JUL 15, 2021 7:33 AM PDT

Cannabis Terpenes Provide Pain Relief in Mice

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Cannabis terpenes, the part of cannabis plants responsible for its smell and taste, may be able to relieve pain both by themselves and with cannabinoids. The results were published in Scientific Reports by researchers from the University of Arizona. 

Researchers have been questioning whether cannabis can provide pain relief by an ‘entourage effect’- that is, different parts of the plant working together to have a greater effect on pain relief than any of its individual constituents alone. To this end, the researchers behind the current paper set out to see how cannabis terpenes can modulate pain. 

For the study, the researchers focused on how four cannabis terpenes: alpha-humulene, geraniol, linalool, and beta-pinene, worked in mice to reduce pain. They examined each terpene by itself and with WIN55,212-2, a synthetic cannabinoid agonist that stimulates the body’s cannabinoid receptors. 

In doing so, they found that all the terpenes activated CB1R cannabinoid receptors similarly to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). They also found that all four terpenes lowered pain sensitivity, pain sensation, and body temperature. The terpenes additionally reduced movement and catalepsy, a freezing behavior linked to the psychoactive effects of cannabinoids. 

The researchers noticed that when each terpene was combined with WIN55,212-2, mice had even greater reductions in pain sensation. This, they say, shows that different parts of the cannabis plant may work together to produce enhanced effects. 

“It was unexpected, in a way,” says Dr. John Streicher, lead author of the research. “It was our initial hypothesis, but we didn’t necessarily expect terpenes, these simple compounds that are found in multiple plants, to produce cannabinoid-like effects.”

The researchers are now researching how terpenes can be used with opioids for different kinds of cancer-related pain. In the long-term, they hope to develop a dose-reduction strategy using terpenes and other cannabinoids or opioids for pain relief with fewer side effects at lower dosage points than current options. 

 

Sources: Neuroscience NewsScientific Reports

About the Author
  • Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
AUG 07, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis May Be Linked to Opioid Abuse
AUG 07, 2021
Cannabis May Be Linked to Opioid Abuse
Existing research suggests that people who use cannabis may be more likely than non-users to use and opioids and develop ...
AUG 11, 2021
Health & Medicine
Cannabis Users Are Normal Hardworking Members of the Community Too
AUG 11, 2021
Cannabis Users Are Normal Hardworking Members of the Community Too
  Who is the typical cannabis user? There are many stereotypes and misconception about weed use, most of them not f ...
SEP 16, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Use and Exercise- A Dire Need for High-quality Evidence
SEP 16, 2021
Cannabis Use and Exercise- A Dire Need for High-quality Evidence
It should come as no surprise that exercise is good for our health. Regular exercise reduces the risks of serious chroni ...
NOV 18, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Is Cannabis Useful for Symptoms of Endometriosis?
NOV 18, 2021
Is Cannabis Useful for Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common gynecologic disorder impacting up to 10% of women of reproductive age in the United ...
NOV 23, 2021
Health & Medicine
No Short Term Effects of THC-positive Breast Milk
NOV 23, 2021
No Short Term Effects of THC-positive Breast Milk
A recent study found that THC does not have short-term negative effects on an early, premature baby’s health. Rese ...
DEC 09, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Considering Cannabinoids as a COVID-19 Treatment
DEC 09, 2021
Considering Cannabinoids as a COVID-19 Treatment
Research suggests that Cannabis sativa-derived cannabinoids – such as cannabidiol (CBD), Δ9tetrahydrocannabi ...
Loading Comments...