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The Hemp Terpene Alpha-Pinene & it’s Surprising Benefits

February 07, 2020

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Imagine you’re walking through a rich green forest as the scent of pine trees enters your awareness. You begin feeling free from pain, rejuvenated and more focused…

Now you’ve got a look and feel for what Alpha-Pinene can do for you.

As shared in our previous post, terpenes are kinda like food flavouring and occur naturally in all plants. They give many plants, including the cannabis plant, their flavour and aroma. Dr. Russo, a leading cannabinoid researcher, discovered that terpenes “could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.”

The terpene Alpha-Pinene (AP) is often found in many coniferous trees, including firs, cedar, and junipers. Not only is AP energizing, it can alleviate cognitive and memory issues by improving awareness and focus.

The scent of this terpene is that of an earthy and woody nature. You’ll also find AP in sage, rosemary, eucalyptus and frankincense. In traditional medicine, alpha-pinene has been used to relieve respiratory issues like congestion and serves as a pain reliever or antimicrobial when applied topically. In traditional Chinese medicine, pinene has been used in anticancer treatments. The pinene terpene can be found in cosmetics and many aromatherapy products today.

The Benefits of Alpha-Pinene: Cancer

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Like many other terpenes, AP has anticancer properties. AP has been studied for its assistance with pancreatic cancer, a very aggressive form of cancer that has a very low life expectancy. AP has shown the ability to protect the pancreas, which could lead to an improvement in patients with pancreatic cancer. AP also works as an anti-inflammatory in the organ for people suffering with acute pancreatitis.

Alpha-Pinene & Respiratory Health

AP is showing promise in respiratory infections and issues as it is a powerful bronchodilator. A bronchodilator is anything that causes the broadening of the bronchi, making it easier to breath. AP is easily absorbed and metabolised by the body, so relief is felt quickly. This terpene can relieve multiple forms of congestion, including that of the lungs and sinuses. In the respiratory system, pinene is thought to act as an antiviral that halts bronchial infections. When applied topically, alpha-pinene is being used in pain-relieving balms.

Alpha-Pinene & Wound Healing

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AP has been shown to assist with the healing of wounds and infections given it’s powerful antibacterial and antifungal activity. This can be especially helpful to those with skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Pinene also works as an active natural bug repellent, which can be very helpful for people living in countries with virus-spreading insects. AP can be added to cosmetics to assist with minimizing excess oil in the skin.

Pinene has also been shown to neutralise side effects from THC when taken with CBD, like anxiety and paranoia.

Alpha-Pinene & Infections

Both Alpha-Pinene and Cannabidiol (CBD) have been found to elicit natural antimicrobial effects, which is extremely helpful in fighting infections. This means that these compounds are successful in combating bacterial and fungal infections in a broad spectrum. For a specific example, these two compounds have been shown to combat severe infections like MRSA and other forms of staph.

Alpha-Pinene & the Brain

AP & CBD have also been shown to work together to improve focus and awareness. This combination can assist with short-term memory loss for users. In the brain, acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that increases learning ability and memory retention. Pinene and CBD are shown to inhibit acetylcholinesterase, meaning acetylcholine remains readily available in the brain.

As you can tell, there are many benefits to Alpha-Pinene on its own, such as pain relief, immunity, and focus, but when taken in full spectrum from a whole plant hemp oil, like ours, the benefits are magnified. This effect of synergy between plant compounds is also coined, "the entourage effect" which we've extensively written about over on our blog.