Can smelling cannabis unlock antiviral protection?

eybna cannabis covid

Cannabis has a strong smell right? That strong odor has molecules that can work as medicine. Bach flowers on steroids to the rescue.

Burning incense may work to keep away the bad jujus and the jinn. My family did it during our corona lockdown. Aromatherapy was serious business in Ancient Egypt. If you didn’t have the right mix a certain canine god would not let you into the afterworld. Aromatherapy was connected to demons or jinns, could help you find love, and could help treat you from certain ailments, much of this is documented all over the internet. But one thing we haven’t talked about when we consider cannabis and its medicinal properties of the CBD and THC in the medicinal marijuana, is the power and potency of cannabis as aromatherapy.

Could the smell of cannabis keep Covid at bay?

An Israeli company Eybna investigates.

Consumers of cannabis products are fast discovering what scientists have understood for some time: terpenes, the compounds in cannabis that account for its wide variety of smells and tastes have an even more important role, unlocking the true medicinal qualities of the plant.

There are over 10,000 known terpenes found in flowers, plants and fruits, some of which interact with human and animal endocannabinoid systems and can influence neurotransmitters in the brain. When I was giving birth, I ached to smell orange oil. I did and it helped my labor tremendously. Hadass, Sicilian oregano, fresh mint. I rub the fresh herbs in my garden and bury my face in them. They make me feel better.

Consider linalool,  a terpene found in lavender which has a calming effect when inhaled, or, limonene, the terpene found in citrus (and which I craved suddenly),  is associated with mood-elevation. The terpene Beta-Caryophyllene, found in basil, black pepper has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, pain-relieving and anti-anxiety benefits.  Could you guess that all these terpenes, and many more, are found in cannabis. Just like CBD can be found in oranges (see this story about a Japan company extracting CBD from unused orange peels), not all the molecules in cannabis are exclusive to that plant (consider hemp or oranges) and not all the chemicals in oranges are exclusive to the citrus plants.

“Cannabis use is generally the first-time people are introduced to consuming terpenes in large amounts via inhalation,” says co-founder of Eybna Technologies, Nadav Eyal. “Studying its effects opens new opportunities for scientific discoveries impacting all botanical medicine including cannabis, the botanical that has, only in the past few years, developed into an international industry worth billions.”

It is little known that the extraction method for producing cannabis oil, which is used to infuse many of today’s cannabis products including vape pens, edibles, and topicals, strip out the terpenes.  Product manufacturers need to bring the terpenes back for the unique and varied smells and tastes that consumers of cannabis expect and more importantly, for the therapeutic effects of these products.

Eybna is researching terpene properties and producing advanced terpene products for sale. Terpenes represent only 1-3% of the net weight of the cannabis plant but they punch above their weight in value.

THC and CBD are now becoming commodities while terpenes can be understood as the brains that unleash the true power of the cannabis plant. As cannabis increases its market share, so too will terpenes, the company predicts.

Even with progressively advanced techniques to design drugs in the lab, synthetic forms of cannabis-based pharmaceuticals such as Merinol and Syndros have not been effective in alleviating symptoms or helping patients recover from a host of ailments.  These man-made drugs lack the natural intelligence that terpenes add to other cannabis compounds and they simply cannot be reproduced. No one has yet to imitate the complexity, or “Entourage Effect” of terpenes and over 1,000 different compounds found in the whole cannabis plant.

Anti-virality and anti-inflammatory may be some indications for the terpenes of cannabis. Let’s hope Eybna is able to put their toolkit in the face of Covid (see cannabis and Covid here) and other medical challenges we face so we can increase our odds and improve life’s value.

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