Terpenes For Anxiety
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Today, 4.05% of the global population suffers from anxiety disorders, a 55% increase from 1990 to 2019. Hence, medical experts have come up with both conventional and natural treatments for treating anxiety. One such natural treatment option includes terpenes.

Terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds present in plants, especially cannabis and herbs. These compounds play an important role as they impart aromas and flavors to the various cannabis strains.

Additionally, terpenes might also have anxiolytic or anti-anxiety properties as they can affect your endocannabinoid system and hormone receptors.

If you want to know more about terpenes, how they affect the body, and the best terpene types, read on.

What are Terpenes?

Before we dive into how terpenes help reduce anxiety, let’s understand what they are.

Plants consist of many chemical compounds, also known as phytochemicals. They are divided into four major categories – Alkaloids, Glycosides, Polyphenols, and Terpenes. These phytochemicals perform many functions, like protecting the plants from insect and plant-related diseases.

Terpenes are a type of chemical compound made up of hydrocarbons. They are responsible for the different aromas and flavors of plants.

These compounds are mainly present in highly aromatic herbs, citrus plants, and cannabis. They have various aromatic flavor profiles, such as citrusy, earthy, floral, spicy, and sweet.

Terpenes in Cannabis Plants

Cannabis plants contain between 2% and 5% terpenes, along with other cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

In fact, researchers have identified more than 150 terpenes from 100 different species of cannabis plants. Hence, the type of terpenes present in the cannabis strain makes it smell or taste unique.

Entourage Effect of Terpenes

Cannabis plants undergo a phenomenon, known as the entourage effect, where terpenes interact and work mutually with cannabinoids.

Many studies suggest that this entourage effect enhances the medicinal properties of the cannabis plant.

Therefore, several brands manufacture full-spectrum CBD, which consists of CBD, terpenes, THC, and other plant compounds. On the other hand, isolate CBD only contains CBD and is considered less effective than full-spectrum CBD.

How Do Terpenes Work in the Human Body?

Terpenes don’t just protect plants from insects and animals, but they are believed to have major health benefits. They affect the body’s nervous and endocrine systems by interacting with useful body chemicals and enhancing their effect.

For instance, linalool (a terpene type) helps release adenosine, a chemical responsible for bringing the heart rate back to normal. It also induces sleep and relaxation.

Other terpenes, like limonene, increase serotonin levels, which stabilizes the mood, and improves sleep, and digestion.

Note that there is no exact evidence or research on how terpenes work in the human body yet.

Best Terpenes For Anxiety and Stress

As we mentioned earlier, there are over 100 terpenes found in cannabis strains. Hence, choosing the right one can get a little confusing.

We recommend familiarizing yourself with the various terpene aroma and flavor profiles. Certain terpenes have strong fragrances and flavors that are unsuitable for those having a mild taste.

Additionally, some terpenes induce relaxation, whereas some induce energy. Pick one as per the results you require. You should also keep in mind any allergies, and avoid those specific terpenes.

Given below are some of the recommended anxiety-reducing terpenes to try.

1. Alpha-Pinene

Alpha-pinene is one of the best terpenes for treating anxiety because of its numerous benefits. It is sourced from pine trees and has an earthy and piney aroma.

This terpene is known for its anti-anxiety properties. As per a study conducted on mice, it was concluded that constant exposure to the water vapor of alpha-pinene reduced the anxiety levels in the animals.

Along with reducing anxiety, alpha-pinene may also improve cognitive functions by reducing the effect of acetylcholinesterase enzyme.

2. Beta-Caryophyllene

The familiar spicy smell present in cloves, black peppers, and oregano is because of the presence of Beta-Caryophyllene.

Just like alpha-pinene, beta-caryophyllene also helps in reducing anxiety. It is a unique terpene, as it is the only terpene that binds to CB2 receptors. By doing so, it has been proven to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

3. Linalool

If you love soothing scents, linalool is the right terpene to reduce anxiety.

Linalool is found in sweet plants, such as lavender and jasmine, and has a floral aroma. This terpene reduces anxiety by improving the body’s serotonin levels and reducing cortisol levels (also called the “stress hormone”).

Research on mice has also shown that inhaling linalool limits aggression.

4. Geraniol

Geraniol isn’t as famous as other terpenes. It has a sweet aroma with slight citrusy notes and is found in plants like geraniums, roses, lavender, and citronella.

Studies conducted on Geraniol show how it has a calming effect on the central nervous system. It also improves sleep patterns and reduces stress by increasing the percentage of delta waves.

5. Phytol

Phytol has a grassy scent and occurs naturally in tomatoes, potatoes, tobacco, green tea, and many more. It is also found as an additive in many foods and multivitamins.

Similar to other terpenes, experiments have shown that phytol improves sleep and reduces anxiety. It may also interact with GABA receptors, which are responsible for inducing a calm effect on the nervous system.

6. Limonene

Limonene is one of the most popular and common terpenes in various cannabis strains. You may have noticed its presence in fruits, like lemons and oranges, as it is the compound behind the strong citrusy fragrance.

As suggested by different studies, Limonene works by increasing the dopamine levels in the body. It also induces the release of GABA chemicals, which further destresses the mind.

7. Myrcene

If you are looking for a terpene that enhances the effect of CBD and THC, then Myrcene is the best option. It has a spicy and musky smell and is naturally present in herbs like hops and lemongrass.

Research has shown that Myrcene may elevate the benefits of cannabinoids by improving their transport to the brain. Hence, if you take CBD and THC, along with Myrcene, it may bring about a more calming effect and alleviate anxiety.

8. Alpha Humulene

Humulene, also known as alpha humulene, is present in various aromatic plants like sage, ginseng, coriander, and many more. It has an earthy and woody aroma.

Although there aren’t many studies on alpha humulene, this terpene is known to help destress and improve creativity. It has many other health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties and weight loss.

Which Marijuana Strains are Ideal for Combating Anxiety and Depression with Calming Terpenes?

Terpenes are available in many plants in the form of essential oils. You can also consume them through different marijuana strains to fight anxiety, nervousness, and depression.

Listed below are the best marijuana strains, along with their terpene profiles, for preventing anxiety.

1. Blue Dream

Blue Dream strain is one of the best ones for those who require Myrcene as the dominant terpene. It contains other terpenes, such as beta-caryophyllene and alpha-pinene, too.

This strain is a hybrid of blueberry and Haze with 60% Sativa and 40% Indica strains. Therefore, it has a signature sweet aroma and flavor.

Note that it contains 18% THC and a low amount of CBD.

2. Blueberry Cheesecake

A mix of blueberry and cheese, the Blueberry Cheesecake strain contains 70% Sativa and 30% Indica strains.

This marijuana strain has up to 23% THC content, which makes it perfect for those dealing with anxiety or stress. It also contains Myrcene as the dominant terpene. Some other terpenes include alpha-pinene, beta-caryophyllene, and humulene.

3. Bubba Kush

Bubba Kush is an iconic Indica marijuana strain popular in the US for its distinctive nutty and sweet flavor. The strain is also famous for its tranquilizing effect because of its up to 22% THC content.

When it comes to the terpenes, the two dominant ones include limonene and beta-caryophyllene.

4. Cannatonic

The Cannatonic marijuana strain is best for those seeking a short-lived and mild option. It is obtained from the cross of MK Ultra and G13 Haze and has a sweet and citrusy flavor.

This strain is rich in caryophyllene and myrcene terpenes and helps with reducing anxiety. It is also high in CBD (10%) and low in THC (5%) content.

5. Durban Poison

If you are looking for a linalool-rich marijuana strain, Durban Poison is the perfect option. It has an earthy and sweet aroma with a slight citrusy flavor.

Note that Durban Poison is a Sativa strain with more than 25% THC content, and minimal to no CBD content. Therefore, it has strong psychedelic properties.

Apart from linalool, it contains other terpenes, such as humulene and caryophyllene.

6. Girl Scout Cookies

Girl Scout Cookies is one of the most powerful marijuana strains out there with up to 20% THC and no CBD content. It is a cross of F1 Durban Poison and OG Kush strains.

These strains have minty, vanilla, citrusy, or sweet notes, depending on how it was grown. They also comprise numerous terpenes – linalool, myrcene, pinene, limonene, and caryophyllene.

7. Granddaddy Purple

Granddaddy Purple is an Indica marijuana strain with up to 23% THC content, which makes it pretty strong. The strain has a sweet and fruity taste, similar to fresh grapes.

Just like other marijuana strains, Granddaddy Purple also helps with calming anxiety and also reduces muscle spasms. It is rich in terpenes like myrcene, caryophyllene, and pinene.

8. Harlequin

Harlequin is a Sativa-dominant strain made out of Columbian Gold, Swiss, and Thai sativas. It has a low THC content between 4% and 10% and is rich in CBD with 6% to 15% content.

This strain has an earthy and musky taste. The main terpenes in this strain are alpha-pinene, myrcene, and b-caryophyllene.

9. Jack Herer

Jack Herer or the JH strain is another Sativa-dominant strain that helps with reducing anxiety. This strain has a mild woodsy flavor, with up to 24% THC content.

There are four main terpenes found in this strain – Terpinolene, Limonene, Caryophyllene, and Pinene. Hence, their combined effect on treating anxiety is significant.

10. Kosher Kush

The Kosher Kush is an Indica-dominant strain with a high THC content between 18% and 22%. It has rich and earthy tones and the presence of many anxiety-reducing terpenes, such as Caryophyllene, Limonene, and Alpha-Pinene.

11. Northern Lights

Northern Lights consists of 95% Indica and 5% Sativa strains. It has more THC content (up to 21%) with little to no CBD content.

This strain has a mix of flavors, ranging between sweet, citrusy, and spicy! The major terpenes include Pinene, Myrcene, and Beta-Caryophyllene.

12. OG Kush

The OG Kush contains both Indica (55%) and Sativa (45%) strains in almost similar compositions. This strain contains a high amount of THC of around 26%, and also high CBD content (10% to 11%).

The OG Kush has a strong woody and citrusy flavor due to the presence of terpenes such as Myrcene, Limonene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Linalool, and Beta-Pinene.

13. Remedy

Remedy is the best option for those who want a high-CBD (14%) and low-THC (0.5%) marijuana strain. Hence, it doesn’t have strong psychedelic effects.

This strain has an herbal and spicy flavor with slightly fruity notes. The dominant terpenes include myrcene, humulene, pinene, limonene, and Caryophyllene.

14. Super Sour Diesel

Super Sour Diesel is a Sativa strain and a cross of Sour Diesel with Super Silver Haze. It is popular among the masses for inducing happiness and energy. The abundant content of limonene in this strain makes it taste citrusy and sweet.

Keep in mind that this strain is potent with a high THC content of 23% and 0% CBD content.

15. White Widow

White Widow is a sativa-dominant cross of White Widow and NYC Diesel. It has fruity and sweet notes and is full of anxiolytic terpenes like myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene.

This strain also doesn’t have any CBD content but has up to 22% THC.

Which Type Of Terpenes To Avoid For Anxiety?

Not all terpenes are good for treating anxiety. There are a few that may contribute to worsening anxiety or even inducing it. The two major anxiety-inducing terpenes are given below.

1. Guaiol

Guaiol occurs naturally in guaiacum trees, cypress pine trees, and cannabis plants. It is responsible for the woodsy and floral scents in the trees and plants. Additionally, it may also have health benefits related to reducing pain, limiting inflammation, and protecting the body from free radicals.

Yet, guaiol is not effective for treating anxiety as it doesn’t have anxiolytic properties.

2. Terpinolene

Terpinolene is common in plants like anise, basil, Allspice, and many more. It has a woodsy, floral, and citrusy aroma.

Just like Guaiol, Terpinolene is yet another terpene to avoid for treating anxiety. It has less anxiolytic properties, and won’t be beneficial for treating anxiety.

Which Terpenes Can Cause Anxiety?

There are no fixed terpenes that cause anxiety. It depends on how your body and mind react to certain aromas and flavors. For example, some terpenes may cause anxiety in a few people, but induce a calming effect in most.

However, we suggest avoiding both guaiol and terpinolene, as they don’t have any significant anti-anxiety properties.

Limonene and Pinene are also some controversial terpenes that are known to cause increased nervousness and anxiety in a few people.

Dosage and Consumption Methods

There are three different consumption methods for terpenes, as you should never consume them directly. The dosage also varies depending on the way you consume terpene.

We recommend consulting a doctor to find a dosage that suits your tolerance and anxiety levels.

Method 1: Inhalation

One of the most common ways to consume terpenes is through inhalers. The consumer inhales the cannabis strains through joints, bongs, pipes, and many more. Therefore, it isn’t the healthiest option, as it involves combustion.

Inhaling terpenes is also the least effective way to consume terpenes, as the high temperatures may cause the strains to lose terpenes. But, you can opt for vaporizers to increase the efficiency and reduce the risks of inhaling terpenes.

Dosage: The terpene concentration should not exceed 10% in inhalers.

Method 2: Eating Terpenes (Edibles)

The best way to consume terpenes is through edibles. There is no smoking involved, and the terpenes aren’t lost in the combustion process.


However, keep in mind that the effect of terpenes and other cannabinoids in edibles is much stronger and more intense. You need to limit the amount of cannabis strains consumed.

Edibles may take a longer time to produce results than inhaling terpenes.

Dosage: Generally, it is safe to infuse 0.01% to 2% of terpene in your edibles.

Method 3: Topical Terpenes

Apart from inhaling and eating terpenes, you can apply them to your skin in the form of creams and lotions. This way, the terpenes enter your body through the skin and help with anxiety.

The major problem with topical terpenes is that a high concentration may lead to skin irritation. It is best to dilute the topicals and apply them accordingly. A patch test may help too.

Dosage: Stay-on topicals and wash-off topicals should have terpene concentrations between 0.1% and 10%, and 10% to 24%, respectively.

Safety and Precautions for Consuming Terpenes

Although terpenes have many benefits, there are a few risks to consider.

Side Effects of Terpenes

If you are using a higher concentration of terpene than what your body can accommodate, you may experience the below symptoms.

  • Irritation
  • Dizziness
  • Discomfort
  • Allergic reactions
  • Respiratory problems due to prolonged use
  • Skin rashes due to topical terpenes

Precautions for Consuming Terpenes

There are a few ways to prevent the risks of terpenes, such as:

  • Dilute the terpenes before use, especially in edibles and topicals.
  • Consult a doctor if you are taking any medication.
  • Opt for edibles over inhalers and creams. They are more effective and have fewer side effects.
  • Follow a proper dosage and avoid over-consumption of terpenes.
  • Check for skin irritation if you are using topical terpenes.
  • Go for high-quality terpenes over cheap and low-quality ones.

Consult Your Anxiety Disorder with The Kif Doctors

Terpenes are one of the best natural remedies for anxiety. They have a positive effect on our nervous system and endocrine system by stimulating the release of happy hormones.

Terpenes also have various flavor profiles and specific benefits. Hence, you can choose one as per your preference and need.

The only challenging part about cannabis terpenes is that you need a medical marijuana card to legally acquire marijuana strains.

Thankfully, The Kif can assist you through the process of getting a medical marijuana card with just a few steps. It can also help you decide the correct dosage of terpenes, as per your condition and tolerance level.

By Kif Team

The Kif Team has expert team of writers with a profound understanding of holistic medicine. We specialize in assisting individuals in obtaining their medical marijuana cards. We firmly believe in the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis for various health conditions. Our mission is to educate and enlighten as many people as possible about its potential advantages.

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