Many of us grew up with the familiar scent of pumpkin pie around the holidays. The fragrance and taste of pumpkin and spices that enhance it has evolved into a significant market in the USA, especially during the fall months. You can find pumpkin spice products in just about every corner of your local store. Most of the appeal comes from terpenes, or the chemicals that give plants, fruits, and vegetables their appealing aroma and taste. Like pumpkin, cannabis also contains terpenes; they give the plant and flower a distinctive smell and flavor based on which ones are present in a particular strain. Each terpene has specific properties that can help medical cannabis patients treat their health conditions more effectively. Visiting one of our Florida Medical Marijuana Doctors to receive your recommendation can help set you on the road to treating your health conditions more effectively. Take a 5-minute eligibility survey to see if you pre-qualify for a Florida medical marijuana recommendation today!
Long before stores began mass-marketing pumpkin spice products, lots of Americans grew up knowing the smell and taste of pumpkin pie in the fall. The combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and clove creates a familiar and somewhat comforting fragrance that lifts our mood and helps us relax. Terpenes give off an unmistakable odor and create the taste we recognize year after year.
- Limonene, the most abundant terpene found in pumpkin, has shown anti-inflammatory, stress-relieving, and anti-oxidant properties. It can also help lift your mood and may help provide protection from anxiety and cancer growth. In addition, it has been found to help with the absorption of other terpenes, particularly those found in cannabis. (1)
- Pinene (α-pinene and β-pinene) acts to help us focus and stay alert. It influences the part of the brain responsible for regulating depression and mood; has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties; helps prevent the growth of cancer cells; acts as a bronchodilator; and can decrease oil production in patients with overly oily skin. (2, 3)
- Linalool has proven pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties as well as the ability to increase the effectiveness of anti-microbials via the entourage effect. In addition, it helps relieve stress and acts as a sedative; and is an effective mosquito deterrent. Linalool also has the ability to act as an anti-convulsant, proving to benefit people with seizure disorder. (4)
- Myrcene, found in nutmeg, has a sedative effect as well as helping relieve chronic pain and inflammation. It is also a muscle relaxant and can help increase the absorption of cannabinoids in the body. (5, 6)
- Carophyllene is a unique terpene because it has the ability to bind to and activate CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Present in cinnamon and cloves, it is helpful in treating anxiety, inflammation, and depression. It also has antioxidant properties and has shown potential in helping treat alcohol addiction. (7)
- Camphene, found in cinnamon, is a powerful pain reliever, acting both on the body’s response to and perception of pain. This terpene also demonstrates potential as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, particularly when the inflammation is located in the lungs. It is important to note that camphene is highly combustible and can release carcinogenic smoke when brought to a high temperature, so it is best consumed in a tincture or used as part of a topical preparation. (8)
- Zingiberene is a terpene native to many plants including ginger. It provides the ability for these plants to resist insect infestation and can actually be toxic to certain pests. -gingerol, which transforms into zingiberene, has been shown to limit the growth of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer cells. (9)
- Bisabolol, also a component of ginger, has many benefits. It acts to help decrease inflammation and pain, lessens irritation due to injury or illness, and has antimicrobial as well as anti-oxidant properties. (10)
There are definite benefits to combining pumpkin, spice and cannabis. Pumpkin contains complex carbohydrates as well as vitamins B and E, which have been shown to help improve mood and boost serotonin production in the brain, helping to ease symptoms of depression or the blues. Avoiding too much protein intake when eating pumpkin will help limit protein’s tendency to block serotonin production. (10) When consumed alongside cannabis, pumpkin can stimulate the mind and energize the body while helping your body relax.
There are many ways to combine the benefits of pumpkin, spice and cannabis. Here are just a few ideas:
- Infuse cannabis extract or distillate into butter or oil and use it in your favorite pumpkin pie, or cookie recipe.
- Make a pumpkin cheesecake using canna-butter instead of regular butter or margarine when you prepare the crust. (11)
- Slowly infuse cannabis extract or distillate into milk and use it to make a cannabis/pumpkin spice latte. (12)
- Use canna-butter as an ingredient in pumpkin soup. (13)
- For a new twist on an old favorite, make some cannabis pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. The pumpkin adds moisture to the cookie mix, keeping it from drying out. (14)
While terpenes are an important part of cannabis, they are present in all plant matter. They contribute to the taste and odor of plants as well as helping protect them from insect infestation and destruction. They benefit humans as well by providing protection from cancer, relieving pain and swelling, slowing the process of diseases that attack the nervous system, and improving mobility. In addition, they have proven effective in slowing or stopping the progression of cancer cell growth. Terpenes have also been shown to improve mood, relieve the symptoms of depression, and ease anxiety. They can help patients with respiratory issues breathe more easily by relaxing breathing passages. As time passes and more studies are done, the benefits of cannabis and its components will continue to be revealed. Learning how cannabinoids, terpenes, and other substances present in cannabis and other plants will help us cope better, have less pain, and enjoy a more positive outlook on life. Speak to one of our Medical Cannabis Doctors about the best product, dose and route for your situation.