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Fragrant Christmas trees, the fresh scent of your favorite strain, and the pain-melting potential of arnica flowers all flaunt the remarkable essence of Pinene. A crucial cannabinoid in many strain profiles, its remedial influence on the mind and body is unique and stimulating from head to achy toe.

A common bicyclic monoterpene, pinene is produced by a variety of coniferous and non-coniferous plants. The clear, colorless liquid is one of the primary active compounds in cannabis, and you may find its pungent, piney smell or its woody, resinous taste familiar. Pinene has two structural isomers (α-pinene and β-pinene) with slight differences in their chemical and organoleptic properties.     

α-Pinene is plentiful in the essential oils of pine, spruce, and other coniferous plants, and is more abundant in cannabis than its isometric counterpart. Its flammability and water-soluble nature oppose that of β-pinene, which possesses neither characteristic. Instead, β-pinene is soluble in alcohol and has a less pungent, earthier scent when compared to α-pinene. β-Pinene is one of the most released compounds of deciduous and coniferous forest trees, and its woody aroma also presents itself in cumin, hops, basil, and dill.     

Pinene effects and therapeutic applications

Pinene’s refreshing pine-like scent and pungent flavor are widely enjoyed by cannabis users, but this terpene brings more to the user experience than just aroma. Both of pinene’s structural forms are important constituents of cannabis. Strains heavy in either α or β-pinene are known for their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving capabilities, but those with greater amounts of α-pinene can potentially counteract THC- induced anxiety and short-term memory loss.

α-Pinene has a versatile impact on inflammation and affects multiple receptors within the brain and organ systems throughout the body. As a natural anti-ulcerative, pinene has been found to inhibit ethanol-induced gastric lesions, reduce the volume and acidity of gastric juices, and increase gastric wall mucus. Its array of pharmacological influences combat inflammation and warrant the monoterpene’s ability to reduce pain and discomfort in individuals suffering from chronic illnesses, from Alzheimer’s to gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s Disease.  

The nootropic effects of pinene are just as comprehensive. It can act as a cholinesterase inhibitor like many drugs used to treat dementia, and also inhibit acetylcholinesterase (resulting in extra protection for the molecules needed to transmit information). Thanks to these neurodegenerative powers, pinene is recommended to improve focus, creativity, and short-term memory retention. Cannabis users who wish to avoid THC-induced anxiety or memory loss should target strains rich with α-pinene to take full advantage of its cognitive enhancing potential.  

Medicinal experimentation of plants with large amounts of pinene has occurred over centuries, making it one of the world’s most researched terpenes. Herbalists of various cultures took advantage of pinene’s dynamic bronchodilating aspects, administering it through the steaming and burning of herbs to ease respiratory distress. Today, its ability to ease symptoms of asthma and other respiratory illnesses has been observed and documented in experimental settings. As for boiling pine needles, α-pinene has antibacterial qualities and effectively reduces airborne microbes. 

High pinene strains to consider

If you’re in the market for a strain high in pinene you have many options to choose from. Most cannabis strains contain a small amount, and pinene-rich strains are among the most popular because they taste and smell like pine! If you’re dreaming of pain relief, give Harlequin a try. Its 1:1 CBD/THC ratio gives an extra boost of healing goodness that’s then elevated by the various benefits from its average 0.2% percentage of pinene. 

The earthy smell of α and β-pinene, along with the sweet citrus taste of limonene grants Mimosa its signature flavor. Other high pinene strains that won’t steer you wrong include Diamond OG, Panama Red, Pineapple, AK-47, Cereal Milk Blue Dream ( up to 1.2%) and Penelope (.85% of a 4% profile, 1:1 THC/CBD).

It’s easy to come across cannabis products containing trace amounts of pinene since it’s so commonly found in the plant, but some items on the market are equipped with generous amounts and are designed for users to take advantage of pinene’s medicinal aspects. Most products rich in pinene are marketed toward individuals suffering from inflammation or chronic respiratory distress. 

Cannabis inhalers, like this one by MUV, are great options for those who want to enjoy cannabis in a more respiratory-friendly fashion and would like a 1:1 CBD option. The bronchodilating impact of pinene shines when using either one of MUV’s inhalers, and users are bound to enjoy an invigorating experience without the typical respiratory side effects of smoking cannabis. Sacred Herb Medicinals takes a different approach, offering terpene-packed bath salts that take advantage of pinene’s antimicrobial and sinus-clearing effects, making it a popular item during cold and flu season.

Sure, such sensory notes of evergreen forests are sought after in the world of recreational cannabis, but this versatile cannabinoid is a medicinal superhero that comes to the rescue of cannabis patients suffering from a spectrum of ailments. The proof is in the centuries of experimental-pudding, and pinene is worth considering for your next line of wellness items or simply enticing recreational users with a fresh, new element of flavor.

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