some amazing proven health benefits but, because they are so powerful, and because these natural benefits arise in nature from such tiny concentrations, they demand our respect and understanding in their use.
Just because phytochemical terpenes have strong medicinal qualities in their natural form in a Cannabis flower doesn’t mean that vaping or smoking them individually in an essential oil will be beneficial. With many of these powerful natural compounds, vaping or smoking their essential oil will cause damage even if done one time. In essential oils, depending on the extraction method, the whole flower components change through degradation, hydrolysis, and/or oxidation processes and vaping or smoking them has less benefit and can cause significant harm.
There are literally thousands of naturally-occurring compounds in the Cannabis flower that are synergistic, protective and harmonious for the person who smokes or vapes the whole flower, whereas an essential oil is just that – a pure concentrated extract of certain isolated, probably altered phytochemicals. It’s like the difference between a great cup of coffee and a caffeine pill.
So in the spirit of sharing verifiable Cannabis health and wellness information, that I hope you’ll check out carefully for yourself, here is some of the latest, most interesting Cannabis phytochemical terpene research I’ve found, largely in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals.
I’m including links to the original sources on the health-promoting and healing properties of these major and minor Cannabis terpenes. With some entries I’ve combined descriptions for the sake of simplicity, for example, a-pinene and b-pinene are treated as pinene, and I understand the impreciseness of that approach.
I hope that this ‘starter information’ will be helpful in choosing which Cannabis varieties you want to grow, enjoy and share for better health and greater quality of life.
“Anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), antioxidant, anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, analgesic properties”
Neuroprotective; “May be a viable and safe alternative treatment for ischemic stroke“
Enhances transdermal absorption, improves glucose tolerance, anti catabolic (reduces breakdown of muscle mass)
“Biological activities include analgesic, sedative, antidiabetic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anticancer effects.”
“Antibiotic resistance modulation, anticoagulant, antitumor, antimicrobial, antimalarial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-Leishmania, and analgesic effects.”
“Cytogenetic, gastroprotective, anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), cytoprotective, anticonvulsant, and neuroprotective effects.”
“Potential anti-osteoarthritic agent. Effects against H2O2-stimulated oxidative stress, pancreatitis, stress-stimulated hyperthermia, and pulpal pain.”
Free radical scavenging ability, AChE inhibitory activity, antioxidant, cytotoxic,
c-Ocimene plays a central role in volatile signaling among plants in defense against pathogens and insects.
“Over the centuries, beta-curumene has been hailed by traditional medicine practitioners for the healing effect it can have on skin conditions, respiratory failure, and cardiovascular disease.”
“Members of the genus Curcuma L. have been used in traditional medicine for centuries for treating gastrointestinal disorders, pain, inflammatory conditions, wounds, and for cancer prevention and anti-aging, among others.”
Antimicrobial, anti-fungal, cytoprotective, anti-aging, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, protective against ischemic stroke damage.
“We found that terpinolene … markedly reduced the protein expression of AKT1 in K562 cells and inhibited cell proliferation. Protein kinase AKT mediates cell proliferation and survival signals, and also contributes to cancer progression. Increased expression and/or activation of AKT is involved in a variety of human cancers.”
Treatment of COPD, cholesterol reduction, gallstones, weight loss, cancer cell apoptosis
“…camphene and alpha-bisabolol have a wide spectrum of analgesic action by virtue of inhibiting Cav3.2 T-type calcium channels.”
Anti inflammatory, antioxidant, larvicidal, antibacterial, anticancer, anticonvulsant, anti-ulcer, anti-hypertension, anti-nociceptive, enhances skin penetration
Potent free radical scavenging, DNA protective activity
Anti-fungal, diuretic, decongestant
In aromatherapy “it beneficially modulated performance on demanding cognitive tasks and attenuated the increase in mental fatigue associated with extended cognitive task performance in healthy adults.”
“Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in various diseases, including respiratory disease, pancreatitis, colon damage, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases”
“used for treating respiratory tract infections, whooping cough, asthma, pulmonary tuberculosis, osteoarthritis, joint pain (rheumatism), acne, wounds, poorly healing ulcers, burns, bacterial dysentery, ringworms, liver and gallbladder problems, loss of appetite, and cancer.”
Anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-hyperlipidemic, antimicrobial, antinociceptive, analgesic, anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), antidepressive and neuroprotective, pro-cognitive, protects from stroke damage
Fenchyl Alcohol (Fenchol)
Neuroprotective “Blood-Brain Barrier” permeation enhancer for Central Nervous System drug delivery; “a naturally occurring compound in a class of ‘orifice-opening’ agents often used for resuscitative purposes in traditional Chinese medicine”
“ …contributes to antimicrobial, anti-parasitic, antioxidant, anticonvulsant, anti-trypanosomal, wound healing effects … and is a mosquito repellent”
“… an ingredient used in medication to treat kidney, bladder, and urinary tract stones.”
Anti-tumor activity, anti-microbial, wound healing
“… antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antimicrobial activities, and hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, and neuroprotective effects”
“…numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have shown the activity of geraniol against prostate, bowel, liver, kidney and skin cancer.”
“… anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antinociceptive, anticancer, antidiabetic, antihyperalgesic, antiviral, and gastroprotective effects”
“… important immunomodulatory properties and may alleviate asthma and allergies… and treat ulcerative colitis”
“Anti-tumorigenic, protects against chemical-induced tumors in breast, intestine, pancreas, liver, and colon cells, inhibits the proliferation of human gastric cancer cells by inducing apoptosis, positive effects on NK (Natural Killer) activities demonstrated with monoterpenes released from trees in forest bathing trips by increasing intracellular levels of anti-tumor proteins such as perforin, granulysin, and granzymes A/B.”
Anti Inflammatory, neuroprotective, “reduced acute lung injury by reducing production of proinflammatory cytokines and infiltration of inflammatory cells”
“p-cymene has an antioxidant potential in vivo and may act as a neuroprotective agent in the brain”
“In addition to its known properties as a phytoncide (plant-produced, antimicrobial allelochemical volatile organic compounds), 3-carene has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anxiolytic effects and … increases sleep duration and reduces sleep latency.”
Possible bone re-mineralization in osteoporosis
“… potent anticancer effects in colon cancer”
Neuroprotective, memory/learning enhancing, anti-Parkinson’s
Antioxidant, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer. In traditional medicine used against dyspepsia, diarrhea, abdominal colic and jaundice as whole Cumin.
Pain relief, “cuminaldehyde exerts antinociceptive and antineuropathic effects through the involvement of opioid receptors, L-arginine/NO/cGMP pathway, and anti-inflammatory function.”
Neuroprotective, anti-fungal, promotes immune system vitality and wound healing, anti-tumor potential
“ … antibacterial, antifungal, antipruritic, anticancer and analgesic effects, and also an effective fumigant. In addition, menthol is one of the most effective terpenes used to enhance the dermal penetration of pharmaceuticals”.
Anti-edema and anti-inflammatory effects
Anti-viral (Influenza A&B)
Neuroprotective, anticonvulsant, anti-seizure
Antibacterial, antifungal, antinociceptive, antiparasitic, anti neuraminidase (Anti-viral), antidiabetic, antioxidant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer activities
“ … antimicrobial, antitumor, antimutagenic, antigenotoxic, analgesic, antispasmodic, antiinflammatory, angiogenic, antiparasitic, antiplatelet, ACHe inhibitory, anti elastase, insecticidal, antihepatotoxic and hepatoprotective activities”
Anti-inflammatory, microbicidal, anti-edema
Antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-biofilm, anti-parasitic, insecticidal, anti-ulcer, skin penetration enhancer, anti-tumor, anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory properties
Lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
Inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, a wide spectrum of analgesic action by virtue of inhibiting Cav3.2 T-type calcium channels
Anti-convulsant, “… a psychoactive compound (that) has the profile of an analgesic drug”.
Abortifacient (promotes miscarriage)
Anti Inflammatory, antioxidant, protective against stroke damage
Neuroprotective, analgesic against neuropathic pain
Anti inflammatory, antinociceptive
Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic, antidiabetic, antiviral, antitumor, antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic, antinociceptive, immunomodulatory, vasorelaxant and neuroprotective
“It is the major, or the only alarm pheromone in most species of aphids and the dominant one for many species of termites.”
In response to alarm pheromones, aphids apparently fall from their host plant!
As major constituent of the essential oil of Cedrelopsis grevei, shows anti-cancer, antimalarial, antiinflammatory and antioxidant properties
“Perhaps of greatest significance in plant-insect interactions is the use of (E)-β-farnesene by most aphid species as an alarm pheromone.
- Aphids exposed to (E)-β-farnesene become agitated and disperse from their host plant.
- Alate aphids are usually more sensitive than are apterae species and often will not colonize a host displaying (E)-β-farnesene.
- Ants that defend aphids are sensitive to host-emitted (E)-β-farnesene and, when exposed, will display aggressive behavior.
- (E)-β-farnesene also mimics the action of juvenile hormone III in some insects, may play a role in control of aphid morphological types.
- (E)-β-farnesene is acutely toxic to aphids at a dose of 100 ng/aphid.
- (E)-β-farnesene vapor is also toxic to whiteflies.”
Anti-viral, antioxidant, neuroprotective, shrinks hemorrhoids, principal active component of Valerian Root, potential in treating neurodegenerative diseases
Anticonvulsant, neuroprotective, anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory effects
Neuroprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, gastroprotective, nephroprotective, antimicrobial, and immune-modulatory activity
As the major component in Turmeric, aids in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. Antinociceptive, helps manage exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness.
Antiseptic, gastroprotective, peripheral anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive activities
Treatment for stroke (mouse model);
- bisabolol significantly reduced the infarcted area and neurological deficits
- bisabolol increased cell viability and decreased neuronal degeneration,
- bisabolol increased the locomotor activity which was reduced by cerebral ischemia and improved pMCAO-induced working, spatial, object recognition, and aversive memories deficits,
- bisabolol significantly prevented the increase of myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity, TNF-α immunoreactivity in the temporal cortex, and the increase of iNOS both in the temporal cortex and in the striatum,
- bisabolol treatment also prevented astrogliosis in these areas.
Inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, a wide spectrum of analgesic action by virtue of inhibiting Cav3.2 T-type calcium channels
Anti-inflammatory in allergic airways inflammation
Enhances gut mucosal integrity in stress induced and alcoholic gastritis
Multiple Sclerosis, “BCP at low concentrations exerted promising protective effects that could be considered for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as MS”
Parkinson’s, “These results indicate that BCP … may be viewed as a potential treatment and/or preventative agent for PD.”
“Anticancer, antinociceptive and analgesic, beneficial influence on the efficacy of classical chemotherapeutics.”
Cedrene and Cedrol
As part of Cedar essential oil each has “antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, tonic, astringent, diuretic, sedative, insecticidal, and antifungal activities”
No medically significant bioactivity found
Antidiabetic (glucose control), anti-osteoporotic activity, potential abortifacient
Anticholinesterase, antioxidant, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, neuroprotective, anti-biofilm, anti-parasitic, anti-ulcer, dermatological, anti-tumor activities, potential for treating Parkinson’s, MS & other neurodegenerative disease.
Traumatic brain injury treatment potential
Antioxidant, antifungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-ulcer, antitumoral activities and relaxant properties, hepatoprotective activity, cytotoxic, antiproliferative in cancer cell lines.
Anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects, treats allergic asthma, gliosis, and edema.
antioxidant and neuroprotective effects in rat model of Parkinson’s
Antibacterial, tumor suppressor, enhanced chemosensitivity.
Attenuates post-ischemic brain injury
Mediates lipid/glucose balance, physteroidal activity
No medically significant bioactivity found, functions as pheromone for some insect species, plants under attack by herbivore insects release bergamotene to attract their predators.
Antibacterial effective against MRSA
As a Class, all identified Cannabis flavonoids appear to share anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, anticancer, antiparasitic, and antiviral properties. Individual Cannabis phytoflavinoids exhibit additional biological activities as noted.
“Flavonoids and terpenoids in particular have a wide therapeutic window, including but not limited to cancer, inflammation, excessive reactive oxygen species in cells, and enhancement of neuroprotection. In addition to sharing analgesic, antimicrobial, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective properties, a majority also share antioxidant capabilities.”
Antioxidant, cytotoxic, “… results indicate that phloroglucinol exerts protective effects against oxidative stress-induced cell damage in… (brain cancer cells)”,
Neuroprotective, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, potential Parkinson’s treatment
Cannflavins A, B & C
Potential anticancer drug, anti-inflammatory therapeutic agent 30 times more effective than aspirin, antiparasitic effects, potential antiviral (HIV) drug
Cannaflavin C as FBL-03G shows potentially effective pancreatic cancer activity
“… powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and antiviral properties, and can potentially help in the early stage of SARS-CoV-2 viral infection to prevent disease development and progression.”
Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune modulatory, multipotential neuroprotective action, stroke damage protection, “… the antioxidant nature of KPF was observed in all neurological diseases”
“Antioxidant, anti aging, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammation, vasodilatation and cardioprotective, radiation protective, neuroprotective, antidepressant-like, anti adipogenesis, and antinociceptive effects.”
Neuroprotective in CNS disorders, pharmacological agent for the treatment and management of age-related neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimers and Parkinson’s, cautions regarding embryonic stem cell effects,
Anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperalgesic, and neuroprotective effects.
“Vitexin contributes to increasing neuroprotective factors and pathways and counteracts the targets that induce neurodegeneration, such as redox imbalance, neuroinflammation, abnormal protein aggregation, and reduction of cognitive and/or motor impairment.”
“…gold standard drug to treat liver disorders associated with alcohol consumption, acute and chronic viral hepatitis, and toxin-induced hepatic failures since 1960. Neuroprotective against many neurologic diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and against cerebral ischemia.”
Antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, neuroprotective potential in cerebral stroke, antidiabetic, antiviral, cardioprotective.
Antioxidant, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. The active principle in Holy Basil. “Vicenin-2 can act as a potent inhibitor of HT-29 cell proliferation and can be used as an agent against Colorectal Cancer”.
Neuroprotective, antioxidant, anti inflammatory,
Cerebral stroke, “Chrysoeriol inhibited excessive pro-inflammatory cytokine production and regulated oxidative stress. Chrysoeriol exerts neuroprotective effects in a rat model of middle cerebral artery occlusion.”
Neuro-immunomodulatory and Neuroprotective, Anti-neoplastic,
“…might represent an important neuro-immunomodulatory agent for the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions.”
“Anxiolytic, metabolism-modulating, cytotoxic, antioxidant, autophagy- and apoptosis-inducing, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, and antimicrobial effects.”