Terpenes: Beyond Vitamins and Minerals
Alongside vitamins and minerals, maintaining a healthy balance of certain botanical components, including terpenes, is crucial in daily life, playing active roles in various biological mechanisms, such as our endocannabinoid system- which is very important- and it can be influenced by your diet as well as your environment.
Have you ever breathed easier upon entering an evergreen forest? Or felt a sense of calm when you’re around cedars or lavender?
Various plant species have their own individual aromatic profile,thanks to terpenes, that are expressed heavily in spices or herbs like cannabis, with a wide diversity represented in the many flavors and smells, many of which have different therapeutic benefits.
Essential plant oils are not only vital in medicine; they should also be served with daily meals through spices, fruits, and vegetables- just as plant life should surround us.
Have you ever noticed a spice-centric diet in ancient, desert lifestyles, such as the Middle East? Undoubtedly, one influence is overall health, and nature allows us to maintain a healthy balance, even in desolate wastelands; though we must wisely use those presented spices, fruits, and vegetables for our wellbeing.
A Balanced Medicine
Nature’s organic toolbox often provides a plethora of powerful internal regulatory effects- at least those plants we grow for our own benefit. Cannabis stands high as a model plant in this regard, sustaining its status throughout our continued influence on its genetics; growing a few landrace varieties into hundreds of strains.
From this one sustainable plant, we created an entire medicine cabinet and its list of effects could fill its very own Pharmaceutical Bible; but I will be brief and focus on a few interesting notes.
Carcinogens don’t scare me!
Notice all the smoke you’re inhaling? It does contain a dozen or so toxins, so surely a few negatives do squeeze into your cells, but I wouldn’t fret too much, however; any reports on it causing cancer are likely misconstrued.
So what’s going on?
You may have heard that cannabinoids fight cancer- but that’s by cannabinoids starving cells that are already cancerous. High-quality cannabis actually puts a stop to its own negatives before any cells are affected!
Different anti-mutagenic terpenes can stop different carcinogens from ever mutating the cell in the first place, adding to its many other preventive benefits that can aid your health, and you can bet this story writes itself into everyone’s lives beyond cannabis.
So I would grab the cloves, put the garlic powder away and, definitely get out the pepper mill, too.
Pre-ground black pepper may not be so harmful, although; it will allow volatile aromatics to evaporate, including non-toxic caryophyllene. Meaning pre-ground pepper will be more prominent in alkaloids such as guineesine, an endocannabinoid reuptake inhibitor. Piperine will also be more abundant though; an alkaloid best consumed with companion terpenes to avoid associated negatives and bring out any benefits, as with many spices, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.
An anti-inflammatory preventing its own negative side effects
Your endocannabinoid system balances many of your physical and mental functions including anti inflammation, however; endocannabinoids can actually break down into pro-inflammatory lipids. Thankfully they, alongside their cannabinoid partners, actually moderate their own degradation- safeguarding and preventing you from experiencing some of these negatives. This perfect regulation improves therapy against inflammation and diseases including cancer, sustaining a beautiful homeostatic response.
“CBDing Yourself?” Cannabis Can “Get You Sober” or Stoned
CBD, CBG and THCv all act on THC, like a doorman, moderating psychoactive response in their own individual ways, and all further increase their medicinal benefits- this is called the Entourage Effect.
Despite CBD‘s ability to lessen THC‘s potency, it can actually prolong some effects, facilitated by slowing down metabolism of endocannabinoids ubiquitously. CBD also slows THCs breakdown by blocking different enzymes in your liver.
Important Beyond Cannabis
With just a few examples of internal balance from an unfinished encyclopedia, how then is your endocannabinoid system used externally without cannabis? Well, through exercise, sensory response and many plant components, especially from our friendly dietary cannabinoid-terpene, caryophyllene, a non-psychoactive agonist (at CB2 receptors.)
I mentioned it’s prevalence in black pepper- it’s also found in various spices like cloves and basil, and in redwood cedar trees, too. Cedar is dense in Squamish, BC and the North West Coast, which is far different from the pine-tree dominant environment where I grew up in BC’s interior.
Pinene is an open, alert, clear and focused terpene that’s much more prominent in evergreen trees.
Cannabis Addiction? A real thing, but is it just “Cannabis?”
Our behavioral characteristics are defined by so many variables; keeping track of them can help us stay healthy physically mentally and emotionally. I do feel deeper questions arise from purely nomadic rock climbers sitting in their cold dripping vans well into monsoon season.
Refusing to leave soaking wet, unclimbable mountains, encompassed by soggy cedar forests.
Often stuck by their own unexplainable stubbornness, until temperatures drop just enough.
Looking past some beautiful and painfully obvious factors involved, what of the terpenes in the trees they’re surrounded by?
Caryophyllene, in particular, opens the reward pathway, meaning it’s potentially addictive despite suppressing dopamine, interestingly though is it can be rather “reinvigorating”. Despite all the other external factors in Squamish, this fits perfectly as just one more variable behind behavioral characteristics in these heavily involved individuals.
Boasting many added health benefits by activating your endocannabinoid system alongside its addictive nature, but most terpenes becomes less volatile into colder winter months.
Addiction Therapy Not a Gateway Drug
Leaving people clueless to their own “forest addiction,” with livid endocannabinoid systems throughout summer chasing a fleeting subconscious fix as the season slips past. Addicted to a naturally abundant non-toxic, non-intoxicating medicinal compound with zero recreational value or gateway risk. On the contrary, addiction therapy is one tool in this one terpenes cabinet.
Flora and fauna relationships carry throughout your daily routines, living in a rainforest or a desert, with or without cannabis.
Featured image courtesy of My Prince George Now.
(Disclaimer: Writing author has not yet analyzed first second or third party data reports on terpene content in air quality assays. Nor blind-surveys on a broad individual behavioral spectrum, these views are still hypothesis. Proven though is your endocannabinoid systems vitality, the fact its deficiencies do lead to several severe ailments including inflammatory disease and cancer. Terpenes in moderate doses do carry many crucial positive health benefits, including anti mutation. Not all are non-toxic though, most carry some negative physical or mental effects, however, in extremely acute doses, typically beyond even most cannabis extract dose levels, but not specific terpene concentrates.)
Information has been graphed from a personal study of studies.Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to embark on a bibliography of research data.
An honorary mention to the work of Ethan Russo: