Last month we introduced terpenes, the volatile aromatic molecules that account for the unique flavors and aromas of different cannabis strains. Terpenes generally enhance the health benefits of cannabis while reducing intoxication that can cause anxiety. In addition, each terpene has unique medicinal benefits.
What is Pinene?
This month we’re introducing pinene, one of the easiest terpenes to recognize thanks to its distinctly piney, resinous aroma of pine needles and turpentine. Alpha-pinene is produced by pine trees and rosemary to repel insects, and is the most abundant terpene in the plant kingdom.
Benefits of Pinene
Strains with high concentrations of pinene are reported to be more stimulating, enhancing mental focus and alertness and making them ideal for daytime use. Research has found that alpha-pinene inhibits the breakdown of neurotransmitters in the brain, which in turn increases memory retention. Pinene has also been demonstrated to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect; research indicates that pinene has a significant ability to reduce pancreatic inflammation and tumor precursors, and shows promise as a possible treatment for osteoarthritis.
Another benefit of pinene is that it works as broad-spectrum anti-microbial. Research shows that both alpha- and beta-pinene are effective treatments for bacterial infections and show promise as a treatment for viruses such as bronchitis. Further research indicates that certain types of pinene are highly effective in killing fungus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus bacteria (MRSA). There are even indications that pinene may slow the growth of tumors – research has found that a pinene-enriched environment slows melanoma growth, may decrease the growth of cancerous cells in healthy neurons and reduces damage caused by carcinoma cells. Another study found that alpha-pinene inhibited ulcer formation, with greater concentrations having a greater gastro-protective effect.
Finding the Right Strain
To identify strains rich in pinene, use your nose or select sativa-dominant strains that are listed as having a piney aroma. Terpene levels vary from harvest to harvest, but some strains consistently produce high levels. According to the most recent tests of our concentrated terpene extracts (used in our Reserve and Craft Reserve O.PenVAPE cartridges), our strains with the highest combined pinene levels are Kali Mist & Jack Herer.