It’s a sad fact, but it’s true: anxiety is among the most common mood disorders, and one of the most common mental health problems in the world today.
About a third of adults are expected to face a serious case of anxiety disorder at some point in their lives according to current studies. That’s right, one in three.
With that in mind, holistic anxiety treatments like the power of aromatherapy for anxiety, mindfulness and breath work are becoming more and more of a necessity. Unfortunately, in many places, institutional resources are still lagging far behind on this matter, and even the current state of development of anxiety medication doesn’t bring relief to everyone.
This is why medical use of cannabis has gone up dramatically over the past couple of decades, and even more so over the past five years.
Cannabis offers boundless potential in the treatment of anxiety and other, related conditions that have yet to be fully tapped.
While we haven’t fully mapped all the mechanics of how and why exactly cannabis does what it does to the human mind and body, we have a pretty good idea about the key elements involved in the process.
This is where terpenes come in. While cannabinoids are the main agents responsible for the active effects of cannabis, it’s terpenes that bring everything together.
Many recreational users are familiar with terpenes because they dictate the taste and smell of each cannabis strain to a large degree. But in actuality, there is far more to it than that.
A thorough understanding of terpenes is a key step in unlocking the potential of medical cannabis for anxiety.
How do Terpenes Work?
In simple terms, you might already have a fair understanding of what terpenes are. If you have been a cannabis user for some time, you might even recognize some names of different terpenes and their corresponding features in terms of taste or smell.
But just how do terpenes work, and why are they so effective? This is a question that unfortunately is still often countered with a lot of misinformation on the internet today.
At their core, terpenes are defined as natural molecular compounds based on certain chemical bonds that are found in almost all plant life and within the cells of most animals.
For example, alpha-pinene is what makes up most of the resin of the pine tree, and it is that terpene that gives rise to the unique physical properties of turpentine.
Plants make use of terpenes to attract pollinators and ward off their natural predators, mostly through scent.
The cannabis plant has its own set of terpenes. Many of these are also present in thousands of other species of plants and might be familiar to you, even if you’re not entirely aware of their names or functions.
There are also lab-grown synthetic terpenes. These are often used as food additives, mostly to improve taste.
All in all, cannabis features around a hundred or so distinct types of terpenes, though most of them are only found in very small concentrations within most strains.
Still, even if they only make up a fraction of the cannabis plant’s content by weight, terpenes have a very heavy influence on its effects. This is because of something called the entourage effect.
Ever heard of something being more than the sum of its parts? The entourage effect, as applied to cannabis according to current research, is just that. It describes how many of marijuana’s components act far more significantly within the plant than they would in a vacuum.
Hence, the interactions between the different ingredients of cannabis, including terpenes, are what makes them so important, much more so than their chemical features on paper.
Since terpenes interact very closely with cannabinoids – the main active ingredients responsible for cannabis’ effects – they have a huge effect not just on taste and smell, but also many other factors. This is the key to understanding their potential for medical usage.
How do Terpenes Affect the Body?
As for the extent of that potential, it goes as far as defining the most basic effects that cannabis has on the human mind and body. Terpenes themselves are not psychoactive, but thanks to the aforementioned entourage effect, they do influence the way that cannabinoids make you feel.
This has medical implications, as certain terpenes have been identified with better or worse outcomes in regards to certain conditions. For example, some terpenes like linalool have been found to make cannabis more effective for pain relief.
In many cases, we don’t entirely understand scientifically how this occurs. As mentioned above, there are hundreds of cannabis terpenes, and many more hundreds of cannabinoids! Mapping all of their complex interactions is a mammoth task that the current state of research has not yet achieved.
However, through careful study and analysis, we have found out some things about how terpenes affect the body.
Many terpenes bind to strong cannabinoids such as THC or sometimes CBD. When those cannabinoids contact the ECS (endocannabinoid system) in the brain, we get the benefits of both the cannabinoids’ effects as well as those of the terpenes.
Even in purely recreational use, this can drastically affect your cannabis experience. Take cannabis tinctures, for example, many of these are produced using old-fashioned and harsh dilution processes, which end up eliminating the vast majority of the original plant’s terpenes.
What this means is that your experience with the tincture in terms of taste, smell, and the nature and duration of its effects might actually be pretty far removed from those of the plant it was based on!
From the potency of the effects to the duration of the high, the coming-on period, and many other details, terpenes can make a huge difference.
This is why Botany Farms has dedicated itself to using only full-spectrum live resin techniques for our extracts and concentrates. A full-spectrum product contains all (or close to all) of the original flower’s terpenes and cannabinoids – meaning you get a more authentic experience with more health benefits and a more potent, vibrant high!
If that sounds like something you’d like to try, take a look at our Live Resin Delta-8 THC Tincture. Beginner-friendly yet powerful, it makes use of relaxing, medicinally potent cannabinoids such as CBD and Delta-8 THC as well as a full dose of health-promoting terpenes.
Why not try adding a Botany Farms tincture to your daily routine?
Another market that has been sorely underserved by the potential of full-spectrum concentrates is that of edibles. Our Delta-9 THC Gummies are not just among the most potent you can buy anywhere – they’re also incredibly yummy and taste genuine and sweet!
A big contributor to that fact is their use of our proprietary cold-press live resin process, which results in unimaginably higher terpene counts compared to other edibles. Be warned, though: along with those higher terpene concentrations come even higher cannabinoid counts, too!
These gummies are mainly intended for advanced users and those with a lower THC tolerance should start with half-doses or less to test their limits.
We’ve got a wide selection of Botany Farms gummies to try.
Of course, even with top-flight processes in extraction and production, the absolute best choice for maximizing your terpene intake will always be fresh cannabis flowers.
For those struggling with anxiety, we can only recommend Delta-8 Zombie Kush. Based on the incredibly powerful original, this new variation has what it takes to become an even bigger favorite among the global crowd of medicinal cannabis users.
Just as potent, but without the side effects of the high Delta-9, this Zombie Kush is even more effective at reducing pain and inflammation while sedating the body and lifting your mood. Excellent for depression as well as anxiety symptoms, you won’t have to worry about a harsh crash once the effects wear off – Delta-8 is that much gentler on the mind.
Why not try savoring one of our balanced Hybrid Delta 8 THC flower?
How to Use Terpenes
Now it should be clear that terpenes offer tremendous potential and represent a large portion of what makes cannabis such an ideal proposition for anxiety treatment. But just how do you make use of them to maximize their effectiveness for your particular needs?
Any strain and variety of cannabis have their own combination of terpenes. To really make use of their potential, do your own research when looking for new strains to verify that their terpene combinations are suitable for your treatment strategy.
Remember: terpenes are everywhere! While the entourage effect means that the same terpene present in different plant species will not necessarily lead to the same effects, it often can.
Research which other foods and organic supplements contain the terpene that you’re looking for besides cannabis, and integrate those into your diet for even more benefits! Many terpenes are also sold separately as supplemental additives – find them anywhere essential oils and similar plant extracts are sold.
Best Terpenes for Depression and Anxiety
If you or a loved one have been suffering from chronic anxiety for an extended period of time, you are probably aware that the condition is often correlated to and cross-diagnosed with depression.
Indeed, many people suffering from anxiety also have had (or will have at some point in their lives) experience with depression and vice versa. This is why treatment options for both disorders, though still different, often overlap.
As you will see below, many, though not all, of the terpenes most useful for anxiety, also have some viability when used to treat depression. We will go into this in further detail down below.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most important cannabis terpenes essential for treating anxiety!
What Terpenes are Best for Anxiety?
Nearly any cannabis strain has an effect on anxiety – most positive, some surprisingly negative. To increase your chance of a productive treatment experience, it is worth assessing the qualities and performance of the terpenes of each cannabis strain you’re considering.
That way, you can make a much more informed decision about what’s right for you and your body. The following is only a short list of the most notable, well-studied, and widespread terpenes that have proven to be effective in treating anxiety.
More may and almost certainly do exist, but findings on their properties and abilities are still mostly inconclusive.
Among the most popular terpenes found in therapeutic cannabis strains, linalool has plenty of potential applications.
It produces a fresh, fruity scent and is used in perfumes and many beauty products. In nature, it is found in plenty of fruits as well as some flowers like lavender.
The benefits of linalool have been linked to pain suppression, appetite management, and improvements in sleep quality among others. This has led to experimental use of this terpene in treating insomnia as well as a variety of addiction and mood disorders.
In the context of anxiety, linalool works by helping to block glutamate receptors. Glutamate is linked to seizures, fits, and heightened levels of alertness and excitability.
In many cases, lowering glutamate levels can significantly alleviate anxiety symptoms when used properly.
Apart from cannabis strains rich in linalool, another excellent source of this terpene is lavender oil! This can be used topically or added in drops to food or beverages.
Limonene is a terpene primarily found in citrus fruits. It is responsible for the sour taste in lemons and has been linked to healthier skin, higher serotonin levels, as well as calmer, more regulated moods.
This makes it an excellent choice for treating not just anxiety, but any variety of mood disorders.
Due to the entourage effect, limonene has the ability to counterbalance the anxiety-promoting side effects of many high-THC strains of cannabis.
This makes it especially useful for those who require an organic anxiety treatment that also benefits from the many positive side effects of THC, for example in the realm of pain relief.
A somewhat uncommon terpene not found in large amounts in many cannabis strains, alpha-pinene is most commonly derived from the resin of the pine tree.
It gives the tree part of its distinctive, fresh smell, and is responsible for antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and other benefits in the human body.
In research, alpha-pinene has shown itself effective in reducing anxiety-related symptoms by slowing down the metabolism and improving cardiovascular and mental functioning, among other effects.
Among the more common cannabis terpenes, myrcene is known for its dark, earthy scent. It is capable of producing sharply sour, sometimes spicy flavors that can often combine into so-called “gassy” or fuel-like tastes.
Myrcene gets its name from Myrcia, a kind of flower and a potent source of this terpene.
In the context of treating anxiety, myrcene shows a lot of potential principally because it acts like a sedative, easing pain, inflammation, and flare-ups of many kinds throughout the body.
Found in rosemary and hops besides its prominent presence in the cannabis flower, beta-caryophyllene is known as one of the component terpenes of black pepper.
As such, it contributes to a sharp, pungent, and often savory flavor and aroma.
Like limonene, beta-caryophyllene is an excellent choice for treating anxiety because it elevates serotonin levels – in fact, it does so using the same chemical process that many antidepressant drugs are based on.
The smell of citrus in the air might not be the most pleasant thing in the world to everyone, but it does seem to work on our brains.
Specifically, exposure to limonene aromas seems to lessen the severity of depressive symptoms – in some people, the effect is even greater than what can be accomplished by prescription drugs.
Because of its mood-stabilizing effects, alpha-pinene is not only effective against anxiety, but also depression, along with mood disorders such as BPD.
While there doesn’t exist as much exhaustive research on the clinical benefits of linalool in this particular application, there is reason to believe that this terpene can increase the effectiveness of certain antidepressant drugs when used in conjunction with them.
From this, it can be inferred that linalool might have some general antidepressant effects of its own – though this remains conjecture and has not been proven so far.