What is pinene and the beneficial effects of this terpene contained in cannabis?
Modified on: 20/09/2022
Another element contained in marijuana with multiple properties
Hemp has been used since time immemorial for its many beneficial properties.
However, with the advent of prohibition from the United States, this plant was downgraded to a mere narcotic due to the psychotropic properties of one of its primary active ingredients: THC.
Since then, its consumption has been banned and even considered illegal.
Despite this widespread prejudice against cannabis, scientific discoveries about its components and potential therapeutic uses continue to abound.
The latest news concerns one of its components, also contained in other plants and has diverse qualities: pinene.
In this article, we try to understand what it is and why the investigation needs to be thorough.
To better understand pinene, let’s start by briefly discussing the category to which it belongs: the terpenes.
Terpenes are the elements responsible for many plants’ characteristic smell and aroma, including cannabis.
In the case of marijuana, these organic compounds are found in the resin, which is produced by tiny glands, the trichomes. In addition to terpenes, the resin also contains flavonoids and cannabinoids.
Terpenes contained in the resin produced by cannabis trichomes
Cannabis contains more than 200 terpenes, which can be classified into two subgroups: primary terpenes – including pinene – and secondary terpenes.
The functions of terpenes are diverse: the main one is to protect the plant from predators and pathogens. Secondly, they act as bait for pollinators and other potential allies. Finally, they impart the characteristic scent that distinguishes one plant from others.
Let us now look more specifically at what pinene is.
But what is pinene? And where is it found?
As we said, pinene is one of the primary terpenes in cannabis, but not only. It is also contained in pine plants – from which it takes its name -rosemary, dill and basil.
Its main characteristic is its balsamic aroma, but in cannabis, it is not limited to this.
This element can define the intensity and drugging effect caused by a given variety of marijuana, as can cannabinoids. Indeed, discerning smokers also pay attention to this aspect when choosing which type of cannabis to purchase, whether for medicinal or recreational use.
In the specific case of pinene, it appears to have the ability to increase the attention threshold and counteract short-term memory loss, often caused by too much THC intake.
It also appears to effectively limit any negative feelings that arise from immoderate marijuana consumption, such as paranoid delirium.
For this reason, pinene is of paramount importance to all cannabis users who find it difficult to cope with the potential adverse effects but do not want to give up the benefits.
But pinene’s beneficial properties do not end there. Let’s take a look at the benefits attributed to this terpene.
What is the therapeutic potential of pinene? Studies on the subject
Since ancient times, the balsamic properties of certain plants have been exploited for human benefit.
The main properties of pinene are its concentration-enhancing and bronchodilating action.
In addition, it appears to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and topical antiseptic properties.
Studies on the beneficial properties of pinene are varied and confirm them.
In a 2002 study published in Inhalation Toxicology, researchers demonstrated that pinene has an effective bronchodilator action.
In further research in 2011 conducted by Northeast Forestry University in China, it was shown how pinene’s antimicrobial properties might have exciting applications in the treatment of viral and bacterial infections. Specifically, we read how pinene can be a valuable ally in the fight against viral bronchitis, which is usually much more challenging to treat than common bacterial infections.
But the studies on the therapeutic properties of this particular terpene do not end there.
The British Journal of Pharmacology also has interesting research to its credit. In particular, in a 2011 publication, researchers confirmed the anti-inflammatory properties of pinene in the treatment of chronic ailments such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, cancer and multiple sclerosis. In addition, the famous entourage effect, i.e. the ability of cannabis components to act more effectively when taken simultaneously, is also mentioned in this study.
The anti-cancer properties of pinene are also demonstrated by two further studies, from 2013 and 2015, highlighting the terpene’s ability to inhibit the growth and spread of cancer cells.
In conclusion, what are the beneficial effects of pinene?
That cannabis has elements that can bring numerous benefits to the body is no longer a mystery.
Scientific research on the subject confirms this potential, which was also widely used in the past when the only means available was the empirical observation of the effects generated.
With the advent of prohibition in the United States, marijuana was downgraded to a mere narcotic substance precisely because of the psychotropic effects of one of its main components: THC.
However, proponents of its beneficial properties never stopped spreading helpful information about it, leading the scientific community to investigate it and subsequently confirm their claims.
Even the discovery of terpenes could only endorse the thesis that the benefits of cannabis consumption are far more noteworthy than the rare and minor side effects.
Pinene, in particular, in addition to imparting the characteristic odour to various plants, including, indeed, marijuana, has several beneficial properties that can be exploited for human benefit.
Among the main ones is its bronchodilator effect – helpful in treating respiratory diseases such as asthma -anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-tumour.
In short, once again, cannabis proves to be a plant with a thousand potentialities waiting to play its part in the treatment of various ailments.
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