According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (AADA), over 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, and it responds well to treatment.
Conventional approaches to treating anxiety are giving way to natural treatments, which consumers view as safer. Among these alternative anxiety treatments, cannabis-derived compounds, including the cannabinoids CBD and THC, are remarkably popular.
Cannabinoids can only reach their full potential, however, when combined with terpenes. Some terpenes may even be useful for anxiety on their own.
What does it mean if a substance is anxiolytic?
If a substance is anxiolytic, that means it’s useful for anxiety. Most anxiolytic substances alter the flow of chemicals in your nervous system.
There are two distinct ways that a substance can be anxiolytic:
- By mitigating the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shaking, tremors, or muscle tightness
- By mitigating the psychological symptoms of anxiety, such as fear, paranoia, or panic
In the former case, anxiolytic substances physically prevent your body from exhibiting symptoms of anxiety. In the latter, the psychological foundation of an anxious response is addressed.
Many anxiolytic substances operate using both physiological and psychological mechanisms. The best anti-anxiety treatments reduce feelings of anxiety without significantly altering your neurochemistry.
Do terpenes help with anxiety?
Yes, research indicates that certain terpenes may help with anxiety. Each terpene interacts with your system differently, but these substances are all similar in that they are non-intoxicating and have minimal side effects.
Terpenes are also non-addictive. Abuse of benzodiazepines, which are the most commonly prescribed drugs for anxiety, is rampant, giving rise to increased interest in anxiety treatments that do not have any abuse potential.
Certain terpenes may work together to combat anxiety from multiple angles at onceven . That’s one of many reasons it's best to use terpenes together rather than ingesting isolated terpenes on their own.
Which terpene is best for anxiety?
The terpenes limonene, myrcene, caryophyllene, linalool, and pinene have all been researched for their potential anti-anxiety benefits. Each of these terpenes has different attributes, so strains that combine as many of them as possible are the most likely to be beneficial.
It’s important to note that all of the terpenes we’re about to explore can be derived from non-cannabis as well as cannabis sources. Terpenes derived from non-cannabis plants are more desirable for economic and legal reasons.
1. Does limonene help with anxiety?
Limited laboratory studies support further research into the benefits of limonene for anxiety. A 2013 study published in Pharmacology Chemistry and Behavior, for instance, reports findings on the anxiolytic potential of limonene when used in aromatherapy, and a 2014 study published in Rejuvenation Research explores the ability of limonene to reduce stress, which is closely tied to anxiety.
2. Does myrcene help with anxiety?
Cannabis users report that strains with high concentrations of myrcene provide the best anti-anxiety effects. Research supports the necessity of new insights on the relationship between myrcene and anxiety. A 2011 research paper by Dr. Ethan Russo published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, for instance, details investigations into the potential anxiolytic benefits offered by a combination of myrcene, limonene, and pinene.
3. Does caryophyllene help with anxiety?
Caryophyllene is famous among terpenes for its ability to interact with the body’s CB2 receptors, which are largely responsible for the non-psychoactive benefits of THC. These receptors are believed to be involved in anxiety, and in 2020, a new study into the anti-anxiety potential of caryophyllene was published in the journal Natural Product Communications.
4. Does linalool help with anxiety?
Linalool, one of the primary constituents of lavender essential oil, has been widely researched for its potential anti-anxiety properties. In 2018, for instance, a study published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience detailed the anxiolytic potential of inhaled linalool in animal subjects.
5. Does pinene help with anxiety?
The effects of pinene on anxiety are less-researched, but initial studies are promising. An animal study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2014, for instance, detailed the anti-anxiety potential of pinene when inhaled.
Which terpenes are good for depression?
Depression and anxiety are closely interrelated. Both conditions largely result from dysregulation of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and treating anxiety often also involves treating depression and vice versa.
Unsurprisingly, many of the terpenes that have been researched for their anxiolytic potential have also been researched for their antidepressant potential. At present, limonene is the most-researched terpene when it comes to potential antidepressant benefits.
Which terpenes are bad for anxiety?
It might be a good idea to avoid certain terpenes when crafting anxiety-oriented products. Limited research indicates that the terpene terpinolene has an at-best neutral effect when it comes to mitigating anxiety. It could even make anxiety worse.
In 2018, a study conducted by Canadian biopharmaceutical company Whistler Therapeutics was published in Frontiers in Neuroscience. This small clinical study noted the effects of a series of cannabis strains on symptoms of anxiety.
Strains with high concentrations of myrcene, caryophyllene, linalool, pinene, and other terpenes were observed to have positive effects. Strains that were high in terpinolene, however, were rated as being least-effective when it comes to treating anxiety.
When combined with other terpenes and ingested in small concentrations, it’s unlikely that terpinolene will make anxiety treatments less effective. Strains that feature terpinolene as a major terpene, however, aren’t good picks for anxiety products.
Which terpene blends are best for pain products?
Based on the available research, you should prefer terpene profiles that contain plenty of limonene, myrcene, caryophyllene, linalool, and pinene if you intend to develop products targeted at anxiety. Cannabis has naturally evolved many strains that combine these five abundant terpenes.
It’s now possible to determine the precise ratio of terpenes present in a particular cannabis strain and recreate this exact ratio using non-cannabis, botanically derived terpenes. The resulting terpene blends are chemically identical to terpenes derived from cannabis, but they’re safer, more affordable, and more legal.
Out of all the strain-specific botanical terpenes we offer at Terpene Warehouse, we recommend the following three for anxiety products due to their high concentrations of limonene, myrcene, caryophyllene, linalool, and pinene and low concentrations of terpinolene.
Due to its huge concentrations of caryophyllene, limonene, and myrcene, Skywalker OG’s terpene profile is at the top of our list. Skywalker OG is a strong indica cultivar, which means that this strain’s terpenes offer relaxing, sedative effects.
With roughly equal concentrations of myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene, the terpene profile derived from Kosher Kush is ideal for natural products oriented toward anxiety or depression. This strain also contains reasonably high concentrations of linalool.
The strain Wedding Cake contains higher concentrations of limonene than practically any other cannabis cultivar. As a result, the terpene profile derived from this strain is uniquely ideal for products targeted at both anxiety and depression.
Boost any natural anxiety remedy with terpenes
Regardless of their individual anti-anxiety potential, cannabinoids won’t provide the effects you’re looking for without terpenes. As we’ve seen, certain terpenes should be researched as anxiolytic treatments in their own right.
Whether you decide to bundle terpenes with cannabinoids or rely on terpenes alone, the botanical terpene blends we offer at Terpene Warehouse will get the job done in style. Choose one of the suggested blends above to get started.