New Research: Terpenes in Cannabis Modulate Interaction Between THC and Its Endogenous Receptor

1.7 min readPublished On: May 1st, 2023By

TEL AVIV, Israel –A new study published in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology has found that terpenes found in the cannabis plant may play a more important role than THC in enhancing the plant’s effects. The study, conducted by Israeli scientists, evaluated the role of terpenes in CB1 receptor-mediated functions, and assessed the extent to which terpenes acted as direct CB1 receptor agonists and as modulators of THC agonism.

The researchers found that certain terpenes, including borneol, geraniol, limonene, linalool, ocimene, sabinene, and terpineol, amplified THC activity at the CB1 receptor, even at low quantities. The authors of the study suggest that this amplification may be useful in reducing the THC dose in some treatments, potentially minimizing THC-related adverse effects. They also suggest that enrichment with selected terpenes may allow for composition adjustment to personal needs and changes during chronic use.

The findings of this study expand upon those of a 2021 study that documented that certain terpenes activate CB1 and CB2 receptors, and that the combined administration of cannabinoids and terpenes produce additive effects. The authors of the 2021 study similarly suggested that terpenes could be used to enhance the analgesic properties of cannabis/cannabinoid therapy without worsening the side effects of cannabinoid treatment.

This new study is particularly noteworthy because it suggests that terpenes, which are already widely used in aromatherapy and have a range of therapeutic effects, may play a key role in the medicinal benefits of cannabis. As the authors note, “the use of selected terpenes may enable reducing the THC dose in some treatments, and as a result, potentially minimizing the THC-related adverse effects. This would also help in adjusting the treatment to more sensitive populations such as children and elderly.”

Overall, this study suggests that terpenes may be more important than THC in cannabis, and that further research is needed to fully understand their potential therapeutic effects. As more states and countries legalize cannabis for medical use, understanding the role of terpenes in cannabis may become increasingly important for developing effective treatments.

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