Neuropathy or nerve pain is generally a result of damaged nerves, resulting in numbness, weakness, and pain, often in the feet and hands. However, it can also affect other parts of your body. You should always seek medical attention before attempting to treat yourself.
That said, maybe all of the solutions you've been offered just haven't worked. Maybe your next best step is to try hemp or cannabis extracts. The reason for this is that hemp and cannabis contain what are known as terpenes.
Terpenes may indeed be beneficial for people suffering from neuropathy. Today, we'll talk about exactly what terpenes are, what some of their health benefits are, and how they might be effective at alleviating or treating nerve pain, inflammation, and more. We will also take a look at what some of the best terpenes for neuropathy are.
- Terpenes are substances found in plants that produce flavor and aroma. They are what give essential oils their smell.
- Terpenes are not only there for scent and flavor, but they also have a variety of beneficial and therapeutic effects.
- One of the beneficial effects that various terpenes may have is pain relief, specifically for nerve pain or neuropathy.
- Some of the most beneficial and commonly found terpenes in cannabis include limonene, caryophyllene, myrcene, linalool, terpinolene, and bisabolol.
What Are Terpenes in Cannabis?
Terpenes are a special type of compound that exist in plants and a select few animals. They are responsible for producing scents, aromas, and flavors, such as the floral scent that lavender has or the spicy taste that pepper has. Generally speaking, you can view terpenes as the essential oils contained in plants.
However, providing flavor and aroma aren't the only things that terpenes do, because they also help protect plants from predators. There are plenty of plants out there that produce terpenes, but cannabis is extremely rich in them, which is why it has such a strong odor.
In the cannabis plant, most of the terpenes are found in the trichomes of female plants. Trichomes are loaded to the brim with these terpenes, which is why potent strains of cannabis may have a variety of beneficial effects. As you're about to find out, not only do terpenes produce flavor and aroma, but they may also have a variety of therapeutic benefits for the body and mind.
What Are the Health Benefits of Terpenes?
Terpenes may, indeed, be able to help treat neuropathy and nerve pain, besides general pain and inflammation. However, there are dozens of terpenes out there, and they'll have slightly different effects.
Some terpenes have therapeutic effects for the mind, while others have medical benefits for the body. Let's quickly take a look at some of the biggest benefits that terpenes contained in cannabis may have for you. Keep in mind that the following list is in no way comprehensive.
Some terpenes have antibacterial and antifungal properties such as One of the terpenes that may have antibacterial properties is limonene. This terpene, and various others, may be able to effectively kill both bacteria and fungus, therefore potentially preventing bacterial and fungal infections from taking hold in your body.
Linalool, limonene, myrcene, and others are all thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. They may be able to help reduce the amount of signaling chemicals that your immune system cells produce. Reducing these signaling chemicals should in theory also reduce inflammation. These terpenes may also be able to help treat various forms of acute inflammation.
Although more research is required on this front, it may be the case that some terpenes are effective in killing or suppressing various types of viruses.
Some terpenes may also have various interactions with the dopamine, adrenaline, and serotonin receptors in your brain. These are all hormones or brain chemicals that regulate mood, make you feel happy, and help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Terpenes may also work together with the various cannabinoids contained in cannabis to exacerbate this effect.
Some terpenes may also act as a sleep aid, which may be the case because some may act as sedatives, whereas others may lead to a calmer state of mind.
It is also believed that some terpenes may be able to help reduce stress. When you are stressed out, your body produces a hormone known as cortisol, which serves to keep you in a very alert state. In other words, this hormone actually keeps you in a stressful state.
However, some terpenes may be able to prevent the production or overproduction of cortisol, therefore reducing your stress level and allowing you to return to a normal state of mind more quickly.
There are also some terpenes that may be able to help stimulate your mind and body. Some may provide you with a little bit of energy and creativity, whereas others may actually lead to sexual arousal.
Are Terpenes Effective in Treating Neuropathy?
Although more research is required on this front, there are some indications that terpenes may be effective at treating neuropathy. Now, terpenes are very unlikely to be able to help revert nerve damage or heal your nerves, but they can most likely reduce the amount of pain you feel from your neuropathy.
How do Terpenes Alleviate Nerve Pain?
Once again, more research is required on this front. However, there are some indications that the various terpenes found in cannabis may be able to help reduce chronic pain, inflammation, and neuropathy symptoms.
The vast majority of terpenes interact with your endocannabinoid system, specifically the CB1 and CB2 endocannabinoid receptors. Therefore, terpenes may mimic the way that both THC and CBD work when they interact with your body's CB1 and CB2 receptors.
These terpenes, just like both CBD and THC, may have both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which when combined, help to relieve nerve pain. Now, to be clear, the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that these terpenes have don't just help to relieve nerve pain, but rather all types of pain and inflammation in general.
Nerve pain or symptoms of neuropathy just happen to be one of the types of pain that terpenes may be able to reduce. Let's move on and figure out how exactly terpenes may be able to help reduce inflammation and pain.
What We Know About Terpenes for Pain and Inflammation
What we know about terpenes for inflammation and pain is that terpenes may be able to help reduce inflammation caused by a variety of ailments. Terpenes have the potential to decrease the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the body.
This is a specific substance that your body releases in response to various stress factors, which then leads to inflammation. Cytokines are generally produced in response to invading pathogens. Their purpose is recruiting, stimulating, and proliferating immune cells that will combat these pathogens. In the simplest terms, terpenes may be able to help reduce the amount of these cytokines in your body, therefore also reducing inflammation.
If you have reduced inflammation, you should also have reduced pain, because inflammation naturally leads to pain. However, there is more to it than that because terpenes may also act as analgesic agents. In simplest terms, this means that they may act as painkillers. They have the potential to block pain signals from getting from your nerves to your brain, which appears to be rather perfect for people suffering from neuropathy.
Although analgesic agents may technically not take the pain away, they do reduce your perception of it. In other words, it's not there if you can't feel it. Also interesting to note is the entourage effect, or the effect that various cannabinoids and terpenes have when they are combined. It may be the case that when terpenes are combined with cannabinoids, the beneficial effects, such as pain and inflammation relief, are greatly increased.
Best Terpenes for Neuropathy
Now that you have the basic facts about terpenes and neuropathy, let's take a quick look at some of the best terpenes for neuropathy out there.
Limonene is a terpene that is most often found in citrus fruits, mainly in their peels. As you can probably tell, it has a very citrusy and lemon-like flavor. It may also have a slightly bitter flavor. This is a terpene that has been studied quite extensively, and it is shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
It may also have basic painkilling properties. It may also be able to help combat depression, anxiety, and stress. Also, have a variety of other potential benefits. Limonene can be found in various strains, including Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, Banana OG, Marionberry, OG Glue, Animal Cookies, and more.
We then have caryophyllene, which has a very peppery and spicy scent, with undertones of cinnamon. It can be found in various plants including black pepper, hops, cloves, and rosemary. It may also be found in various cannabis strains, including Gelato, GSC, Bubba Kush, Candyland, Sour Diesel, and others.
There are studies that indicate that caryophyllene may be able to help reduce pain, although these studies were performed on mice. This terpene may also have other benefits, including being a neuroprotective agent, a gastroprotective agent, an anti-inflammatory, and an antioxidant, among others. It may also be an antimicrobial agent. There are studies that show that it has real potential in terms of neurodegenerative diseases and neuropathic pain.
Myrcene is yet another terpene often found in cannabis plants. It has an earthy, musky, peppery, spicy, and woody aroma. This is one of the most commonly found terpenes in all cannabis plants, but it can also be found in hops, eucalyptus, mangoes, lemongrass, and more.
Cannabis strains that contain this terpene are often Indica-dominant, although this is not a 100% rule of thumb. Some of the strains that contain myrcene include Grape Ape, OG Kush, Ace of Spades, Jack Herer, Blue Dream, Grandaddy Purple, Harlequin, and others. There are indications that this particular terpene can produce strong anti-anxiety effects, and may even cause sedation, especially when taken in large quantities.
There are also strong indications that this terpene is an analgesic, which would explain why it may be able to help reduce nerve pain. It is also shown that the myrcene terpene works best when combined with THC as far as pain-relieving properties are concerned.
We then have pinene, which is one of the most commonly found terpenes in the world. It can be found in many different plants including mint, rosemary, pine needles, saffron, orange peels, and more.
As you can probably tell by the name of it, its scent most closely resembles pine needles, although it may also sometimes smell a little bit like fuel. Some cannabis strains that are high in pinene include Blue Dream, Big Smooth, Cannatonic, AC/DC, Chemdawg, Super Lemon Haze, Sour Diesel, and others.
Research indicates that pinene does have a variety of potential benefits. It could be an analgesic, antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and an antioxidant. There are also very strong indications that this terpene is effective at treating neuropathic pain and migraines.
We then have linalool, which as a terpene is very floral, woody, citrusy, and light. It's something that can be found in lavender, citrus fruits, mint, rosewood, and more. Some cannabis strains that contain linalool include OG Shark, Fire OG, Diamond Girl, LA Confidential, Special Kush, Trainwreck, and more.
As far as usage goes, linalool is one of the most commonly used ones. It is often added to foods, cleaners, cosmetics, perfumes, and more. Linalool is believed to have a variety of potential benefits, mainly being an anti-anxiety agent and an anti-inflammatory. It may also act as an antioxidant. There are also studies that indicate that this terpene is able to block pain and reduce nerve pain.
This is a terpene that features a herbal, woody, piney, and citrusy taste. This terpene can be found in tea trees, nutmeg, sage, rosemary, lilac, and in many other places. Some cannabis strains that contain terpinolene include Strawberry Kush, Dutch Treat, Golden Goat, Ghost Train Haze, Sensi Amnesia, Cobalt Haze, Orange Cookies, and many others.
One of the main benefits of this terpene is that it has both sedative and relaxing properties, so it can help relieve stress and help you get a good night's sleep. However, it is also thought to have both pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, which may very well help reduce nerve pain caused by neuropathy.
Here we have a terpene that has a very floral scent, and it can be found mainly in chamomile and cannabis. It tends to have a herbal, nutty, fruity, sweet, and floral aroma. Some of the strains that contain bisabolol include Rockstar and Pink Kush.
There are some studies that indicate that this terpene may be able to help relieve pain, offer you neuroprotective properties, act as an anti-inflammatory, and also have antimicrobial and cardiovascular benefits.
What About CBD and THC for Neuropathy?
The good thing about cannabis is that both CBD and THC also have a wide variety of potential benefits. Although they may function somewhat differently, both THC and CBD are thought to act as anti-inflammatories and analgesic agents. They interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body to help reduce proinflammatory cytokines while also blocking pain signals from getting to your brain.
What is important to note here is that terpenes and cannabinoids work perfectly fine on their own to help reduce pain and inflammation. However, remember the entourage effect, which is when various cannabinoids and terpenes work together to increase the beneficial properties of the individual substances.
Therefore, if you expect to reap the biggest pain relief benefits of all, combining THC, CBD, and various terpenes as discussed above is recommended. One of these on its own is perfectly fine, but multiples together are much better.
Although there is of course still more research required on this front, the preliminary findings are quite positive and promising. The bottom line here is that terpenes may indeed be able to help relieve a variety of pains including neuropathic pain. Moreover, when combined with THC and CBD, the beneficial properties of terpenes appear to be greatly increased. That entourage effect is very real!
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