Cannabis consumers and researchers once thought that all of the medical efficacy of cannabis was contained in just a few cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the medical molecules known to do everything from kill cancer to treat asthma to battle anxiety and depression. However, special chemicals called terpenes have been found to deliver an equal amount of medical efficacy. One such terpene is delta 3 carene.
Not just cannabis
If a cannabis consumer hears the term “terpene,” they typically think of the sacred herb and the intense aroma sometimes delivered by a particular strain. However, terpenes are plentiful throughout nature. More than 20,000 of the special odiferous molecules are found in thousands of species of plants other than cannabis.
Delta 3 carene, specifically, is also produced by basil, bell pepper, cedar, pine, and rosemary, among other plants.
From an evolutionary perspective, the terpenes found in the resinous trichomes of cannabis (or any other plant) serve to offend and detract predators like insects and animals (which consider its aroma and flavor offensive). This helps preserve the flowers of the plant so that they can reproduce.
Delta 3 carene conveys the sweet aroma of cedar, reminding one’s olfactory senses of cypress wood. From a flavor perspective, this terpene often tastes like lemon.
It sometimes also conveys hints of citrus and can be used to treat inflammation, excess bodily fluids (such as a runny nose and tears), and helps repair bones. It can even treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Delta 3 Carene treats arthritis and heals bones
Like other terpenes found in cannabis, delta 3 carene (which is categorized as a minor, or secondary terpene) has been found to be an effective treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. This is due, in large part, to the fact that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
Anecdotal evidence and research studies have shown that delta 3 carene also promotes the speedy healing of bones. Thus, researchers are optimistic that it could be used to relieve the symptoms of conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
The anti-inflammatory property of delta 3 carene is probably its most impressive characteristic. This trait allows it to be used to treat arthritis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, and other conditions resulting from systemic inflammation.
When combined with other terpenes and cannabinoids, this molecule may be an effective part of an overall treatment regimen for these common diseases and conditions.
Helpful for Alzheimer’s
Like the terpene humulene, delta 3 carene has been found to stimulate memory and increase memory retention. Because of this, medical professionals are hopeful that it may someday be used to treat cognitive memory diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Because it is a natural chemical, many caregivers and patients favor its use over common pharmaceutical drugs that often convey detrimental side effects, including addiction, anxiety, and sleep disturbance.
A 2008 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found delta 3 carene to be effective in promoting bone growth and repair after injury or malnutrition. The researchers concluded that this efficacy could be used to treat patients suffering from osteoporosis.
On the downside, due to its ability to reduce bodily fluids delta 3 carene has been demonstrated to produce cottonmouth and red eye, the infamous signs that someone has been consuming cannabis.