Analysis: Terpene Content Associated with Clinically Relevant Patient Health Outcomes

Albuquerque, NM: Cannabis flower with elevated levels of specific terpenes are associated with greater perceived symptom relief, according to data published in the Journal of Cannabis Research.

A team of researchers affiliated with the University of New Mexico assessed consumers’ perceptions of the efficacy of 633 distinct cannabis flower products. Study participants self-administered cannabis at home and reported symptom changes in real time on a mobile software application. Researchers then assessed trends between flowers’ terpene content and their perceived effects.

Investigators reported: “Symptom relief was greatest after consumption of plant variants with slightly higher than average levels of the terpenes myrcene and terpinolene and non-detectable levels of CBD. In contrast, chemovars with any detectable levels of CBD provided the least relief, the fewest positive side effects, and the most negative and context-specific side effects. These findings are consistent with previous research showing that naturally abundant CBD in cannabis flower may act as an inhibitor of optimal treatment for certain health conditions.”

They concluded, “The index system described herein enables healthcare providers, patients, scientists, and cannabis retailers to easily categorize cannabis products based on measurable plant characteristics beyond THC and CBD in ways that systematically relate to differing levels of symptom relief and side effect reporting.”

Preclinical data demonstrates that select terpenes can modulate cannabinoid activity to produce enhanced therapeutic effects. A case report published late last year reported that an autistic patient responded more favorably to cannabis extracts containing select terpenes as compared to extracts without them.

Full text of the study, “Systematic combinations of major cannabinoid and terpene contents in cannabis flower and patient outcomes: A proof-of-concept assessment of the vigil index of cannabis chemovars,” appears in the Journal of Cannabis Research.

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