Medical marijuana is a booming industry, and the use value of cannabis just continues to expand as we learn more about this heavily prohibited, but clearly medicinal, plant. While CBD (cannabidiol) has been stealing the show, with its ability to help treat seizures, there is a new, non-psychoactive, medicinal plant compound in town: Terpenes. Terpenes are another class of beneficial compounds, found in an array of strong-smelling plants. Terpenes can be found in citrus fruits, rosemary, frankincense, and of course, cannabis. Plants actually use the pungent odors produced by terpenes to ward off pathogens and predators.
It is no wonder, then, that terpenes offer a number of health benefits to the humans who consume them.
Terpenes in cannabis fight cancer
There are over 200 different terpenes found in the cannabis plant. Most healing plants, like lemon, only have one or two terpenes to offer. This alone is a strong indication of the healing power found within cannabis, but as Natural Health 365 explains, terpenes also play a role in the plant’s “entourage effect.”
Cannabis contains a bevy of compounds and substances, including cannabinoids like CBD and THC, esters, lactones, ketones, and fatty acids. These compounds, along with terpenes, interact with each other. The synergy of cannabis compounds is credited with making the whole plant a much more potent medicine than any of Big Pharma’s concoctions.
As Natural Health 365 reports:
These interactions produce what is now known as the “Entourage Effect” of Cannabis Therapy. The term was first coined in the late 1990s by Israeli scientists S. Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and refers to how terpenes and cannabinoids in cannabis combine and interact for the treatment of specific disease conditions.
Indeed, terpenes found in cannabis have much to offer in terms of health benefits. Terpenes like limonene and pinene have both been found to have powerful anti-cancer effects. Limonene has been shown to actually reduce tumor size, and can reduce the risk of some cancers by up to 50 percent. At least 15 different terpenes found in the cannabis plant have been credited with an array of benefits, including reducing inflammation and decreasing stress — in addition to fighting cancer.
Cannabis fights cancer in many ways
Cannabis has been found to help prevent and even treat cancer through a number of avenues. Current research has shown that the compounds in cannabis can actually help jump-start the immune system, too. A German research team, led by Professor Burkhard Hinz, recently concluded that cannabis compounds can fight cancer. The team, from Rostock University Medical Centre in Germany, analyzed over 100 different studies on cannabis, and ultimately concluded that an assortment of compounds found in the plant contribute to its anticancer activity.
“In this context accumulating data from preclinical models suggest that cannabinoids elicit anti-cancer effects on several levels of cancer progression,” Hinz commented.
In addition to a growing body of clinical research, there are many anecdotal accounts of cannabis curing cancer when conventional medicine failed.
Fifty-two-year-old Joy Smith, of the United Kingdom, recently came forward and revealed she had cured her “terminal” cancer with cannabis oil. Smith was given six weeks to live after being diagnosed with stomach and bowel cancer. Smith tried cannabis oil as a last resort, after chemotherapy failed her. Though skeptical at first, Smith says she is certain it saved her life.
“Cannabis oil should be legalised for medical purposes – people are dying and the chemotherapy isn’t curing them,” she contended.