Terpenes are used for a multitude of reasons. The most common are cooking and baking (used as flavor enhancers) and medicinal purposes (showing promise as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, anticonvulsive). However, studies have indicated that there are additional benefits of terpenes when used for physiological and psychological wellness.
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), stress and anxiety affect everyone, but did you know that around 18.1% of the population have anxiety disorders? Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the US, affecting about 40 million adults.
Some common anxiety disorders include:
- Panic Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
The numbers keep rising, and treatment can be very pricey, which is why some people have found an alternative in terpenes. Not only are terpenes a more cost-efficient way to manage their anxiety/stress-related symptoms, but they’ve also found these to be effective.
To learn more about the different kinds of anti-anxiety terpenes, read on!
Best Terpenes for Anxiety
Limonene is a unique terpene that elicits the sensation of citrus when encountered. This type of terpene is derived from the oil of citrus peels like lemons, oranges, or limes. Limonene is also known as one of the best terpenes for anxiety as it is known to relieve paranoia and restlessness.
Research from the US National Library of Medicine shows that citrus scents (especially lemon and orange oils) positively affect a person’s physical, mental, and spiritual well-being because the smell of citrus positively affects the limbic system in the brain. This brain system is involved in coordination, emotion, motivations, memory, learning, and even anxiety.
This terpene is traced from a variety of herbs. The use of myrcene is in the holistic treatment of pain and inflammation, but it is also the most potent terpene for anxiety available. This terpene is abundant in aromatic plants like ylang-ylang and wild thyme and offers sedative effects. Myrcene has also been shown to increase the sleeping time of barbiturate medications’ (a kind of sedative drug.)
This type of anti-anxiety terpene is usually associated with harsher and more robust flavors like garlic and pepper. However, its anti-inflammatory power makes it an ideal terpene for anxiety. In addition, some strains that employ caryophyllene are restful and calming strains. People can even use it to treat conditions like Arthritis to Alzheimer’s.
A 2014 study found that beta-caryophyllene reduced anxiety levels in test rodents who went through maze puzzles. It is a terpene that is present in hops, black pepper, and rosemary essential oils.
Found in pine trees and other coniferous plants, pinene is said to help reduce inflammation, kill bacteria, increase cognitive function and reduce anxiety. Although research is still ongoing in all terpenes, a notable one would be a study done on rodents about the efficacy of pinene in treating anxiety and depressive-like behaviors. For example, in a forced swim test, the test mice had increased mobility (indicating anti-depressant effects.
Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, a team of researchers from Kagoshima University, made a study using light/dark boxes and an elevated plus maze (EPM) to test on mice. Researchers had measured anxiety levels in the test by the time the mice spent in an open space vs. an enclosed one, while the light/dark box tests anxiety through lit and unlit areas.
Linalool was given to the mice through an odor chamber, placed there 30 minutes before the test. The mice were exposed to specific dosages of linalool to see if it played a role in the effects. As a result, the mice spent nearly twice as much time in open and lighted spaces with the presence of the scent than the one with no scent.
Terpenes to Avoid for People with Anxiety
Incorporating terpene as an anti-anxiety solution has seen great reception and success from both researchers and the public. However, not all terpenes should be used for this purpose as they could do more harm than good.
There has been limited research that states that some terpenes can cause a worse, if not neutral, effect on people with anxiety. Terpinolene and other strains with a high concentration of this terpene were rated as the least effective for anxiety treatment. In comparison to linalool, pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene, this terpene performed the lowest.
Researchers took a look at the least-effective strains to see if there was a relation to terpene content. From that research, researchers noted that terpenes like terpinolene and Guaiol appeared regularly in the least favored strains, with 15% of the respondents experiencing increased anxiety.
Although far from conclusive, it’s important to remember that users may experience effects (both side effects and significant effects) differently, so it’s always good to practice caution.
Take A Deep Breath
People have seen a plethora of benefits when it comes to using terpenes. Physically, gastronomically, physiologically, and even psychologically. Terpenes continue to prove that they have what it takes to be considerable alternatives to traditional treatment methods.
Anti-anxiety terpenes are a good way to manage symptoms and improve one’s general health and head scope. That said, research is still ongoing to ensure that these terpenes help enhance the quality of life of those affected by anxiety to find definitive benefits of these terpenes.
For those planning to or who have tried to incorporate it in their lives, worry not because studies have shown that they have huge potential and the possibility of conclusive benefits are within reach.
Visit Medical Terpenes today for the best anti-anxiety terpenes. Oil-soluble and medical terpenes are also available for a broader range of use.