Welcome to the Talking Terpenes: Cliff Notes educational series. This collection of articles summarizes the science of one of the most common types of molecules in nature, terpenes, into an easy read for the average consumer. New articles will be released periodically that explore their characteristics, including many health benefits, offered by terpenes and—more specifically—terpene blends.
Terpenes are chemicals made by plants that have distinct aromas. These smells help plants survive and reproduce by keeping away bugs and animals that want to eat them. Contrarily, the smells also attract insects and people to help spread their pollen and make more plants. Terpenes are more than just aroma, they can also support our health by working with a system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.
The Talking Terpenes series teaches people about the many ways terpenes can help us stay healthy. In this series, we learn about different terpene blends and terpene flavors that not only have appealing scents but also support our overall well-being. Discover why humans have been using terpenes and terpene flavors in their drinks, food, lotions, and perfumes for thousands of years.
This edition of Talking Terpenes investigates the organic Extract Consultants solvent-free Bruce Banner Terpene Blend.
Our Bruce Banner blend has a one-of-a-kind smell made up of different terpenes. These terpenes give it a unique fragrance that's a mix of diesel, sweet, and earthy scents. Hugo Fuego, who wrote for Westworld, said that Bruce Banner has a strong diesel smell at first, followed by a sweet scent. He described the sweet part as a bit tropical and mentioned that the earthy notes come from the popular strain OG Kush.
Bruce Banner is a kind of hybrid plant that leans toward being more sativa. It was created by crossing OG Kush and Strawberry Diesel. People say it brings about a balanced and calm state of mind. The Extract Consultants Bruce Banner Blend uses several terpenes to create its unique scent and flavor. Each of these terpenes has its own medicinal benefits, and when they're combined, they make the blend even better.
Beta-caryophyllene, also known as BCP or just caryophyllene, has a strong smell that's mostly like pepper and spice. It's found in plants like basil, black caraway, cannabis, cinnamon, clove, copaiba, hops, lavender, oregano, rosemary, and ylang-ylang.
Studies have found that BCP can help with things like depression, inflammation, and pain. It also fights against germs and fungi. It could be used to help deal with many different diseases, because of its ability to treat inflammation.
What makes BCP unique is that it acts directly with something called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Because of this, scientists have questioned whether it should be called a terpene or a cannabinoid. Specifically, BCP can connect with CB2 receptors in the ECS, something usually only cannabinoids can do, not terpenes. If you're curious, you can learn more about this by checking out a research study from 2008.
Medicinal Research on Beta Caryophyllene
In a 2016 study called "β‐caryophyllene and β‐caryophyllene Oxide—Natural Compounds of Anticancer and Analgesic Properties." It was published in the journal Cancer Medicine, and it looked into how BCP could help with treating cancer and pain.
This study supported the 2008 research we talked about earlier and focused on how BCP connects with certain parts of our body. The researchers said, "BCP is a phytocannabinoid with a strong liking for cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2), but not cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1)."
The authors of the study found that BCP works well for people with cancer. They explained, "Because chronic pain is often a part of cancer, the double action of BCP, both against cancer and for pain relief, is especially helpful in cancer treatment."
Notable Strains that Feature Beta Caryophyllene
Humulene, also known as alpha-humulene or α-humulene, has shown to be beneficial for your health. It can help with inflammation, cancer, and pain.
It’s said that humulene smells earthy, woody, and sometimes a bit spicy, depending on the other smells around. Some even compare its scent to something "hoppy," like the smell of hops in beer. That's because humulene is found a lot in hops, a major ingredient in making beer.
The name "humulene" comes from the Latin words Humulus Lupulus, which mean "hops" in English. Besides hops and cannabis, humulene is made by many types of trees. You can also find it in basil, clove, and sage. Humulene and BCP have similar chemical formulas and come from many of the same plants. Their scents are so alike that people sometimes mix them up.
Medicinal Research on Humulene
Humulene is a substance that has many health benefits, and various studies have looked into how humulene can be useful against cancer and inflammation.
In a study from 2010 called "Cytotoxic Activity of α-humulene and Transcaryophyllene in Animal and Human Tumor Cells," researchers explored how humulene could be a good treatment for cancer. The study found that a plant extract with 81 percent α-humulene was really effective in killing certain types of cells related to cancer, like those in the colon and breast. The researchers also thought that humulene could be helpful for other types of cancer, mentioning its strong activity against prostate cancer. They concluded that the substances in humulene could stop cancer cells from growing.
Notable Strains that Feature Humulene
Alpha-terpineol, also called α-terpineol, is one of five close relatives (isomers) in the terpineol family. It gives off a strong lilac smell with hints of pine.
A study1 from 2018 said that α-terpineol is one of the most commonly used scents because of its unique lilac smell. It's used in different industries like making perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products, and even in foods and drinks.
This compound comes from cannabis and over 150 other plants like eucalyptus, freesia, lemon peel oil, lime blossoms, marjoram, narcissus, oregano, pine, and rosemary. It's often found in cannabis types that also have a lot of pinene.
Alpha-terpineol has been shown to help with anxiety and might be part of the relaxing effect in some strong cannabis strains. It's really diverse in its medicinal uses, including acting like an antibiotic, reducing inflammation, fighting malaria, killing germs, being an antioxidant, and even having benefits against tumors.
Medicinal Research on Alpha Terpineol
In a 2018 study titled "α-Terpineol, a Natural Monoterpene: A Review of its Biological Properties" was published in the journal Open Chemistry. The study looked into the health benefits of α-terpineol.
The researchers found that α-terpineol might be useful in treating diseases like epilepsy and Dravet syndrome because it can help stop seizures. This is important because some types of epilepsy don't respond well to regular medicines. The study mentioned that more than 20% of epilepsy cases still can't be controlled with current medications.
The research also showed that when you put α-terpineol on your skin, it can make other chemicals work better. When they looked at all the studies done on α-terpineol so far, the researchers found that it might also help with stomach ulcers by protecting the stomach and reducing damage.
Notable Strains that Feature Alpha Terpineol
Menthol, also known as "peppermint camphor," is a common substance that smells mostly like mint and feels cool. This cool feeling happens when menthol touches your skin or when you breathe it in because it activates the cold receptors in the outer layers of your skin.
A study from 20132 found that more than 30,000 metric tons of menthol are taken from plants or made in labs each year. People use it in things like cough drops, nasal inhalers, and ointments.
Menthol is used in lots of different industries, from making food and cosmetics to tobacco products. It's used to add flavor to things like cigarettes, food, drinks, and perfumes. Menthol is found naturally in different plants, including cannabis and various types of mints. In 2017, doctors prescribed menthol more than two million times, and it's also used in dental care as an antibiotic.
Besides cannabis, menthol is found in plants like peppermint and spearmint. It's thought to be one of the most studied terpenes and has medicinal uses like pain relief, fighting bacteria, and helping with skin issues such as acne and asthma.
Like many other terpenes, menthol acts as an antioxidant and reduces inflammation. It might also be a helpful treatment for things like headaches, fever, and the side effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Medicinal Research on Menthol
A 2014 study called "Acute Effect of Topical Menthol on Chronic Pain for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome." It was published in the journal Rehabilitation: Research and Practice, and it looked into whether menthol could help with the pain and swelling linked to the repetitive hand motion condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
This study was a test in which no one knew who was getting the real treatment and who was getting the placebo, making it a fair way to see if menthol worked. The researchers found that compared to the placebo, the pain felt by people with carpal tunnel got better when they used menthol on their skin. The researchers said that using menthol on the skin can quickly reduce the pain in people with carpal tunnel, and it could be a good choice instead of regular pain medicine for managing long-term and nerve-related pain.
Notable Strains that Feature Menthol
The Bruce Banner plant produces only a few terpenes, but there are far more different kinds that exist in nature, over 40,000. Although no terpene is unique to only cannabis, things like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are only found in marijuana. If you want to know more about the basic science of terpenes, check out our article Understanding Terpenes.
The Bruce Banner Terpene Blend from Extract Consultants was created with carefully chosen terpenes in just the right amounts. It gives off a strong aroma that people describe as a mix of diesel and sweet, with a bit of an earthy background. This special blend of terpenes has some beneficial effects, like helping with pain, reducing inflammation, fighting cancer, killing germs, and protecting against damage (like an antioxidant).
1Khaleel, C., Tabanca, N., & Buchbauer, G. (2018). α-Terpineol, a natural monoterpene: A review of its biological properties, Open Chemistry, 16(1), 349-361. doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/chem-2018-0040
2Kamatou GP, Vermaak I, Viljoen AM, Lawrence BM. Menthol: a simple monoterpene with remarkable biological properties. Phytochemistry. 2013 Dec;96:15-25. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Sep 17. PMID: 24054028.
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.