A-Bisabolol Terpene 101: What It Is, Effects, Benefits, & Uses
Once upon a time, it was thought that consuming cannabinoids alone was the best way to get the full benefits of cannabis. Nowadays, we know that combining cannabinoids with other compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids, provides more therapeutic effects than consuming cannabinoids by themselves. This is known as botanical synergy or the Entourage Effect.
Essentially, the entourage effect states that combining different cannabis compounds, like phytocannabinoids, cannabis terpenoids, and non-cannabinoid plant molecules, can produce “synergistic interactions to better treat pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal, and bacterial infections.”
If you’ve thought about using cannabis for the first time, or even if you use it occasionally, you’re likely familiar with some cannabinoids like CBD, THC, and CBG. But many are unaware of the effects of cannabis terpenoids, also referred to as “terpenes.”
One terpene that is stepping into the spotlight is alpha-bisabolol, one of over 130 terpenes found in cannabis. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “one of over 130? What makes this terpene so special?” We’re so glad you asked because we’re about to dive in and answer that very question!
Alpha-Bisabolol: What Is It?
First, let’s break down the phrase “alpha-bisabolol terpene” piece by piece and define each key part. To start, a terpene is essentially a molecular compound that contains a chain of hydrocarbons and is found in essential oils of all plants, including cannabis. You’re likely more familiar with terpenes than you might originally think because terpenes are fragrant, aromatic molecules that provide plants with their unique smells.
That sharp, sweet, refreshing scent of pine needles or the zesty and fresh notes of a ripe summer orange? Yes, that’s all terpenes!
Next, let’s focus on the “alpha-bisabolol” part. Found in both chamomile and cannabis, alpha-bisabolol (abbreviated as a-bisabolol) is unique with its own, specific molecular structure. That is, no other terpene has the exact same structure as alpha-bisabolol. A-bisabolol is one of over 130 terpenes found in cannabis and is thought to have many powerful healing benefits. While it has plenty of healing effects on its own, alpha-bisabolol is often combined with cannabinoids like:
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
When combined with cannabinoids, they create additional therapeutic benefits.
Terpenes are divided into two broad categories: primary and secondary. Primary terpenes mainly determine the plant’s scent and are found in larger amounts than secondary terpenes. However, secondary terpenes play a role in one’s experience with a particular cannabis strain. A-bisabolol is a secondary terpene, which lends its medicinal properties. These include:
- Preventing and fighting infection
- Reducing inflammation
- Encouraging calmness and reducing anxiety
How Can Bisabolol Terpene Improve Your Health?
As mentioned earlier, alpha-bisabolol can be used by itself or synergistically with antibiotics or cannabinoids. By itself, a-bisabolol:
- Reduces inflammation
- Reduces anxiety
- Improves the immune system
Alpha-bisabolol appears to reduce inflammation in several ways. One way is through reducing cytokine protein production. Produced by the body and involved in several inflammatory processes, certain cytokines, like IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-α, are also thought to be linked to pathologic pain.
Furthermore, a-bisabolol appears to play a role in down-regulating COX-2 enzyme production. COX-2 enzymes are instrumental in creating lipids (fats) that promote inflammation and swelling throughout the body. This is why many people take prescribed medications like COX-2 inhibitors to prevent systemic inflammatory diseases, like arthritis (common COX-2 inhibitors include NSAIDs and Celebrex). However, long term use of COX-2 inhibitors is often “limited by the development of hypertension [high blood pressure], edema [swelling], and congestive heart failure”. Therefore, alpha-bisabolol could potentially be a safer treatment for chronic inflammatory conditions.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, alpha-bisabolol has been found to be an effective treatment against bacterial infections like S. aureus and E. coli when combined with antibiotics. Thus, a-bisabolol can potentially have profound effects on wound healing.
Lastly, similarly to some other cannabinoids, alpha-bisabolol seems to play a role in promoting calmness and tranquility. This makes logical sense why so many people feel calmer and less stressed after drinking chamomile tea.
This is one of the reasons alpha-bisabolol was selected by Koan developers and researchers and is a part of several Koan formulas, including the Calm cordials. An added benefit of alpha-bisabolol is that it has anti-anxiety properties but without any sedative properties at all. This is an important aspect because more anti-anxiety compounds (think “Xanax”) are also typically sedative as well. It’s a part of the Koan “Calm” formula where it helps reduce anxiety without lowering energy levels. This makes alpha-bisabolol different from another calming terpene called linalool, which also reduces anxiety but it relaxes you through a sedative effect. Alpha bisabolol is a major component in our carefully formulated Balance cordial to bring your body, mind, and spirit back to an even state of harmony and homeostasis.
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