Best Terpenes for Pain Relief and Inflammation: Cannabis and Essential Oils

Discover the top terpenes for effective pain management and inflammation with the potent combination of cannabis and essential oils. Explore how these natural compounds can offer chronic pain relief and enhance well-being.

I have spent a long time researching which are the best terpenes for pain relief and inflammation. As someone who has experienced chronic pain, I understand how difficult it can be to find relief. That’s why I’ve done extensive research on terpenes in cannabis and essential oils (EO’s) for pain control. In this article, I’ll share my findings on the best cannabis terpenes and EO terpenes for managing your pain.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in many plants, including cannabis. They are responsible for the unique scents and flavours of different strains of cannabis. In addition, terpenes have been found to have therapeutic benefits, including easing pain. EO’s, on the other hand, are concentrated oils extracted from plants. Essential oils are commonly used in aromatherapy and have a wide range of health benefits, such as reducing pain.

Understanding the different best terpenes for inflammation and pain, and their effects on the body can be overwhelming. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the top terpenes to look for in cannabis and EO’s for pain control, as well as scientific evidence supporting their use. In addition, I’ll provide safety precautions and potential side effects to be aware of when using these natural remedies.

Understanding Terpenes

Fresh cannabis leaves with a dropper bottle of cannabis terpenes for pain relief and inflammation
Cannabis terpenes for pain relief and inflammation

What are Terpenes: How Terpenes Work

Terpenes are naturally occurring organic compounds found in plants, including cannabis. Terpenes are responsible for the smell and taste of plants, and they also help protect the plant from predators. Terpenes and cannabinoids are produced in the same glands and have unique effects when combined.

Cannabis has more than 100 different terpenes. Each terpene has a unique scent and has different therapeutic benefits. Some of the most common terpenes occurring in cannabis include Myrcene, Limonene, Pinene, and Caryophyllene.

Terpenes for Pain Management Found in Cannabis

Terpenes play an important role in the effects of cannabis. They can enhance or modify the effects of cannabinoids, and they also have their own therapeutic properties. For example, Myrcene is known for its sedative effects, while Limonene is known to have antianxiety properties.

Different strains of cannabis have different terpene combinations, which can affect the overall experience when using the plant. For example, strains high in Myrcene can be more relaxing, while strains high in Limonene can be more uplifting.

To choose the right cannabis strain for chronic pain, it is important to understand the various terpenes present in cannabis. Terpenes are an important factor in the effects of cannabis and research is continuously being done to understand their benefits.

You can read more about specific terpenes in this blog 14 Top Terpenes in Cannabis and Essential Oils

Understanding Essential Oils

Essential oil terpenes for pain relief and inflammation
Essential oil terpenes for pain relief and inflammation

What are Essential Oils (EO’s)?

EO’s are highly concentrated plant extracts that are mostly obtained through steam distillation or cold pressing. They can also be produced by solvent extraction or CO2 extraction. They contain the natural aroma and flavour of the plant they are extracted from. These oils are used for various therapeutic benefits in aromatherapy, skin care, and as analgesics.

EO’s are not the same as fragrance oils, which are synthetic and do not have any therapeutic benefits. EO’s, on the other hand, have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. They have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic effects, which make them effective in moderating pain.

Essential Oils for Pain Management 

EO’s can be used topically or inhaled to provide relief from pain. They work by reducing inflammation, relaxing muscles, and calming the nervous system. Some of the most effective EO’s for pain control include:

  • Peppermint EO (Mentha Piperita): This oil has a cooling effect that can help to reduce pain and inflammation. It is particularly effective for headaches, muscle pain, and joint pain. Check the price of Peppermint Oil on Amazon (*paid link)

  • Lavender EO (Lavandula Angustifolia): This oil has a calming effect that can help to reduce stress and anxiety. It is also effective for lowering pain, especially for headaches and menstrual cramps. Check the price of Lavender oil on Amazon (*paid link)

  • Eucalyptus EO (Eucalyptus Globulus):  This oil has a warming effect that can help to reduce the sensation of pain and inflammation. It is particularly effective for muscle pain and arthritis. Check the price of Eucalyptus oil on Amazon (*paid link)

  • Rosemary EO (Rosmarinus Officinalis): This oil has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective for using where there is pain. It is particularly effective for headaches, muscle pain, and joint pain. Check the price of Rosemary oil on Amazon (*paid link)

When using EO’s for pain reduction, it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or almond oil. This will help to prevent skin irritation and ensure that the oil is absorbed properly. It is also important to use high-quality EO’s from reputable sources to ensure their purity and effectiveness.

Top Terpenes in Cannabis for Pain Control

As a cannabis user, I have come across various terpenes that are highly effective in pain management. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that give cannabis its unique flavour and scent. They also have therapeutic benefits, including allowing some pain to melt away. In this section, I will discuss the top terpenes in cannabis that are effective in helping with pain.

  • Myrcene is the most common terpene that is found in the cannabis Sativa and Indica It has a musky, earthy scent and is known for its sedative effects. Myrcene is effective in easing pain, inflammation, and muscle tension. It also has a calming effect that can help you relax and sleep better.

  • Beta-Caryophyllene is a spicy terpene that is found in black pepper, cloves, and cinnamon. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that make it effective in managing pain. Beta-Caryophyllene also has a calming effect, which can help reduce anxiety and stress.

  • Limonene is a citrusy terpene that is found in lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. It has a refreshing scent and is known for its uplifting and energising effects. Limonene is effective in lowering pain, inflammation, and anxiety. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it useful in treating a variety of skin conditions.

Best Essential Oils for Pain Treatment

As a Naturopath who is qualified in Clinical Aromatherapy, and also worked in a leading London teaching hospital, I have been able to undertake extensive research on the benefits of EO’s. I found that some EO’s are more effective than others when it came to helping reduce my pain. This can also vary with the specific variety of the oil. Here are my top picks for EO’s that can help to reduce and manage pain:

  • Plai Oil (Zingiber Cassumunar) is often used for its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. It is related to the Ginger family, but where Ginger is warming, Plai is very cooling. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, which make it helpful for moderating pain. I have used this EO for many years whenever it is needed, and it works every time. Check the price of Plai oil on Amazon (*paid link)

  • Lavender Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia) is a popular EO that is known for its calming and soothing properties. It is also one of the best EO’s for helping with pain. Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce the pain and swelling. It is also known to have a calming effect on the mind and body, which can help reduce stress and tension. To minimise pain, mix a few drops of Lavender oil with a carrier oil and gently massage it onto the painful area.

    My preference has always been for high altitude Lavender oil. When the plant is grown at an altitude of more than 1500 meters, the plant chemistry changes. More esters are produced, which give the resulting oil a more fruity and less camphoraceous fragrance. Using less of this oil can have a stronger impact, especially on reducing stress and anxiety. Check the price of Lavender oil on Amazon (*paid link)

  • Peppermint Oil (Mentha Piperita) is another EO that is great for helping with pain. It has a cooling effect that can help soothe sore muscles and joints. Peppermint oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help take down swelling and pain levels.
    To use Peppermint oil for pain, you can mix a few drops with a carrier oil and apply it to the affected area. You can also make a simple balm that can be applied directly to help soothe sore muscles. Check the price of Peppermint Oil on Amazon (*paid link)

  • Eucalyptus Oil (Eucalyptus Globulus) is a powerful EO that is known for its ability to relieve pain and inflammation. It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain and swelling. Eucalyptus oil can also help improve circulation, which can help reduce the level of pain and promote healing. I have used this in a blend I made up in a spray bottle to use in hospital when I had a full knee replacement surgery. Of course, I was on intravenous painkillers as well!

    There are several species of eucalypts, and my preference has been either Eucalyptus Smithii or Eucalyptus Globulus. Even inhaling Eucalyptus Globulus has been shown to reduce localised inflammation and assist in pain reduction. To relieve pain with Eucalyptus oil, mix a few drops with a carrier oil and massage it onto the area that hurts. You can also add a few drops to a diffuser to help relieve pain and promote relaxation. Check the price of Eucalyptus oil on Amazon (*paid link)

Scientific Evidence Supporting Use of Terpenes and Essential Oils

As a researcher in the field of healthcare, I have come across several studies that suggest the potential benefits of terpenes and EO’s in pain control. These natural compounds are found in various plants, including cannabis, and have been used for centuries for their therapeutic properties.

Scientist assessing research of using terpenes for pain relief and inflammation
Scientist assessing research of using terpenes for pain relief and inflammation

Terpenes such as Beta-Caryophyllene, Linalool, and Limonene can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain, making them suitable for pain management. EO’s such as Peppermint, Lavender, and Eucalyptus, have also been found to have analgesic properties and can be used topically or aromatically to ease pain.

This study found that Myrcene, one of the common terpenes that is found in many strains of cannabis, as well as several EO’s,  reduced pain and inflammation by activating CB2 receptors in the body. Linalool, found in Lavender, has anxiolytic and analgesic effects, which can be helpful for managing pain in conditions like fibromyalgia.

Peppermint essential oil has a cooling effect that can help relieve pain, and Eucalyptus oil has anti-inflammatory properties. A study conducted on patients with postoperative pain found that inhaling Lavender EO reduced pain intensity and opioid requirements.

Terpenes are effective, but should not be the only treatment for severe and chronic pain. However, they can play an important role in managing moderate and long-term pain.

Safety Precautions and Side Effects

Using Terpenes Found in Cannabis Safely

When using cannabis-terpenes for pain control, it is important to take some safety precautions to avoid any adverse effects. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always start with a low dose and gradually increase it until you find the right dose for you.
  • Do not use cannabis-terpenes if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If you have a medical condition or are taking medication, consult your doctor before using cannabis-terpenes.
  • Using cannabis-terpenes may make you feel sleepy and affect your ability to concentrate. So, it’s important not to drive or operate heavy machinery after using them.

While cannabis-terpenes are generally safe, they can cause some side effects. Some of the potential side effects can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Itchy eyes
  • Dizziness or headache
  • Nausea

If you experience any of these side effects, stop using cannabis-terpenes and seek medical attention, if necessary.

Using Essential Oils Safely

EO’s can also be used for pain control, but it is important to use them safely. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Always dilute EO’s with a carrier oil, a base cream or gel before applying them to your skin.
  • Do not ingest (swallow) EO’s as they can be toxic.
  • If you have a medical condition or are taking medication, consult your doctor before using essential oils. Some oils may not be safe for you.
  • Do not use EO’s if you are pregnant or breastfeeding without consulting a professional first.

While EO’s are generally safe, they can cause some side effects. Some of the possible side effects can include:

  • Skin irritation (if not used diluted)
  • Allergic reactions (so always patch test first)
  • Headache
  • Nausea

If you experience any of these side effects, stop using the oil immediately, and seek medical attention if necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most effective terpenes for managing joint pain?

Beta-Caryophyllene, Limonene and Myrcene are the most effective terpenes for managing joint pain. Beta-Caryophyllene is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help in the reduction of pain and swelling. Limonene is a natural analgesic and can help lower pain levels. Myrcene is a muscle relaxant and can help reduce muscle tension, which often contributes to joint pain.

What are the best terpenes for insomnia?

There is nothing like a good night’s sleep to help with the healing process. Linalool is a natural sedative and can help calm the mind and body. Myrcene is a muscle relaxant that helps to reduce muscle tension. Terpinolene is a natural sedative and can help induce sleep. Terpenes work together in what is called the entourage effect.

Many pharmaceutical painkillers have a side effect of inducing nausea. Limonene, Beta-Caryophyllene and Alpha-Pinene are the recommended terpenes for managing nausea. Limonene is a natural antiemetic and can help alleviate nausea. Beta-Caryophyllene is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can help lower inflammation in the digestive system. Alpha-Pinene is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the inflammation in the digestive system.

Which are the best terpenes for pain relief and inflammation?

Some of the best terpenes for reducing inflammation and pain include Myrcene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Limonene, and Linalool. These terpenes have been found to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

How do terpenes alleviate pain and reduce inflammation?

Certain terpenes like Myrcene and Beta-Caryophyllene have been shown to modulate pain perception and take down inflammation through various mechanisms, such as interacting with neurotransmitter receptors and inflammatory pathways.

What is the therapeutic potential of cannabis terpenes for pain and inflammation relief?

Cannabis terpenes possess therapeutic potential for alleviating pain and reducing  inflammation due to their interactions with molecular targets involved in pain perception and inflammatory processes.

How do terpenes interact with cannabinoids in cannabis for pain relief and inflammation?

Terpenes work synergistically with cannabinoids to enhance their therapeutic effects, creating the entourage effect. This interaction can potentially amplify the pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis products.

Can terpenes from essential oils also be effective for pain relief?

Yes, terpenes extracted from EO’s such as Plai, Eucalyptus, Lavender and Peppermint have shown great results for reducing pain as well as having an anti-inflammatory action. They can be used in aromatherapy or topically for localised pain reduction.

What role do specific terpenes play in treating chronic pain and inflammatory conditions?

Specific terpenes, such as Myrcene, Linalool, and Alpha-Pinene, have demonstrated potential in treating chronic pain and inflammatory conditions by modulating neuronal activity and affecting inflammatory pathways.

How can I combine cannabis terpenes with essential oil terpenes?

You can infuse your chosen strain of cannabis plant into a carrier oil. Use this to make a simple balm and add the appropriate EO’s for inflammation and pain. This blog on how make Cannabis Muscle Rub will show you how easy it is to make your own balm. This can provide a multifaceted approach to managing both inflammatory and neuropathic pain by targeting various pain-related pathways and receptors.

How can I choose the right cannabis strain for pain relief?

To choose the right cannabis strain for pain relief, consider both the terpenes and other cannabinoid compounds in the plant. Choose strains high in Myrcene and Beta-Caryophyllene for better pain relief in chronic pain patients. These terpenes are effective in reducing inflammation and pain. If you have a medical cannabis card, your budtender will help you with this.

How can terpenes and cannabinoids reduce inflammatory pain?

Common terpenes found in EO’s and cannabis have the potential to reduce inflammatory pain by modulating the body’s response to inflammation. Terpenes and cannabinoids can help reduce pain caused by inflammation by affecting the endocannabinoid system and other pathways.

Conclusion

Terpenes and EO’s have been shown to have great potential in pain control as analgesics. With their natural and safe properties, they can be a great alternative to traditional pain medications.

Terpenes like Limonene, Myrcene, and Beta-Caryophyllene can help reduce pain by reducing inflammation. EO’s such as Lavender and Peppermint have also been shown to have analgesic effects and can help relieve pain.

It is important to note that while terpenes and EO’s can be effective in pain control, they should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment. It is always important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any new treatment.

glass laboratory flask with cannabis leaves

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