The link between weed and pain therapy has been around for about as long as state legalization was a reality, but we’re still in the process of truly figuring out what part of the plant is actually reducing pain.

A science journal, news-medical.net dives into what they call the “entourage effect,” which is the theory that all parts of the plant as a whole creates the best pain relief, as opposed to any specific area. It was long thought that the cannabinoids (CBD and THC, but particularly CBD) were the pain-relief areas of marijuana.

However, researchers have found that terpenes, the part that gives marijuana its flavor and aroma, also reduce pain, just by themselves. But when the cannabinoids are added back, the reduction is amplified.

“It was unexpected, in a way,” said Dr. Streicher, one author of the study. “It was our initial hypothesis, but we didn’t necessarily expect terpenes, these simple compounds that are found in multiple plants, to produce cannabinoid-like effects.”

Studies like this can help patients maximize pain reduction from marijuana. Plus, it goes to show that there’s more to that skunky smell than a conversation starter.

Here’s the study on terpenes.


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