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Anti-Inflammatory Cannabis Terpenes: What They Are, Why You Need Them

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Anti-Inflammatory Cannabis Terpenes: What They Are, Why You Need Them

anti-inflammatory cannabis terpenes

We know you’re well-versed in the beneficial properties of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). You know that they can help with stress, anxiety, pain, and inflammation. But, did you know that cannabis terpenes work together with CBD and THC to fight inflammation? Let’s dive into what anti-inflammatory cannabis terpenes are, what they do, and how they can benefit your customers.

Anti-Inflammatory Cannabis Terpenes

Terpenes are fragrant oils produced alongside CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids. They account for the distinctive smell and flavors of your cannabis. Some include pine, mint, berry, and citrus. Without terpenes, your cannabis would have very little taste or odor.
Cannabis terpenes evolved for the cannabis plant to draw pollinators and repel predators. Weather, climate, maturation, age, soil type, and fertilizer use all help to determine which terpenes will develop. Thanks to the wide variety of factors, over 200 terpenes have been noted to date.

Effects of Terpenes

Now that we know what terpenes are – what exactly do they do? Terpenes bind to receptors in the brain. By doing so, they work to either activate or inhibit the effects of other compounds found in the cannabis plant. They also reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, provide antiparasitic benefits, and are powerful anti-inflammatories.

Some terpenes balance the less-desirable psychoactive and physiological effects of cannabis and provide therapeutic qualities not found in products that only contain CBD. One such terpenoid (a terpene that has been dried and cured and therefore undergone chemical modification) is beta-caryophyllene, or BCP. Cannabis contains a large amount of BCP, as do some food plants, legal herbs, and spices such as black pepper. It exists in some leafy green vegetables as well and acts essentially like a non-psychoactive anti-inflammatory.

The FDA has recognized terpenes and terpenoids as safe, though more research is necessary before professionals can adequately predict how cannabis terpenes can be used to treat various health conditions. The research so far is promising: cannabinoid terpenoid interactions have been shown to be effective treatment for inflammation, addiction, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, bacterial and fungal infections, and general pain.

Approximately 200 terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant so far. Each plant strain is made up of a unique combination of these terpenes, which affects the different tastes, smells, and effects of the different strains. The fact that terpenes can produce such a wide variety of tastes and smells is impressive enough on its own, but what’s even more interesting is that doctors, patients, growers and sellers can test samples of a strain to verify which terpenes it contains. With this information, they can have more control over what kind of buzz or therapeutic effects they receive.

Popular Anti-Inflammatory Cannabis Terpenes

While there are too many terpenes to list here, let’s consider a few of the most popular:

  • Limonene. As you may have guessed from the name limonene has a citrusy smell. What you might not know is that they have potential anti-carcinogenic properties, among many other benefits.
  • Myrcene. This is the most prevalent terpene in cannabis varieties and is thought to increase the psychoactive effects of THC. It can also be used as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
  • Linalool. Linalool, a terpene with citrusy lavender smell, has tranquilizing effects and can help those with psychosis.
  • Caryophyllene. This terpene has a smell reminiscent of black pepper and is being studied for potential benefits in diabetes reduction and autoimmune disorders.
  • Alpha Bisabolol. This terpene is also found in chamomile, and also has a floral flavor and scent.
  • Borneol. Borneol smells similar to camphor and mint and can potentially help reduce fatigue and stress.
  • Delta-3 Carene. This terpene has a piney scent and has been found in 80 different strains in 162 cannabis plants.
  • Eucalyptol. Eucalyptol, predictably, smells like eucalyptus. Only small levels of this terpene are found in cannabis.
  • Nerolidol. This terpene smells like tree bark and has potential as a sleep aid.
  • Pinene. Pinene, like delta-3 carene, smells like pine. It is mostly found in citrus fruits and pine woods and has medical potential as an expectorant.

While this is far from all of the information available on terpenes, it’s a good place to start. If this piques your interest, join us for a CannaCon event in your area to learn more!


  1. Bruce Walker on May 19, 2020 at 7:05 pm

    I have a blood disorder (iron-deficit anemia) & it has affected my muscles, causing extreme weakness & pain. I’m on 300mg of ferrous Fumarate.

    I wanted CBD Oil specifically for *inflammation*, but I don’t think the stuff I have has enough caryophyllene, & it’s not working.

    Any suggestions?

    • Jade Green on September 13, 2020 at 1:11 pm

      It may not be exactly what you’re looking for, but check out Simpson Oil. There may be a cbd version or something related. Simpson oil is the best!

    • Chad on September 23, 2020 at 4:22 am

      Bruce, I have a couple autoimmune diseases and I find Myrcene, Alpha Bisabolo, and Caryophylle to be very beneficial. All of mine are inflammation stuff though. Also, I found hemp based CBD to be ineffective. The only CBD that has worked for me is the stuff from a dispensary. Cronuts #4, OG 18, Black D.O.G., and Gelato have been helpful strains for me.

      • Cliff on March 22, 2021 at 1:28 pm

        I have severe systemic rheumatoid arthritis and have found that to be true for me as well. The reason hemp CBD doesn’t really work too well is because it has no THC, and CBD needs a little THC (something like 2%) in order to effectively cross the blood/brain barrier.

    • Rick Vonhuben on November 9, 2020 at 11:30 am

      Sometimes, CBD is isolated and terpenes are added to make a product, so you might not get any BCP at all.
      The essential oil of black pepper has a lot of b-Caryophyllene in it.

      Remember, there are other good anti-inflammatory terpenes as well:
      Carvone, Cineol (aka Eucalyptol), Limonene, Myrcene, Linalool, a-Bisabolol, Borneol, d-3 Carene, Nerolidol, a-Pinene.

      There is also a Flavonoid, Cannaflavin A, that has huge anti-inflammatory properties, but i have not been able to find a source for that isolate. Certain strains of Cannabis contain Cannaflavin, although the one I have confirmed is a hemp strain BOAX.

    • Sarah Leighton on November 17, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      Have you ever tried consuming raw cannabis. Thca does not get you high and I have found great relief with juicing raw cannabis and using the juice in fruit and vegetable smoothies.

    • Thaddeus F Setla on February 1, 2021 at 11:34 am

      We make a pain and inflammation CBD oil with added B-Carophyllene, Many of my customers are looking for this. (

    • Jillian on March 18, 2021 at 8:38 am

      I’ve tried many good name brand cbd oils for inflammation and experience zero relief as well. Inflammation is best defeated when miles with both CBD and THC. In my case I consulted a RN at my dispensary and discovered terpenes play a powerful role in fighting Inflammation. I’m a firm believer in limonene. Its made a huge difference!

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