The most common ways to enjoy the recreational and medicinal benefits of cannabis are smoking, vaping, or eating edibles. But, believe it or not, you can also receive a wealth of healthful benefits by simply smelling the plant’s aromatic terpenes. Those familiar with aromatheraphy already understand this concept. The ancient practice of inhaling essential oil scents, which are made from potent terpenes, has been healing humans for thousands of years—for a reason. Aromatherapy is considered alternative medicine, leaving many skeptical of its effectiveness. But the non-skeptics get it, and therefore, continue to benefit from good, centuries-old-fashioned healing.
The olfactory system, as well as, areas of the brain that respond to scent are rich in cannabinoid receptors. When you inhale the scent of hemp-infused essential oils, you gain the same relaxing, health-enhancing benefits as from the more common, aforementioned methods.
How Can Essential Oils Help?
The essential oils used in aromatherapy are extracted from a wide variety of plants such as lavender, basil, and peppermint—all distinctively aromatic and uniquely beneficial. These oils consist of powerful terpenes, a major component of all essential oils, which give each plant its distinguishable, signature scent.
Most plants have one or two primary terpenes, but cannabis has over 100 terpenes—an abundance of strains with varying flavors and aromas. As with other plants, cannabis terpenes are extracted to create healthful essential oils, which provide a bounty of natural healing for the mind, body, and spirit.
How Is Aromatherapy Beneficial?
Aromatherapy has plenty of credible science to support its curative claims. For instance, the smell of a fruit or flower triggers an immediate response in the olfactory receptors in the nose. The neurons from those receptors carry signals to the olfactory bulb, located at the front of the brain, which interprets information about the smell. Special cells known as mitral cells then carry this information to the olfactory cortex, which allows you to identify a specific smell and distinguish it from others. The mitral cells also carry information to the limbic system—the area in the brain that controls breathing, heart rate, and stress management—as well as, to the amygdala—the area in the brain associated with memory and learning. This explains how a particular smell elicits a strong memory in all of us.
Inhaling the distinct aromas of essential oils also triggers a chain reaction within the body. A simple whiff sends the specific scent of powerful terpenes to those sensitive areas in the brain, which then direct the body to respond accordingly with relaxation, a positive mood-boost, and even pain management.
How Do Cannabinoids Work?
To review, from nostrils to brain, the signature scents of essential oils trigger responses in the olfactory system, which directs the limbic system and amygdala to elicit a response. But cannabis-infused essential oils take this mental processing path a step further due to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is an impressive network of receptors located throughout the body and brain. These receptors respond to cannabis compounds the same way they do to natural cannabinoids produced within the body. The olfactory system is rich in cannabinoid receptors, especially CB1, which responds to both THC and CBD. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component in cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) supports the immune system with balance and healing. CB1 receptors are also found in the limbic system and amygdala. When hemp-infused essential oil is inhaled, its molecules bind to these receptors and elicit a response that’s similar to the more common consumption methods.
Take Healing to a Higher Level with Cannabis Oils
Cannabis oil refers to a variety of different cannabis extracts. For example, you can choose the oil for its particular terpene, such as myrcene or linalool. There is also CBD oil, which can have high or low levels of THC, depending on your therapeutic needs. Hemp oil, which contains no THC, is also powerfully beneficial. Like essential oils, all are typically blended with carrier oils to deliver the safest, most effective healing. Adding cannabis oil to the mix definitely takes healing to a higher level when you want to feel calm, focused, relaxed, renewed, and radiantly healthy.
How to Inhale the Benefits?
Cannabis oils enriched with terpenes can be inhaled in a variety of ways. Massage them into your skin, spray them on your pillow, add them to a steaming pot, or diffuse them. All of these methods produce health-enhancing aromatherapeutic healing.
If you want to learn more about Cannabis, Terpenes and Hemp, visit our Cannafloria University.