The terpenes found in cannabis have long been used as medicine, including against many infectious diseases. In addition, they have been studied as potential anti-dementia drugs.
The way that these compounds work is by inhibiting an enzyme called cholinesterase. They also enhance cholinergic activity, and this makes them a prime candidate for anti-dementia drugs.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are compounds in plants that have a variety of important properties. Some of these compounds are antimicrobial and have other uses in traditional and modern medicine. They can be found in a variety of plants, including cinnamon and cloves. Other plants with terpenes include Helichrysum italicum and Rosmarinus officinalis.
Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds that are composed of fatty acids. In addition, some terpenoids contain carotenoids, which are long chains of fatty acids with a six-member carbon ring on each end. These compounds give plants their yellow and red colors but are not required for photosynthesis. By contrast, terpenoids are small, volatile molecules that give plants a distinct odor. These compounds are also used in perfumes to create a variety of scents.
Besides antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties, terpenes also have anticancer activity. According to a 1997 study, terpenes inhibit the growth of cancer cells and make tumors more sensitive to radiotherapy. These compounds can be administered through various routes.
Most plants and animals produce terpenes, which is the chemical compound responsible for the smell of their species. Some of these compounds attract pollinators and repel predators. They also serve as a plant’s immune system.
Diterpenes are chemical compounds that have more than one isoprene unit. They are found in most living organisms, including human beings.
There are several types of terpenes, each with different properties. Monoterpenes contain 10 carbon atoms, sesquiterpenes contain 15 carbon atoms, and diterpenes contain 20 carbon atoms. They are widely distributed in the plant kingdom and known for their flavor and fragrance properties. Many of them also have cosmetic uses.
Sesquiterpenes are produced by the production of sesquiterpene molecules by enzymes. Sesquiterpene synthase is an enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of sesquiterpene molecules from acyclic terpene precursors. The enzyme catalyzes the synthesis of b-santalene, a component of sesquiterpenes.
Caryophyllene and tarpenes have been found to have a range of therapeutic effects. Both are astringents, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory agents.
They may also improve wound healing and prevent scarring. Current research is focusing on these compounds’ potential in treating conditions ranging from inflammatory bowel disease to depression and anxiety.
Caryophyllene is the only terpene that can directly activate a cannabinoid receptor. It is found in many strains of cannabis, including many from the Cookies family.
The smell of caryophyllene is often described as diesel-like, causing a bite in the nose.
Another terpene found in cannabis is beta-caryophyllene, or BCP. This compound binds to a receptor called CB2 in the body. It has anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in relieving aches and pains caused by arthritis and nerve pain.
Myrcene is a terpene that has been shown to have anti-tumor effects. It is thought to encourage the death of cancer cells by inhibiting the growth of new tumors at the primary site of cancer.
The chemical also has significant pain-relieving properties. It has shown promise as a substitute for morphine. However, more research needs to be conducted to determine whether myrcene is actually effective in killing cancer cells.
Myrcene is the most common terpene found in cannabis plants. It is often referred to as the mother of all terpenes, as it has a wealth of beneficial effects.
It can reduce tension and promote natural sleep, and it is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic properties. Its properties make it a viable addition to many products, especially those containing cannabis.
Eucalyptol is a compound with a distinctive aroma, and it’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory. This compound is the main ingredient of eucalyptus oil, which has been used as a topical treatment for minor muscle aches and the common cold for centuries.
Eucalyptol has been found to inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells by inducing apoptosis, a process that leads cancer cells to die. It also acts as an antioxidant, chasing free radicals and preventing DNA damage.
In one study, cineol and eucalyptol were administered to rats, and the results showed that the compounds reduced oxidative stress in the subjects. Eucalyptol may also have powerful antibacterial effects.