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Новости/Аналитика

Therapeutic properties of terpenes

30.01.2020

According to research, interest in terpenes has increased five-fold since 2016. Terpenes are similar to a treasure that remains to be discovered. Without terpenes, hemp would have completely different therapeutic properties. Naturally, this applies to medicines, dietary supplements, consumer goods, food and beverages, which include terpenes.

The potential of the volatile constituents of hemp has not been fully disclosed, but they have enormous therapeutic properties.

We live in a world where a modern consumer of products prefers to “drink a pill”, which will solve any problems with physical or psycho-emotional health. This is actively used by pharmacological companies that regularly market synthetic drugs that at best help the human body fight its ailments, at the same time provoking a huge number of side effects, in the worst case they work as a placebo and have an addictive effect - an example is the epidemic that erupted in the USA Dependence on opium prescribed by doctors. Therefore, more and more often, patients, including in our camp, are asking a logical question: pharmacological preparations, in which millions are invested in advertising budgets, are the only possible way to treat various diseases, or nevertheless, modern medicine is primarily aimed at “pumping resources from the patient "And are there alternative treatments using biologically active natural ingredients. Let’s try to understand at least fragmentarily this issue.

History

At the beginning of the last century, the vast majority of pharmacological preparations were made from plants and a huge number of diseases were treated using the therapeutic properties of hemp. For centuries, hemp plant has been one of the few natural remedies available to ancient healers for the treatment, healing and alleviation of suffering. The history of pharmacology demonstrates that even today, most chemically synthesized and clinically approved drugs were made as analogues of natural biologically active substances. From ancient times, people know that plants can improve our physical and psychological well-being, for example, the soothing and anti-anxious properties of chamomile have been studied in detail and are still used in modern medicine. Lavender affects mood and cognitive function. Turmeric is used for arthritis, ginkgo for treating memory problems and treating dementia, flax and hemp seeds for weight loss and preventing cardiovascular diseases, echinacea for colds and boosting the immune system, tea tree oil for treating skin diseases, etc. If you carefully read the collections of the Pharmacopoeia of the 20-30 years of the last century, we find that the list of plants used as a preventative or medicinal product is endless. However, there is one factor that unites all medicinal plants and which has significant pharmacological benefits.

Small molecules with tremendous therapeutic potential

These wonderful molecules are terpenes, which are precursors of terpenoids. Each of these aromatic substances has its own healing and biologically active properties. Fruits, flowers, vegetables and spices smell so good precisely because of the presence of terpenes in them. However, these hydrocarbon molecules are more than just a delicious smell. Pinene (improves mental concentration), limonene, myrcene, linalool (helps to relax), bergamonten (helps with stress, insomnia and myrcene during sleep), caryophyllene are just some of the terpenes found in various concentrations in hemp, which have huge anti-inflammatory , anti-anxiety properties, the ability to induce good healthy sleep and good mood, enhancing the healing properties of other biologically active substances, including those able to fight even with severe forms of NVIRONMENTAL diseases. 

Terpenes are extremely volatile and evaporate quickly at moderate temperatures. The air smells fresher in the morning because it is at this time that the plants secrete terpenes when they reach their maximum concentration before the sun evaporates them during the day. Preservation of terpenes in hemp during harvesting is an important task, because manufacturers using leaves and inflorescences of plants in their production formulations want to preserve the distinctive taste characteristics and biologically active properties of these fragile and easily degradable plant compounds. That is why the producers of “green mass” hemp prefer to harvest early in the morning and sometimes immediately freeze the resulting leaves and inflorescences in order to preserve terpenes most sparingly. To further protect the resulting special formulations, which are very sensitive to heat and humidity, manufacturers and processors carefully monitor the environmental conditions during processing in order to avoid the destruction or evaporation of natural terpenes.

During growth and ripening, the plants are terpene subject to even moderate changes in conditions such as wind, sunlight, temperature cycle, precipitation. Obviously, mechanical or manual harvesting of leaves and inflorescences, excessive processing and careless storage will reduce the terpene profile of the therapeutic properties of the plant. 

Experienced cannabis growers follow the special procedures and protocols provided for this, typical of the pharmaceutical and food industries, which ensure that not only terpenes, but also flavonoids, polyphenols and all other plant compounds that have a significant therapeutic effect are saved most sparingly .

Terpenes, cannabinoids and other phyto compounds give hemp its unique medicinal effect, taste and smell. There are more than 50,000 terpenes that are found in nature and a significant number of them have enormous therapeutic properties.

Ensemble effect

Terpenes work together with cannabinoids and other plant compounds of industrial hemp through the “ensemble effect”. This symbiotic interaction of a significant number of a large number of natural molecules in various respects in different varieties of technical hemp is explained by the improvement of its therapeutic qualities. Simply put, “the whole plant” is greater than the sum of the parts. As a result of studies of the “ensemble effect”, it is reasonably believed that the “whole plant” and the “herbal medicine” made from leaves and inflorescences are superior in their therapeutic effect to highly purified hemp extracts. This happens due to the enhanced synergistic effect when the entire spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes and other phyto compounds, such as flavonoids, chlorophylls, vitamins and minerals are used by the body at the same time. 

Endocannabinoid system

When the endocannabinoid system was discovered during hemp research in the early 1990s, the medical landscape changed dramatically. However, to date, few medical schools have included the endocannabinoid system in their curriculum. And as our understanding of this critical “primary regulatory” system grew, information was accumulating on how plant cannabinoids can positively affect the above system of the human body, as well as its structure and functioning. Among the many positive properties of technical cannabis for mammals, it is terpenes that positively affect human health through the endocannabinoid system, inhibiting the absorption of serotonin and, therefore, acting as an effective antidepressant. When cannabinoids bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, a complete cascade of events occurs in intercellular communication, which in turn affects neurobehavioral effects by regulating pain, inflammation, anxiety, fear, body temperature, stress, appetite, and more. They also increase the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid, which blocks nerve impulses and, thus, reduces anxiety.

Studies of terpenes, as well as their properties in economically developed countries

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized that cannabis terpenes are completely safe. Some European research institutions located in the health care structure of their countries also pay attention to the recognition of the therapeutic properties of terpenes and, in this regard, publish information on the financing of studies aimed at studying the effect of cannabinoids and terpenes on physiological pain (nociception), which is a reaction of the nervous system harmful irritants, such as trauma. In addition, interdisciplinary research and the interaction of chemists, biologists, neurologists with medical workers (doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, etc.) are encouraged.

Using

Terpenes can be used in various ways, including by oral administration or the use of an inhalation spray. In addition, terpenes are often added to diffusers, moisturizers and perfumes, and they are perfectly absorbed through the skin. That is why cosmetic companies focus on the benefits of aromatherapy procedures, such as facials, massages, baths, and the cosmetic products used for this necessarily include terpenes. Terpenes are used in many products and drinks, and chefs use special combinations to improve taste and aroma, and increasingly in the formulations of traditional products in order to use their healing properties, and not just to obtain a pleasant aroma. 

Commentary by the Ukrainian Technical Hemp Association

According to research, interest in terpenes has increased five-fold since 2016. The market for products including terpenes has grown significantly over the past few years, and consumer awareness of similar products is also growing rapidly. Food products, cosmetics and other products that use terpenes are not only a manifestation of good taste, but also are natural and attractive to health. Therefore, hemp market analysts predict a further rapid increase in the terpenes market for at least the next few years.

Terpenes are similar to a treasure that remains to be discovered. Without terpenes, hemp would have completely different therapeutic properties. Naturally, this applies to medicines, dietary supplements, consumer goods, food and beverages, which include terpenes. Research, science, innovation and discovery will pave the way for the justification and use of the beneficial properties of terpenes that can improve the health of people and animals.

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