When it comes to the inner-workings of marijuana, Mary Jane wears a pocket protector: after all, cannabis does involve quite a bit of biology. It can’t help it, though – it’s a plant, that’s what they do. The terpenes that make up the medicinal benefits of cannabis might be nerdy, but they’re interesting, nonetheless. They influence mood, symptoms, and the course of certain diseases. One of these terpenes in pinene.
Pinene comes in two types: alpha and beta. The alpha smells like pine needles and rosemary while the beta emits aromas of dill, parsley, and basil
Like other terpenes, pinene isn’t limited to cannabis; it’s found in all kinds of plants. In fact, pinene (specifically alpha-pinene) is the most abundant terpene in the plant kingdom. Alpha-pinene is also more prevalent in cannabis than its beta counterpart. Not surprisingly, it’s found in pine needles too.
The Medical Benefits of Pinene
The common theme of terpenes is that they’re good for our health and pinene is certainly no exception to this rule. It’s known to increase mental focus and energy. It acts as a topical antiseptic and a bronchodilator, something that may make its use more beneficial in people who suffer from asthma or similar breathing problems.
Some of the other benefits of pinene include:
It’s an analgesic: It helps relieve pain and discomfort.
It has antibacterial properties: Without things with antibacterial properties, bacteria would do what it does best – spread until it accomplishes world domination.
It’s an anti-inflammatory: It reduces inflammation, which is effective in controlling the start of a disease, the spread of a disease, and the symptoms of that disease.
It’s an anti-proliferative: This means it has the ability to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells. It’s a fancy way of saying that Pinene is a cancer assassin.
It’s an antioxidant: Found in abundance in things like coffee and blueberries, antioxidants help prevent oxidative damage of cells in the body (which helps prevent mutations).
It increases memory retention: 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.
Why Pinene Packs a Powerful Punch
One of the reasons pinene packs such a powerful punch lies in its ability to cross the blood/brain barrier. Once it arrives in the brain, it alters neurotransmitters in a way that results in better memory. It likely inhibits the influence of THC too.
Naturally, some people want to stay away from anything that inhibits the influence of THC, but not everyone. Pinene is beneficial to those who are interested in the health benefits of cannabis without the accompanying high. It’s also of interest to those who find that THC leaves them paranoid about everything and anything.
The Studies Behind the Claims
Of course, anyone can say pinene helps toenail fungus or helps an amputated finger grow back and we can’t really prove them right or wrong, but research helps paint a clearer picture of this terpene’s abilities.
A 2002 study published in the journal of Inhalation Toxicology found that alpha-pinene opened the airways of the upper respiratory system. A study nine years later at the Northeast Forestry University of China found that pinene had anti-microbial qualities that made it capable of treating both viral and bacterial infections.
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
This is of importance to anyone interested in terpenes: more research is discovering that there is no gold star among the compounds.
Terpenes do their own jobs, certainly, but they also help each other to create a well-oiled machine
In other words, don’t chug a bottle of pinene and expect miracles: it’s more productive when it’s with its friends. But you can still include pinene as part of your smoking diet by opting for strains that are high in this terpene.
High Pinene Strains
Terpene profile can differ depending on grower, so it’s always worth asking your local budtender to point you in the right direction if you’re interested in a strain high in something specific. But, for pinene, the following strains generally contain a reasonable amount:
Bubba Kush: Two things Bubba Kush doesn’t have going for it: the buds can produce a harsh cough and they emit a pungent smell – discreetly smoke up behind the company warehouse at your own risk.
But, of course, there are benefits: Bubba Kush offers initial disorientation that gives way to a heavy body melt. It doesn’t tend to energize users, but it does leave them able to focus on whatever they’re doing (assuming they’re not reading the user’s manual to their remote control). This strain offers a high level of physical comfort and is good for both day or nighttime use.
In heavy doses, it invokes sleep while lower doses keep you functional but a little lazy
Chemdawg 91: Chemdawg 91 has a high THC level, around 24 percent and starts off as a potent head high. Users feel euphoric, stimulated, and a surge in their creativity. As they come down, the body high lingers – it’s not as acute as the head high, but it’s there.
Chemdawg 91 is a great strain for stress relief, but it’s best used in the evening hours or for a creative project without an upcoming deadline.
Trainwreck: An increasingly popular strain, Trainwreck is a sativa-dominant hybrid that does wonders for a bad mood – users report happiness and lots of it. But Trainwreck doesn’t ignore its indica roots either: your body will feel warm and fuzzy.
Trainwreck is said to cause both couchlock and cerebral stimulation: you’ll come up with some wonderful ideas, but you won’t want to get up and write them down.