Terpene Profiles: Camphene, Cannabis's Unique Heart-Health Booster
If you’ve spent any time at all perusing our website or our blog (or, better yet, visited our beautiful Oakland dispensary), you know that we approach cannabis a little bit differently than most. We’re of the opinion that a particular cannabis plant’s terpene profile determines its qualities, not only in terms of flavor or aroma but more importantly, its effect on our bodies.
How? Simple, really: Terpenes are a class of fragrant hydrocarbons (that’s “essential oils” for the non-scientific). They occur in huge abundance in the natural world, giving plant products like fruits, herbs, and spices their specific characteristics.
We humans have known for eons that specific terpenes elicit particular effects. Since time immemorial, Chinese doctors have used borneol as a digestive aid and treatment for respiratory issues; limonene has imparted a general sense of uplift and mood enhancement since humans first cultivated the lemon.
Nor is this “mere” folk medicine. Whether or not you believe we have something to learn for thousands of years of medical wisdom, modern research is validating many of our hunches about plant-based medicines like terpenes. And that brings us to the star of today’s blog: Camphene, a musky and pungent terpene with some very potent implications for improved heart health.
What Does Camphene Do For Us?
As the name suggests, camphene has a strong camphor-like odor. Some compare its aroma with fir or other evergreen needles, and musky, damp earth. In this regard, it’s superficially similar to myrcene, the most abundant terpene in cannabis. However, camphene is typically present in far smaller concentrations, if at all.
If camphene isn’t that common in cannabis, it makes up for it in medical promise. A 2011 study on rodent models found that it reduced cholesterol and triglyceride levels, two major factors in heart disease and stroke. Interestingly, the study was designed to compare the effects of terpenes; it found that camphene exhibited beneficial effects above many more common terpenes.
Another study in 2012 bolstered these findings, also finding that camphene reduced some types of pain. It could be used as an alternative to statins, currently one of the most common classes of cholesterol-lowering drugs. While they’re effective, they come with a host of serious side effects that can limit their long-term use.
How to Get Camphene from Cannabis
Camphene isn’t one of the “primary terpenes,” so finding it in concentrated doses here can be a challenge. A complicating feature is that the smoke produced by burning camphene can be acrid and irritating. We recommend that if you seek out camphene-rich cannabis strains, you try to obtain them in tinctures or some other form that doesn’t involve heating the material to high temperatures.
Ghost OG: Derived from the popular OG Kush strain, its fans describe a balanced body / mind effect, and a marked ability to cut through pain, insomnia and anxiety.
Mendocino Purps: With a “woodsy pine” aroma characteristic of camphene, this award-winning variety is linked with pain and insomnia relief. Be careful; some users report it has a heavy and immediate sedative effect.