6 Best Terpenes for Pain and Inflammation Relief

6 Best Terpenes for Pain and Inflammation Relief

You can easily fall behind on the latest developments in our understanding of cannabinoids, terpenes, strains, etc., if you don’t give yourself frequent opportunities to learn about these topics.

With this terpene profile primer under your belt, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions the next time you visit the dispensary. We’ll discuss how particular terpenes can aid in pain treatment, which is a typical reason individuals seek out medical cannabis.

Terpenes Have Pain-Relieving Qualities

Exactly what are these terpenes, then? For example, some of the most prevalent terpenes can be smelled in oranges and pine needles. Terpenes are chemical components used by numerous plants to make essential oils, including thyme, cannabis, Spanish sage, and citrus fruits. A plant’s terpenes are not only what give out its distinctive aroma, but they also have therapeutic value.

In addition to essential oils, terpenes can be found in lotions and creams, cleaning products, and culinary additives. Terpenes in cannabis have “anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, anticonvulsive, depressive, anxiolytic, anticancer, antitumor, neuroprotective, anti-mutagenic, anti-allergic, antibiotic, and anti-diabetic characteristics.”

Some medical conditions may respond favorably to the use of a cannabis strain with a particular terpene profile. Careful consideration of dose, terpene profile, and CBD: THC ratio is necessary when selecting songs for treating various conditions. Let’s now investigate some of the market’s most effective analgesic terpenes (painkillers).

Top Six Pain-Relieving Terpenes

Like cannabinoids, terpenes are thought to initiate therapeutic effects by binding to specific cellular protein receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a physiological system present in humans and other animals that regulates hormones involved in emotions, pain, hunger, sleep, stress, and more.

In a 2008 study, terpene caryophyllene was found to be the first chemical other than cannabinoids to activate cannabinoid receptors directly. More research is needed to determine if or not additional terpenes also exert their effects by activating other cell receptors within the ECS.

Some terpenes may help alleviate pain, and a lot of data supports this claim. Here, we’ll take a closer look at myrcene, pinene, linalool, limonene, caryophyllene, and humulene, all of which are terpenes.

  • Myrcene

Cannabis sativa has high levels of terpene beta-myrcene, sometimes known as myrcene. This terpene typically has a spicy, peppery, musky, woodsy, or earthy aroma. Myrcene is the most common terpene in cannabis, although it can also be found in mangoes, lemongrass, eucalyptus, hops, and many other plants and foods.

Even though indica strains predominate, myrcene-rich cultivars might have Sativa characteristics. Some examples of myrcene-rich cultivars include the following:

OG Kush
Blue Dream
Grape Ape
Granddaddy Purple

More than 40 percent of cannabis strains, according to 2002 research, had myrcene as their predominant terpene. Multiple studies have found promising results, including its potential to relax muscles, lessen pain, and calm nerves.

Studies have indicated that the best results are achieved when myrcene, a terpene with analgesic qualities, is used in conjunction with THC. These results lend credence to the entourage effect, which postulates that a combination of medicinally active compounds is superior to those compounds taken separately.

  • Pinene

Alpha-pinene is the most widely distributed terpene in nature. It is found in various plants, including pine needles, rosemary, mint, saffron, and orange peels. Regarding cannabinoids, pinene is more common in:

Big Smooth
Blue Dream
Grape Ape

Contrary to popular belief, myrcene is not always the most abundant terpene in a strain; instead, isoprene is frequently the second most abundant terpene. In terms of terpene profiles, Big Smooth is unique due to its preponderance of pinene.

According to a 2019 literature review, alpha-pinene exhibits “…antitumor, antibacterial, antimalarial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-Leishmania (i.e., anti-parasitic), and analgesic activities.”

  • Linalool

Linalool is a flowery terpene that can smell either slightly lemony or woodsy. Natural ingredients include mint, citrus, rosewood, mushrooms, and lavender. This terpene is commonly found in the following cannabis strains:

  • Amnesia Haze
  • Special Kush
  • Lavender
  • LA Confidential
  • OG Shark
    Since it is found in essential oils, linalool can also be found in a wide variety of other products, including perfumes, household cleaners, food seasonings, and various other edibles. Its soothing properties have won much praise. In recent years, its reputation as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent has helped it attract broad attention.

In a 2021 article updating an earlier study on linalool’s bioactive characteristics, the authors state, “Linalool can activate apoptosis (i.e., cell death) of cancer cells via oxidative stress, yet simultaneously maintains normal cells.” Linalool’s antibacterial effect comes from its capacity to cause membrane permeability. Due to its anti-inflammatory effects, linalool protects the liver, kidneys, and lungs. Linalool is a viable adjuvant for use with cancer treatments and antibiotics due to its anti-tumor effects and minimal toxicity.

  • Limonene

Limonene, a terpene with a bitter and lemony scent and taste, is found in the peels of citrus fruits, including oranges and lemons. Besides alpha-pinene, limonene is the most common terpene in the natural world. Possible health advantages of this terpene have been widely speculated upon due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-stress, and anti-anxiety qualities.

In general, limonene is more abundant in cannabis strains with the words “sour” or “lemon” in their titles. The chemical limonene tends to be productive in these types. Some common types of high-limonene varieties include:

Super Lemon Haze
Sour Diesel
Berry White
Banana OG
Limone has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antioxidant, anticancer, antiallergic, antinociceptive, and antistress activities, as well as its beneficial effects in the treatment of gastric ulcer, colitis, asthma, and airway inflammation, as detailed in a 2018 review of the most up-to-date research. Limonene is a monoterpene with significant therapeutic potential due to its widespread occurrence in nature, low toxicity, and several modes of action.

According to a 2016 study on mice, limonene’s pain-relieving ability may be realized by controlling transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. Although this terpene is not commonly known for its pain-relieving properties, it has various other advantages that may influence the root cause of pain in certain conditions. Limonene’s anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic properties make it an attractive pain reliever.

  • Caryophyllene

Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene with a peppery, spicy scent, similar to cinnamon. Herbs like rosemary, cloves, hops, black pepper, and other spices can be found in nature.

It has been explained that terpenes’ efficacy stems from their ability to excite cell receptors in the ECS. Caryophyllene is distinctive among chemicals since it is the only one that has been demonstrated to directly activate CB2 receptors, which are primarily located in the central nervous system and the peripheral immune system. These findings lent credence to the theory that other terpenes might similarly impact mood, pain, and stress. Caryophyllene’s analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties are well-known.

For the most part, strains in the “cookies” family are safe options if you’re looking for a source of caryophyllene. Some popular strains of cannabis that rely heavily on beta-caryophyllene as their primary terpene include:

Sour Diesel
Bubba Kush
Girl Scout Cookies (GSC)

In 2013, researchers on mice found that caryophyllene treatments reduced pain levels. According to the study’s authors, caryophyllene also boosted the pain-relieving effects of low doses of morphine. This terpene may improve clinical outcomes when used with other pain drugs.


A review of this research published in 2016 found that caryophyllene benefits human health due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and immune-modulator capabilities. It has been shown to have significant therapeutic potential in treating neuropathic pain, neurological diseases, and metabolic diseases.

  • Humulene

Alpha-humulene is a terpene having a robust, earthy, and spicy fragrance. Naturally occurring examples include basil, black pepper, cloves, sage, and hops. Some of the cannabis strains that tested positive for humulene were:

  • Candyland
  • GSC
  • White Widow
  • Original Glue
  • Headband

For some, the anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of humulene in cannabis with a high alpha-humulene content may be helpful for symptom relief.

The benefits of humulene have been the subject of numerous research studies. In 2009, researchers found that humulene, “given either orally or via aerosol, demonstrated considerable anti-inflammatory qualities.” According to Rogerio et al., humulene is “an efficient analgesic when delivered topically, orally, or via aerosol.”

The ability of alpha-potential humulene to induce apoptosis (cell death) has been shown in recent investigations, suggesting it may be a helpful new chemotherapeutic drug. Additional studies confirmed alpha-activity humulene as an antibacterial agent against several microorganisms.


Learning the basics of terpenes is valid even if you don’t consider yourself a cannabis expert. Cannabis with a strong terpene profile has medical benefits but may cost extra at your local dispensary. Patients experiencing chronic pain, inflammation, or any other symptom or condition should consult with a trained medical cannabis physician before beginning medical cannabis treatment. You can contact Kifdoctors whenever required.

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