Welcome to Talking Terpenes: Behind the Blends, the educational series that explores the nuanced biochemistry of the aromatic molecules produced by cannabis, hemp, and 20,000 other plant species called terpenes.
The evolutionary function of terpenes—and their impressive fragrances—is the propagation of the plant species that produce them. This is accomplished by repelling pests and predators while simultaneously attracting pollinators (typically insects or human cultivators). These chemical compounds just so happen to also deliver sometimes striking health benefits to humans.
This series teaches readers about the wide range of health advantages offered by these special chemical compounds. Readers learn how terpene blends deliver enhanced medicinal efficacy and delicately layered, bold fragrances. In fact, humans have been adding terpenes and terpene blends to food, beverages, and topical creams and lotions for thousands of years.
This edition of Talking Terpenes investigates the Extract Consultants solvent-free Mango Kush Blend.
Examining Mango Kush Terpenes
The terpenes featured in the Mango Kush Blend—derived from individually isolated sources—provide a sweet, attractive aroma profile that involves a uniquely tropical fragrance accompanied by ample notes of “kushy pine.” These terpenes include bisabolol, humulene, linalool, myrcene, and pinene, among others.
This indica-heavy cultivar is reported to provide significant body effects, including pain relief and anxiety reduction. Also of merit is this blend’s propensity to shrink cancer tumors and its bronchodilation effects (beneficial for those suffering bronchial conditions such as allergies and asthma).
Because the terpenes humulene, linalool, myrcene, and pinene have been covered previously in this series, links will be provided below to articles within the series for more information regarding these particular phytomolecules.
Bisabolol, also called alpha-bisabolol (α-bisabolol), is a secondary (minor) terpene that appears in relatively small quantities in raw plant samples.
Bisabolol conveys a light and fresh aroma that is commonly called sweet and floral. It has been described as featuring citrus and spice undertones. Bisabolol is produced by candeia trees, cannabis, and chamomile. This terpene conveys benefits for skin health and has been an important ingredient in cosmetics for centuries.
Consumers of loose-leaf cannabis flower will experience relatively low quantities of bisabolol that typically deliver indiscernible effects. However, the efficacy of organic molecules like bisabolol can be experienced via hundreds of legal cannabis products in dozens of jurisdictions because of the concentrated doses that can be produced in industrial laboratory environments.
The medicinal benefits of bisabolol include analgesic, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
Medicinal Research on Alpha Bisabolol
A variety of peer-reviewed research has demonstrated the benefits of α-bisabolol. This terpene has been found to be effective in the treatment of several types of bacterial infections and also in fighting cancer tumors, as cited below.
A 2004 study entitled “α-Bisabolol, a Nontoxic Natural Compound, Strongly Induces Apoptosis in Glioma Cells” that was published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications investigated the ability of this terpene to treat cancer.
The scientists reported that “α-bisabolol...was found to have a strong time- and dose-dependent cytotoxic effect on human and rat glioma cells.” The study determined that the viability of the cancer cells “was reduced by 50 percent with respect to untreated cells.” Importantly, the study also examined the safety profile of bisabolol, stating that “the viability of normal rat glial cells was not affected by treatment with α-bisabolol at the same concentrations as above.”
The study confirmed that the underlying mechanism involved in the death of the cancer cells was apoptosis, a genetically pre-programmed mechanism in which the malignant cells kill themselves in a literal demonstration of cellular suicide. The researchers concluded that α-bisabolol “may be considered a novel compound able to inhibit glioma cell growth and survival.”
A 2007 study entitled “Alpha-bisabolol: Unexpected Plant-derived Weapon in the Struggle Against Tumour Survival?” that was published in The Italian Journal of Biochemistry explored the ability of bisabolol to treat cancer cells.
Like the 2004 study cited above, this research identified the underlying mechanism of apoptosis as being responsible for the death of the cancer cells. “Alpha-bisabolol, a sesquiterpene widely present in plants, selectively kills transformed cells by apoptosis without affecting the viability of normal cells.”
The research also confirmed the safety profile of this terpene, stating that “experiments with animals indicate that alpha-bisabolol is not toxic and is accumulated, through blood flow, in every tissue examined.”
A 2013 study entitled “The Antimicrobial Activity of Alpha-bisabolol” investigated the ability of bisabolol sourced from tea tree oil to treat the bacteria Solobacterium moorei that plays a role in halitosis.
Reported the study, “The combination of 0.1% alpha-bisabolol plus 0.05% tea tree oil showed a synergistic effect on [the] S. moorei [bacteria] strain...and on two of the four clinical S. moorei isolates tested.”
The study’s authors concluded that the bacterium S. moorei “is susceptible to the antimicrobial agents tea tree oil and alpha-bisabolol, suggesting that these compounds might be beneficial in oral healthcare products.”
A 2017 study entitled “Alpha-bisabolol Promotes Glioma Cell Death by Modulating the Adenosinergic System” explored the ability of this terpene to act as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, the most malignant type of glioma cancer. “Alpha-bisabolol is an essential oil reported as a potent [cancer] cell death agent,” wrote the researchers.
The study noted that “alpha-bisabolol led to a decrease in...glioma cell viability.” Concluded the study’s authors, “Our data indicated the...anti-proliferative effect of α-bisabolol on glioma cells.”
Humulene, one of the most common terpenes produced by the cannabis plant, provides a variety of medicinal effects, including antibacterial, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory qualities.
This special terpene also reduces appetite (what researchers call anorectic), a characteristic that is relatively rare among terpenes and cannabinoids. Humulene shares this property with the delta-9 THC varin isomer tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
Visit the following articles in this series to learn more about humulene:
Linalool, a monoterpene, is one of the most common terpenes produced by the cannabis genome (DNA) and also very common in nature, with more than 200 plant species featuring it (including basil, birch bark, lavender, and tomatoes). This popular compound molecule features an aroma that is overwhelmingly floral, with heavy undertones of spice and—depending on the other terpenes present—citrus.
The primary effects of linalool are relaxation and an overall reduction in anxiety. It is sometimes used to treat severe depression and sleep disorders, including insomnia.
Visit these articles in this series to learn more about linalool:
Myrcene, the most common terpene in cannabis, is associated with indica-type cultivars and is recommended by many wellness professionals and caregivers to reduce anxiety. It is produced by cannabis, chamomile, hops, lemongrass, parsley, and wild thyme, among other plant species. Like many terpenes, myrcene is employed as a food flavor agent and in cosmetics for aroma.
This terpene is reported to reduce anxiety and, in sufficient doses, to act as a sedative. The earthy, musky scent it produces is typically commingled with the aroma of both humulene and beta-caryophyllene.
Visit these articles in this series to learn more about myrcene:
Pinene is produced as two separate molecular isomers, alpha-pinene (a major terpene) and beta-pinene (a minor example). The alpha variety is the second most abundant terpene in the cannabis genome and the most commonly found in all of nature (with limonene taking second place).
This phytomolecule provides a crisp, fresh aroma that is earthy and musky, with a distinct element of pine. It is produced by many plant species other than cannabis, including basil, conifers, eucalyptus, frankincense, oranges, and pine trees.
Visit these articles in this series to learn more about alpha-pinene:
The terpenes included in the Extract Consultants solvent-free Mango Kush Blend, including alpha-bisabolol, humulene, linalool, myrcene, and pinene, deliver an enticing and popular aroma profile characterized by a sweet tropical fragrance accompanied by distinct notes of pine.
The Mango Kush Blend offers a range of wellness efficacies. These potential benefits include relaxation and reductions in anxiety, bronchial relief, significant anti-cancer properties, antioxidant abilities, and powerful antibacterial efficacy—among others.
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.