Study: Terpenes and Cannabinoids Produce Additive Therapeutic Effects

Tucson, AZ: Select terpenes modulate cannabinoid activity in mice, according to data published in the journal Nature: Scientific Reports.

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of Arizona, College of Medicine assessed the functional and modulatory actions of various terpenes in vivo and in vitro both alone and in combination with an established cannabinoid agonist, WIN55,212. 

Authors reported that the combined administration of terpenes and WIN55,212 produced an increased antinociceptive (analgesic) response as compared to the administration of either substance alone. Researchers also determined that endogenous cannabinoid receptors were responsive to terpenes. “Our findings suggest that these cannabis terpenes are multifunctional cannabimimetic ligands that provide conceptual support for the entourage effect hypothesis and could be used to enhance the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids,” they reported.

Authors concluded: “This study is thus the first to show that terpenes and cannabinoids can produce an additive effect when combined. This study is also the first to identify the CB1 and A2a receptors as terpene targets and describe the role of these receptors in producing terpene cannabimimetic effects in vivo. … In principle, this suggests that terpenes could be used to enhance the analgesic properties of cannabis/cannabinoid therapy, without worsening the side effects of cannabinoid treatment. However, this must be confirmed using relevant phytocannabinoids like THC instead of the synthetic cannabinoid WIN55,212-2 used in this study.”

Full text of the study, “Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity,” appears in Nature: Scientific Reports.