Author: Katie Finkle
If you’ve been to a Keystone Shops or checked out our menu, you may be familiar with those three colorful dots that are next to all of the different strains of products we carry. As many of you already know, those dots indicate the strain’s terpene profile, and the terpenes that are present in a strain create the taste, aroma, and most importantly, the effects that a strain can have. More information on the different terpenes commonly present in cannabis can be found here. For many patients, it can be easiest to shop and medicate by terpene profile, and for patients with autism or caregivers of patients with autism, there are certain specific terpenes that can be most beneficial.
Myrcene is most known for its anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving abilities, as well as its muscle relaxant and sedative properties. Myrcene’s relaxing properties can be ideal for patients with autism, as many patients with autism have difficulty with sleep. It can also aid in countering hyperactive, compulsive, and aggressive behaviors.
Caryophyllene is the spicy terpene that, like myrcene, can be a real heavy hitter in pain relief and anti-inflammation. More specifically to autism though, caryophyllene has antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. High levels of oxidative stress in the brain and nervous system can influence the progression of autism, and caryophyllene can aide THC and CBD in protecting the brain and nervous system from such damage. Caryophyllene also has anti-anxiety properties, which can be greatly helpful for patients with autism that suffer from anxiety.
Pinene is most known for its aide in energy, alertness, and focus. However, pinene also has great anti-inflammatory properties (yes, just like myrcene and caryophyllene). The anti-inflammatory properties of pinene have been demonstrated to reduce the high levels of brain tissue inflammation that is often found in patients with autism. The energizing effects of pinene can sometimes exacerbate symptoms of anxiety that many patients with autism can suffer from. With that in mind, when pinene is paired with high levels of myrcene and caryophyllene, which also has major anti-anxiety properties, it can be better managed and still prove to be a helpful terpene.
Bisabolol is a terpene that is commonly found in chamomile. Like chamomile, bisabolol has some calming properties to it, however, it is most known for its association with pain-relief and being a neuroprotectant. Bisabolol has also shown to have antioxidant properties. While bisabolol has a number of medical properties that are found in other terpenes, it uniquely has the potential to provide a synergistic effect that can enhance the effects of other terpenes. Having it present in a cannabis product may highlight some of the other desired terpene benefits that patients with autism are looking for.
Valencene is one of the lesser known (but equally beneficial) terpenes. It is a citrusy terpene that is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties and, uniquely, its insectifugal (insect repellent) potential. For patients with autism, valencene’s primary benefits lie in its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its potential in promoting alertness, which can counter the fatigue associated with sleep loss that some patients suffer from as well as focus in a school or work setting.
As the name suggests, eucalyptol is frequently found in eucalyptus plants. Though it is a lesser known terpene, it has great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Many patients with autism also suffer from gastrointestinal issues and IBD, and eucalyptol has demonstrated the ability to reduce gastrointestinal inflammation.
Along with considering a strain’s terpene profile for treatment, Keystone Shops also carries the Ilera Hope Tincture, which was processed and created specifically with autistic patients in mind. The Hope 1 tincture has a 1:1 THC:CBD ratio, is high in pinene, valencene, and eucalyptol, and has a mild taste of mint chocolate, so it sits pretty easily. The Hope 2 tincture has a 5:1 THC:CBD ratio, is high in myrcene, caryophyllene, and bisabolol, and has a light, grapefruit flavor to it.
All these terpenes and tinctures are just the surface of medical marijuana treatment for patients with autism. As research and clinical trials continue, we are likely to find more ways that medical marijuana can help autistic patients, and in turn, be able to develop and understand and even greater varieties of treatments for our patients. What’s important to remember is that these medical marijuana treatments are just here to assist autistic patients in living their highest quality of life, not change who they are as a person. Patients with autism deserve to live their best possible life the same as anyone else, and these are just some of the ways that medical marijuana can help.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been reviewed for accuracy by the FDA. As always, seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider when considering trying a new treatment. Do not start or stop taking any medications without speaking to your doctor first.