Terpenes Linked to Better Patient Outcomes.

Liz Filmer
27 Feb 2023

Terpenes are essential for the medicinal effects of cannabis, according to new research that links specific compounds to better patient outcomes. 

A new study by the University of New Mexico has discovered that cannabis flower that contains more heightened levels of distinct terpenes is associated with increased symptom alleviation among patients. 

Terpenes are naturally occurring compounds not exclusive to cannabis but found in many plants. They are responsible for the taste, aroma and potentially differing effects of different cannabis strains.

Researchers have used these findings to create the world's first indexing system to classify cannabis variants beyond their strain names.

Data collected via the Releaf App between 2015-2021 on 633 flower products were used for researchers to assess trends between the cannabinoid and terpene content and their assumed effects on the user.

According to the study, the five most frequently consumed terpenes revealed 'substantial differences in symptom treatment efficacy' for depression, chronic pain and anxiety.

The results also showed that symptom relief was more substantial after patients had ingested variants with 'slightly more elevated levels of the terpenes myrcene and terpinolene'.

Myrcene is documented to have multiple medicinal properties, including as an antioxidant, anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic. In addition, Terpinolene, which can be found in nutmeg, apples and cumin, is considered a potent antioxidant and has potential sedative properties.

Meanwhile, strains containing appreciable quantities of CBD delivered 'less symptom relief' than those without traces of it. These findings were consistent with prior research that showed that cannabis flower naturally high in CBD might act as an inhibitor of optimal therapy for particular health conditions.

Researchers have employed these findings to construct a cannabis flower indexing system capable of differentiating unique plant variants without strain names.

The authors state that the system will allow doctors, patients, scientists and retailers to categorise products more efficiently based on 'measurable plant traits beyond THC and CBD. Instead, they would be classified in ways that systematically correlate to differing classes of symptom relief and side effect reporting. 
"Creating this comprehensive, common-sense, and user-friendly indexing system will help scientists, health providers, and most importantly, patients to identify better and distinguish cannabis plant strains and their unique and desired effects" -Study Author.

Strain names have predominantly distinguished cannabis products, but these new classifications could be used by retailers, so consumers can either seek out variants that work for them or avoid those that don't.

"Due to the modernisation and hybridisation of cannabis, strain names are largely irrelevant. This publication provides a proof-of-concept of a more accurate and legitimate way to classify cannabis flower and better inform consumers." -Tyler Dautrich, Releaf App

Liz Filmer