Best Terpenes For Pain & Inflammation
Folks have been harnessing the healing powers of terpenes far before your favorite celebrity told you to drop essential oil in your bath water. If you’re familiar with the list of terpenes in cannabis, you may know that these superpowered compounds are most commonly found in a variety of plants. It is also important to understand the differences between CDT vs BDT.
Responsible for particular smells and aromas, botanical terpenes are tasked with protecting plants from pathogens, predators, and infection. That’s right, odds are that the citrus smell you love originated as a fruit’s natural defense mechanism!
Continually a subject of medical investigation, an array of studies confirm terpenes can offer a host of healing benefits to humans, too. We’ve selected our top 10 best terpenes for pain and inflammation to help you extract the soothing properties of these ancient healers.
Can Terpenes Help With Pain?
Terpenes can interact directly with your body’s pain response. Pain is regulated by the endocannabinoid system (ECS), your body’s central control unit for processing physical and emotional distress. When this system is put off balance, receptors all over the body can overload the brain with alert messages.
By binding to these ECS receptors, terpenes can essentially recalibrate an overloaded system, soothing and alleviating the nervous system’s response and our experience of pain.
The Nature Public Health Emergency Collective indicates that terpenes can perform the following functions in the body:1
- Increase dopamine – This chemical establishes reward pathways in the brain, promoting happiness and relaxation.
- Balance serotonin – Serotonin carries messages between your nerve cells and your brain. This chemical helps regulate emotions, such as happiness, optimism, and satisfaction. Serotonin can help send oxygen to wounded areas of the body to help speed up healing.
- Enhance norepinephrine – Often used in antidepressants, this hormone can induce euphoric feelings and other positive sensations associated with restful sleep.2
4 Terpenes That Are Used As Pain Relievers
A behavioral study by the University of Arizona Health Science Research lab confirmed that trace amounts of four terpenes found in the cannabis plant can lower pain sensitivity.
Similar to THC in cannabis, these terpenes bind to receptors that regulate our physiological processes.3
Some of the best terpenes for nerve pain work to target both the physical symptoms that cause pain and our physiological pain responses. These include:
- Borneol – This earthy aromatic terpene, often collected by tapping a particular teak tree, is also found in thyme and cinnamon. A key ingredient in traditional Chinese herbal formulas, the compound can aid pain management and help with medicine absorption.4
- Beta-Pinene – Identified by an ever-green forest smell, this common terpene can be extracted from coniferous trees and is often found in salves that produce cooling sensations. Pinene has properties that support cell structure and health. Although further research is needed, a 2019 clinical trial suggests pinene can be pivotal for pain management in cancer patients.5
- Alpha-humulene – This terpene is responsible for the smell of Indica cannabis strains. Alpha-humulene is connected to treatments for a host of ills including blemishes, viral infections, central nervous system disorders, and physical discomfort.6
- Geraniol – Geraniol is a sweet-smelling compound found in products like rose oil. Geraniol can promote pain relief by combating oxidative stress, an imbalance of oxygen in cells and tissues that can impair healing functions and send constant distress signals.
4 Terpenes That Can Be Used For Inflammation
Experts refer to inflammation, particularly chronic inflammation, as nature’s “silent killer.” 7Whether you're suffering from bad posture practices or a degenerative disease, inflammatory pain can be a signal your body is attempting to heal itself by pushing excess blood into damaged tissue.
Relief from the swelling and discomfort caused by inflammatory pain has been commonly linked to the following terpenes:
- Beta-caryophyllene (BCP) - This terpene is present in leafy green plants and black pepper products. A 2020 study linked BCP to a reduction in inflammation triggers in the body.8 BCP is often used to treat various nervous system disorders and neurological diseases.
- Limonene – Found in citrus paints like limes, oranges, and lemons, as well as rosemary and peppermint, limonene can help alleviate physiological stress, which is a key contributor to chronic inflammation. This common terpene is also used to treat gastrointestinal issues which often stem from inflammation.
- Myrcene – Myrcene is found in mangos, menthol, and bay leaves. This terpene is also a major component of the cannabis plant. Along with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory processes, it may help increase membrane permeability for healing.9
- Alpha Bisabolol – Making up about 50% of chamomile plants, alpha bisabolol has a honey scent. Often used in cosmetics, this terpene’s soothing properties are also antibacterial. A 2021 study found that this terpene may inhibit pain pathways related to inflammation in animals.10
2 Terpenes That Are Best Used for Muscle Spasms
Muscle spasms are involuntary bodily contractions that can inhibit your daily life and limit your ability to relax. Spasms are thought to originate in areas of the brain that involve cannabinoid receptors. By binding to receptors, terpenes can relieve tension and promote relaxation.
Two terpenes are most commonly cited for their anticonvulsant benefits:
- Caryophyllene – This spicy terpene is found in black pepper and is sometimes derived from cotton. The compound works to quell bodily distress like inflammation, often the root of muscle spasms, and it encourages the brain to send relaxation signals throughout the body.
- Linalool – Linalool offers the floral scent identified in lavender and oregano. This terpene is used to treat anxiety and has traditionally been used as a sedative due to its therapeutic effect. A 2017 study on seizure patients found linalool inhibited receptors that trigger movement.11
Peels Hits Pause on Pain
Determining the best terpenes for pain and inflammation can be a process of trial and error. That’s why Peel’s has prioritized cutting-edge science-backed research to develop a formula that harnesses the tried and true healing powers of nature.
Made with the same naturally occurring molecular structure of terpenes, our CBD Gummies and other CBD products distill the medicinal benefits of the orange peel into a limonene-full, sweet aromatic citrus oil. Spread a few drops on your shoulders, add it to a steaming tea cup, or sink into its familiar scent to pursue full-body relief.
Make Peels CBD your top pick for impactful, everyday healing.
- Nature Public Health Emergency Collective. Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7120914/
- Endocrine Society. Adrenal Hormones. https://www.endocrine.org/patient-engagement/endocrine-library/hormones-and-endocrine
- The University of Arizona Health Sciences. Study Shows Cannabis Terpenes Provide Pain Relief, Contribute to Entourage Effect. https://healthsciences.arizona.edu/newsroom/news-releases/2021
- PubChem. Borneol. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/borneol
- Biomolecules. Therapeutic Potential of a and B Pinene: A Miracle Gift of Nature. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6920849/
- PubChem. Humulene. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Humulene
- American Association for the Advancement of Science. ‘Silent Killer’ May Be Disease of the Affluent. https://www.science.org/content/article/silent-killer-may-be-disease-affluent
- Nutrients. Protective Effects of Caryophyllene (BCP in Chronic Inflammation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7692661/
- Frontiers. Myrcene– What Are The Potential Health Benefits of This Flavoring and Aroma Agent. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2021.699666/full
- Molecular Brain. The terpenes camphene and alpha-bisabolol inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain via Cav. 3.2 T-type calcium channels.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8591808/
- Science Direct. Linalool - an overview.https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/linalool