Welcome to the Talking Terpenes: Behind the Blends educational series. This collection of articles explores the science and medical benefits of a type of organic molecule called terpenes. Followers of this series learn about the wellness benefits offered by terpenes and—more precisely—the specific terpene blends offered by Extraction Consultants.
This installment of Talking Terpenes investigates the Extract Consultants solvent-free Do-Si-Dos Blend. The formulation of this special terpene profile involved careful consideration of the biomechanical properties offered by each terpene, as well as their synergistic effects with one another.
Examining Do-Si-Dos Blend Terpenes
The precision blend of terpenes featured in the formulation of our Do-Si-Dos Blend results in a fragrance profile that is earthy, raw, and punctuated with sweet undertones of floral funkiness. Comprised of alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, beta-caryophyllene, d-limonene, linalool, myrcene, and several other terpenes, Do-Si-Dos is not only a fan favorite in terms of aroma, but also provides a range of wellness benefits.
The Do-Si-Dos blend is categorized as an indica and results from the breeding of the cannabis cultivars GSC (formerly Girl Scout Cookies) and Face Off OG. This combination has produced one of the most popular strains to emerge within the world of cannabis chemotypes. The medicinal efficacy of this blend includes anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, and antianxiety benefits, among others.
Alpha-pinene holds the distinction of being the most common among more than 40,000 types of terpenes produced by 20,000 plant species. As its name implies, alpha-pinene is made in relatively copious volumes by pine trees and their cousins the conifers. Dozens of other plant species are botanical manufacturers of this terpene, including basil, cannabis, eucalyptus, frankincense, oranges, parsley, rosemary, and sage.
Also called α-pinene, this terpene delivers an aroma that is earthy, fresh, and musky, with a strong scent of pine. The fact that the scent of alpha-pinene is exceptionally attractive to humans has motivated the food and beverage industries to employ it as a flavor ingredient and cosmetics manufacturers to use it as a fragrance agent.
This major terpene is one of a pair of siblings, or molecular isomers, involving beta-pinene. Both alpha-pinene and beta-pinene are produced by hemp and cannabis plants and deliver some common wellness benefits, including anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and bronchodilation effects.
A 2012 study entitled “Protective Effects of Alpha-pinene in Mice with Acute Pancreatitis” that was published in the journal Life Sciences explored the ability of α-pinene to treat pancreatitis, the inflammatory disease for which a cause remains unknown.
The researchers found that “Alpha-pinene treatment reduced histological damage...in the pancreas and lungs” and concluded that their study results “suggest that alpha-pinene has an anti-inflammatory effect” that could be of value in the treatment of pancreatitis and other cancers involving systemic inflammation.
Beta-pinene, also called β-pinene, is the isomer to the popular terpene alpha-pinene. Beta-pinene is slightly different from alpha-pinene, both in terms of aroma and medicinal efficacy. Despite their similarity, a significant variance among these molecules is their commonality in nature; beta-pinene is much less common than α-pinene.
Beta-pinene is a popular terpene because of its earthy, woody, and green aroma, sometimes accompanied by undertones of fresh spice. While alpha-pinene’s core aroma is pine, the beta variant specializes in undertones of wood and spice.
Like most terpenes and cannabinoids, β-pinene delivers a range of wellness attributes that includes the ability to kill pain (analgesia), anticancer and antioxidant qualities, and powerful anti-inflammatory abilities. One characteristic it shares with alpha-pinene is bronchodilation, making it a potential therapeutic agent in the treatment of disorders such as asthma, a variety of allergies, and bronchitis.
In addition, beta-pinene has demonstrated solid neurogenerative qualities, meaning it can slow or halt the progress of common disorders of the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
A 2013 study entitled “Identification of Proapoptopic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Proliferative, Anti-Invasive, and Anti-Angiogenic Targets of Essential Oils” that was published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention investigated the wellness benefits of a variety of terpenes produced by the essential oil cardamom, including alpha-pinene, β-pinene, eucalyptol, d-limonene, and geraniol.
The study revealed that these terpenes assist in a mechanism that results in cancer cell death called apoptosis (a genetically pre-programmed routine that is perhaps best described as cellular suicide). It reported that the “essential oils in cardamom (eucalyptol; beta-pinene; geraniol) provide pro-apoptotic [cancer] activity.”
The researchers concluded that their study data “revealed vital information about the poly-pharmacological anti-tumor mode-of-action of essential oils in cardamom,” including the distinct anticancer effects of terpenes such as alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, d-limonene, and geraniol.
Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene that is commonly called caryophyllene or BCP. It is unique among the 200 terpenes produced by the cannabis plant genome (DNA set) for the simple reason that it mimics cannabinoids at the cellular level when interacting with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).
BCP is the only terpene known to bind directly with cellular receptors within the ECS (in particular, the CB2 receptors). Readers can learn more about this mechanism to better understand the biochemical nuances of BCP and other terpenes by visiting this 2008 research study.
Outside of its unusual molecular behavior within the ECS, this terpene provides a pleasant aroma dominated by pepper and spice. Beta-caryophyllene is produced by some cultivars of hemp and cannabis in relatively large quantities that sometimes approach that of myrcene (the most common terpene produced by the cannabis plant).
Due to its calming effects, black pepper that is rich in beta-caryophyllene is a decades-old folk remedy employed in the treatment of the paranoia and panic attacks that sometime result from overindulgence in Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychotropic cannabinoid produced by cannabis (especially among novice consumers). The terpene BCP is made by not only cannabis, but many other plant species, including basil, black caraway, black pepper, cannabis, cinnamon, clove, copaiba, hops, lavender, oregano, rosemary, and ylang-ylang.
The medicinal efficacy of BCP includes neuroprotection and relief from depression, inflammation, and pain. Research has revealed that it also provides antifungal and antimicrobial benefits. Together, these qualities make BCP of value in the treatment of literally thousands of diseases and conditions that are rooted in inflammation or that produce pain.
A 2018 study entitled “A Systematic Review on the Neuroprotective Perspectives of Beta‐caryophyllene” that was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research explored the ability of BCP to protect brain cells and other neurons.
“Beta (β)-caryophyllene is a major sesquiterpene of various plant essential oils reported for several important pharmacological activities, including antioxidant, anti‐inflammatory, anticancer, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, gastroprotective, nephroprotective, antimicrobial, and immune‐modulatory activity,” reported the scientists.
The study revealed that BCP “exhibits a protective role in a number of nervous system‐related disorders, including pain, anxiety, spasm, convulsion, depression, alcoholism, and Alzheimer’s disease.” The study’s authors also noted that BCP features “local anesthetic‐like activity, which could protect the nervous system from oxidative stress and inflammation.”
Like alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, d-limonene is one of a pair of isomer terpenes that includes l-limonene. D-limonene is one of the most common terpenes in cannabis and is the second most common to appear in nature (behind α-pinene).
As its name suggests, d-limonene produces a lime-like aroma dominated by a confident citrus signature. It is sometimes described as sweet, crisp, and even floral. Beyond hemp and cannabis, this terpene is produced by a large number of plant species, including fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, and orange.
The medicinal efficacy of d-limonene is similar to other terpenes, offering anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits that are of value to a number of disease states and patient communities. One of the most notable wellness advantages conveyed by this compound is bronchodilation, a trait it shares with its chemical cousins the terpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. Products formulated with terpenes such as d-limonene, alpha-pinene, and beta-pinene may help treat bronchial disorders such as asthma, allergies, and bronchitis.
Arguably the most compelling benefit of d-limonene may be its anticancer efficacy. Reported one 2007 study, “D-limonene has well-established chemopreventive activity against many types of cancer.” Found most commonly in sativa varieties of cannabis, this terpene is reported to produce an energized and uplifted state of being among its users. This 1998 study found d-limonene to have an acceptable safety profile when used to treat breast cancer patients.
A 2018 study entitled “D-limonene Exhibits Antitumor Activity by Inducing Autophagy and Apoptosis in Lung Cancer” that was published in the journal Oncology Targets Therapy investigated “the mechanisms by which d-limonene achieves these [anticancer] effects, especially in lung cancer.”
The study’s authors reported that d-limonene “inhibited the growth of lung cancer cells and suppressed the growth of transplanted tumors in...mice. Expression of apoptosis and autophagy-related genes were increased in tumors after treatment with d-limonene.” The study concluded that this popular terpene “may have a therapeutic effect on lung cancer as it can induce apoptosis of lung cancer cells by promoting autophagy.”
Linalool, a minor terpene within cannabis and hemp, is relatively common in nature. It results in an aroma that is dominated by floral tones involving spice and wood and is produced by cannabis cultivars such as Do-Si-Dos and Kosher Kush. In nature, linalool is produced by basil, bay leaf, birch bark, a range of fungi, ho leaf (Chinese rosewood), and lavender (the most commonly cited source).
The medicinal benefits produced by this terpene include antimicrobial and anxiety lowering traits, making it of value in the treatment of social anxiety and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Research has revealed that this terpene may also reduce convulsions and seizure activity in patients with conditions such as epilepsy.
Like other terpenes and cannabinoids, linalool has been shown to deliver considerable anti-inflammatory properties and pain relief. Similar to myrcene, it can be used as a sedative if dosed correctly. Like other terpenes, it also conveys significant anticancer properties and may be a powerful agent in the treatment of the more than 100 variants of the disease.
A 2015 study entitled “Linalool Induces Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis in Leukemia Cells and Cervical Cancer Cells” that was published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences explored “the cytotoxic effect of linalool on human cancer cell lines.”
The study reported that linalool can be an effective treatment for cancer and identified some of the underlying mechanisms by which this terpene is able to demonstrate such effective anticancer efficacy, including apoptosis. The study “demonstrated that linalool exhibited a good cytotoxic effect.”
The terpene myrcene, which produces an earthy, musky aroma—sometimes with fruity, sweet, or clove-like undertones—is associated with indica cultivars. In potent doses, it can reduce anxiety and even act as a sedative. It is produced by cannabis, chamomile, hops, lemongrass, parsley, and wild thyme.
A 1997 study revealed that myrcene is the most common terpene, as measured in weight by volume, produced by cannabis plants. It also provides value as an analgesic, fights systemic inflammation, is an antibiotic, and—like many other terpenes explained in this series—conveys serious anticancer efficacy that may make it a valuable part of cancer therapy.
A 2015 study entitled “Evaluation of the Anti-inflammatory, Anti-catabolic, and Pro-anabolic Effects of E-caryophyllene, Myrcene, and Limonene in Osteoarthritis” that was published in the European Journal of Pharmacology investigated the ability of these organic terpenes to treat the progressive joint disease osteoarthritis.
The study reported that myrcene and other terpenes exhibit strong medicinal properties that make them of value in the treatment of osteoarthritis. “These data show that myrcene has significant anti-inflammatory and anti-catabolic effects,”reported the study. It concluded that limonene, myrcene, and other terpenes offer the “ability to halt—or, at least, slow—cartilage destruction and osteoarthritis progression” and that this mechanism of action “warrants further investigation.”
Collectively, the terpenes that compose the popular solvent-free Do-Si-Dos blend offer a wide range of medicinal benefits, including anti-inflammatory, neurogenerative, antianxiety, antibiotic, and anticancer powers.
When assembled as the Extract Consultants Do-Si-Dos blend, these terpenes create a fragrant medley that is earthy and raw, with distinct floral undertones. A range of research studies conducted over the past several decades has revealed the distinct benefits of this particular group of terpenes for a variety of disease states and patient populations, including social anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, various forms of arthritis, and cancer.
About the Author
Curt Robbins is a technical writer, instructional designer, and lecturer who has been developing science-based educational and training content for Fortune 200 enterprise companies for more than 30 years. He is Director of Course Development at Higher Learning LV™ in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Robbins began writing about the biochemistry and science of the various wellness molecules produced by plants such as hemp in 2003. He has since developed more than 600 educational articles about hemp and its health components—including terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and the human endocannabinoid system.