Alpha Pinene is the Terpene Some Scientists Don’t Want to Neglect
There’s more to the cannabis plant than meets the eye— or shall we say the nose? Alpha pinene shows up in cannabis more than any other terpene. If you’ve ever put your nose to cannabis flower and inhaled the fresh scent of pine tree, you were experiencing the effect of alpha pinene.
Terpenes are responsible for the aromatic property of cannabis. They’re naturally-occurring compounds in cannabis, fruits, trees, and herbs. Alpha pinene emits a heavenly, woodsy fragrance. We smell pinene constantly around Christmas time from pine, spruce, and fir trees.
Scientists suggest that pinene can potentially treat inflammation, cancer, and respiratory infections.
When people talk about cannabis, cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBN, etc.) often steal the spotlight. However, some people may not realize that terpenes are just as important as cannabinoids when it comes to selecting products for specific health issues.
Alpha pinene is said to open up the lungs and stand up against inflammation. Similarly, eucalyptus oil and menthol are two terpenes in Vicks VapoRub that suppress a bad cough. Through the olfactory system, the alpha pinene terpene has the same ability to send signals to the brain to make you feel better.
These aromatic powers of persuasion show up in the practice of aromatherapy. This method of stress release involves essential oils and terpenes. The difference between the two is somewhat nuanced, but in general, just know that terpenes are a component of essential oils.
Simply inhaling terpene-rich essential oils is believed to increase relaxation and ease anxiety. Terpenes are underrated compounds that make cannabis an all-around delightful plant and possible alternative to over-the-counter medication.*
In this article, we explain everything you didn’t know about alpha pinene, including the scientific findings about cannabis terpenes for therapy. Once you learn the basics of terpene 101, keep reading until the end of the article for a Sovereignty secret (hint: it’s a terpene infused CBD product for energy).
What are terpenes used for?
Terpenes don’t only benefit humans. Plants rely on these compounds to protect themselves against predators and insects.
Other popular terpenes and their associated plants are:
- Limonene: Lemons, oranges
- Linalool: Lavender
- Myrcene: Hops, lemongrass, thyme
- Beta-caryophyllene: Clove, black pepper
If you’re a cannabis newbie, you might be fascinated, curious, and slightly doubtful about all of the hype surrounding terpene infused products. Words like dank, woody, and skunky are often used to describe the smell and quality of cannabis.
From an outsider’s perspective, these descriptions can sound off putting. Describing a plant as “skunky” might not be what you’d expect when someone tells you to stop and smell the roses.
However, most cannabis professionals agree on this point: quality cannabis stands out because of terpenes.
High Times interviewed several experts on the question of what distinguishes top-shelf cannabis from mid to low-grade bud. The consensus seems to land on the importance of terpene presence. In this context, we’re specifically talking about cannabis flower (aka bud) in dispensaries.
While there are other forms of ingesting cannabis such as dabbing and edibles, the fact still stands: more terpenes means higher quality.
Knowing which terpenes are in your cannabis can guide you in the right direction to finding solutions to your health problems.
With this in mind, here’s everything you (probably) didn’t know about alpha pinene.
What is alpha pinene used for?
- There are two types of pinene: alpha and beta. Both alpha and beta pinene are formed from the same atoms. In chemistry, the two organic compounds are like fraternal twins in the way their shapes mirror the other (enantiomers).
- Besides cannabis, alpha pinene is used in cleaning products because of its piney smell.
- Terpenes and terpenoids are sometimes used interchangeably, although they are not the same thing. Terpenes are found in live plants. They turn into terpenoids once a plant is cured or dried out.
- Studies in animals reveal many therapeutic effects of alpha pinene. The terpene may treat neurological diseases, cancer, and asthma, to name a few conditions.
- Alpha pinene is also found in some of your favorite herbs like dill, basil, rosemary, and parsley.
Another point that repeatedly pops up with alpha pinene research is the Japanese concept of “forest bathing.” It’s as simple and luxurious as it sounds. In Japanese culture, people go into nature to destress and get in touch with the five senses. As you’ve learned, trees release terpenes which can have a calming effect on people.
Next time you start to feel pent up, take a walk and see what the trees can do for your stress. “Forest bathing” is a good example of alpha pinene in effect. Since we’re cooped up inside these days because of COVID, any excuse to take a walk will do wonders for your mental health.
Now that you know the ins and outs of alpha pinene, it’s time we keep our end of the bargain and tell you what to do next.
What is Sovereignty’s secret?
Our energy supplement is a no-frills cannabis product that lets the ingredients do the talking. Mix the powder in water and indulge in a stripped-down CBD beverage that won’t make you feel clueless when you look at the ingredient label.
After all, Sovereignty’s secret is not being secretive about what’s in Purpose. We’re an open book so feel free to peruse our blog or ask us questions.
*This information is not to be used in place of your doctor’s opinion. Please use your best judgment when it comes to making decisions about your health and understand that definitive research about medicinal cannabis is ongoing. We share the initial findings available to us until more comprehensive clinical trials can be conducted. Be patient, willing to learn, and open to trying cannabinoids alongside your current medications.