Cannabis synergies: cannabinoids and terpenoids

Terpenoids are responsible for the aroma of the cannabis plant. Currently there are over 200 terpenoids. Although their yield is less than 1% in most cannabis asseys, they may represent 10% of trichome content. The most common monoterpenoids (limonene, myrcene, pinene) are lost at the rate of 5% before processing but their lost is much higher during drying and storage, which results in higher concentration of sesquiterpenoids (expecially caryophyllene). Production of limonene and pinene act as repellent to insects, while lower leaves express high concentration of bitter sesquiterpenoids that act as anti-feedants for grazing animals. Observation studies with cannabinoids show that terpenoid production increases with light exposure, but decrease with soil fertility. Another important fact about terpenoids is that their expression is determined more by plant genetics than environmental factors.

So are cannabis terpenoids actually relevant to the effect of cannabis?

There are studies that have examined the synergy effect between cannabinoids and terpenoids. Synergy is a process of combining two components, which leads to boost of their effect.

  1. Limonene (commonly encountered in lemons) has the following effects in combination with:

1.1 CBD – immunostimulant via inhalation; anti-anxiety effect; anti-cancer effect in breast cancer; anti-acne effect.

1.2 CBG – anti-cancer effect in breast cancer; dermatophytes.

1.3 THC – gastro-oesophageal reflux

  1. Alpha-Pinene (commonly encountered in pine) has the following effects in combination with:

2.1 CBD – anti-inflammatory; aiding memory

2.2 THC – anti-asthma effect; aiding memory

  1. Beta-Myrcene (commonly encountered in hops) has the following effects in combination with:

3.1 CBD – anti-inflammatory; analgestic effect; blocks hepatic carcinogenesis

3.2 THC – analgestic; sedating, muscule relaxant, hypnotic

  1. Linalool (commonly encountered in lavender) has the following effects in combination with:

4.1 CBD – anti-anxiety; analgestic effect; anticonvulsant

4.2 THC – sedative on inhalation in mice; local anesthetic

4.3 CBG – anti-anxiety

4.4 THCV – anticonvulsant

4.5 CBDV – anticonvulsant

  1. Beta-caryophyllene (commonly encountered in pepper) has the following effects in combination with:

5.1 CBD – treatment of addiction

5.2 THC – gastric cytoprotective; neuroprotective; treatment of pruritus

  1. Caryophyllene oxide (commonly encountered in lemon balm) has the following effects in combination with:

6.1 CBD / CBG – anti-fungal

6.2 THC – decreases platelet aggregation

6.3 THCA / CBGA – insecticidal

  1. Nerolidol (commonly encountered in orange) has the following effects in combination with:

7.1 THC – sedative

  1. Phytol (commonly encountered in green tea) has the following effects in combination with:

8.1 CBG – anti-stress effect

Various sources highlight the limited therapeutic effect of pure THC, when given intravenously, especially of people who haven’t used it before. Overdoses of THC cause panic reactions or toxic psychoses. CBD, on the other hand, reduces this effect of THC. Other natural sources that reduce THC adverse events are lemon juice, calamus root, palm wine, black pepper, etc.


1. Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects

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