Terpenes for Nausea and Inflammation: A Look at the Science

Terpenes for Nausea and Inflammation: A Look at the Science

Terpenes, found in cannabis and almost all other plants, have many of the same medicinal properties that cannabinoids appear to have, including for coping with nausea and inflammation. While personal experiences with these compounds will always be subjective, scientific research supports the idea that they may have beneficial influence on these symptoms. 

Overall, the notion that patients can benefit from terpenes for nausea and inflammation may very well prove true as more studies are completed – although results will always vary since everyone’s physiology is unique.

Let’s delve into what science tells us about how terpenes can reduce symptoms like nausea and inflammation, as well as the reasons why.

What Weed Is Good for Nausea?

Let’s start at the beginning: with the cannabis plant. Cannabis contains both cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, and terpenes, such as myrcene and caryophyllene. Cannabinoids and terpenes can work together synergistically thanks to a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect,” which occurs when combining the two for stronger effects than one would experience taking just one by itself.

According to a research paper by the British Journal of Pharmacology on the subject of using cannabis/CBD to treat nausea: “Considerable evidence demonstrates that manipulation of the endocannabinoid system regulates nausea and vomiting in humans and other animals. The anti-emetic effect of cannabinoids has been shown across a wide variety of animals that are capable of vomiting in response to a toxic challenge.” 

There is also preclinical research evidence that cannabinoids, and especially CBDa, may be effective for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

But CBDa isn’t the only player when it comes to managing nausea. Weed strains high in THC can also be helpful in quashing nausea. According to a study examining careful THC administration to young cancer patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced nausea, this turned out to be an effective treatment. 

As the analysis in the major study mentioned above reported, There is some evidence that cannabis-based medicines may be effective in treating the more difficult to control symptoms of nausea and delayed nausea and vomiting in children.”

Another study, this time relying on self-reported results, showed that many more people found weed to be great for tackling the issue of nausea. Under this investigation, “886 people completed 2220 cannabis self-administration sessions intended to treat nausea between June 6, 2016 and July 8, 2019… By 1 hour post consumption, 96.4% of people had experienced symptom relief with an average symptom intensity reduction of -3.85 points on a 0 to 10 visual analog scale.”

Interestingly, this study also reported that flower and concentrates yielded the most powerful results, especially when consumed as joints. Another interesting finding was that “Cannabis sativa or hybrid”  and “higher [THC] and lower [CBD] were generally associated with greater symptom relief (eg, within 5 min).”

Strains for Nausea

As per this study, the strains of cannabis commonly associated with nausea relief included:

  • Blueberry Diesel
  • Blue Dream
  • Durban Poison
  • Sour Diesel
  • OG Kush
  • Headband
  • Lavender
  • Super Lemon Haze

Several of these strains also have reported analgesic properties. A potentially important factor should people experience nausea as caused by chronic pain.

While cannabinoids such as CBD, CBDa, and THC are the stars of many research studies targeting treatment for nausea and vomiting, other chemical compounds could also enhance their effectiveness — or, given more research, be applied as stand-alone remedies for nausea and inflammation. 

Enter the aromatic and ever-present terpene. Terpenes are chemical compounds responsible for how most plants smell and taste. Terpenes from cannabis plants can often support the same antiemetic properties people use CBD and THC for. 

Disclaimer: Terpenes are non-polar, oil-based hydrocarbons that, in pure form, can be very potent and sometimes volatile, flammable, and even corrosive compounds. For this reason, they should strictly be used by experienced and trained manufacturers, and we advise those who are unfamiliar with these compounds to exercise caution.

Why Are Terpenes Good For Nausea?

Many terpenes found in cannabis plants are suspected to be able to boost the efficacy of cannabinoids used for nausea. This would be the aforementioned entourage effect in action. 

However, research studies using terpenes without cannabinoids have also shown some promise, indicating that terpenes on their own may have antiemetic potential through gastroprotective effects. 

In other words, terpenes may not directly treat nausea, but they may be able to help address causes of nausea.

What Terpenes Help With Nausea? 

While not conclusive and certainly not applicable to every individual or every instance of nausea, there are indications that the following terpenes may benefit those suffering from nausea.


Limonene is a common terpene found in extremely high concentrations in citrus fruits and is also a naturally occurring terpene in fennel, juniper, mint, pine, and rosemary.   

Limonene is known to have a gastroprotective effect, which can reduce feelings of nausea caused by stomach upset or gastric pain. This is further supported by studies of lemon inhalation aromatherapy for nausea, as limonene is one of the primary terpenes driving the aroma of the citrus fruit.


Beta-caryophyllene has a robust, spicy scent and is found in allspice, basil, black caraway, cannabis, chamomile, cinnamon, cloves, copaiba, hops, fig, lavender oregano, lavender, roman chamomile, rosemary, and ylang-ylang. 

Beta-caryophyllene has been found to have a gastroprotective effect in persons infected with Helicobacter pylori. One study showed that this terpene greatly reduced patients’ feelings of nausea, and beta-caryophyllene is now considered valuable for treating dyspepsia and other gastrointestinal disorders.  


Humulene is abundant in basil, black pepper, cannabis, cloves, ginseng, hops, and sage. It is also called alpha-humulene or beta-caryophyllene.

Humulene was found in one study to be effective in treating mice suffering from ethanol-induced gastritis, which results in symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. Researchers predict that the terpene will have similar health benefits in human trials, reducing nausea and other symptoms.

What Weed Is Good for Inflammation?

Just as cannabis has been found to have therapeutic benefits for those suffering from nausea, it has also been shown helpful for people with inflammatory conditions. Since inflammation often causes pain, there can be a double benefit.

Cannabis is the subject of many studies related to inflammation, including research that suggests CBD’s potential in treating diseases linked with redox imbalance and inflammation, such as diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, arthritis, anxiety, psychosis, epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and skin diseases. CBD’s effectiveness is attributed to its direct impact on redox system components and indirect interactions with related molecular targets.

Terpenes for Inflammation

Terpenes can boost cannabinoid effects on inflammation and may be useful as stand-alone ingredients in certain therapies. One study points out:

“Terpenes bind to receptors in the brain. By doing so, they work to either activate or inhibit the effects of other compounds found in the cannabis plant. They also reduce the side effects of chemotherapy, provide antiparasitic benefits, and are powerful anti-inflammatories.”

This is especially notable with beta-caryophyllene, or BCP. As the above study stated, “Cannabis contains a large amount of BCP, as do some food plants, legal herbs, and spices such as black pepper. It exists in some leafy green vegetables as well and acts essentially like a non-psychoactive anti-inflammatory.” 

For people with stomach issues like inflammatory bowel disease or ulcerative colitis, inflammation can cause intense pain. One of the benefits of terpenes is that, depending on their chemical profile, they can work with cannabinoid receptors in the human body to offer pain relief while the inflammation is slowly reduced.

Here are the top terpenes for inflammation:


Myrcene, the smallest terpene, is abundant in rich-smelling plants, including cannabis, cardamom, hops, mangos, and sweet basil. It has a sweet and spicy flavor.

One study found myrcene to have reduced joint inflammation in the adjuvant monoarthritic knee. In early stages of the disease, acute myrcene reduced leukocyte rolling, but in the chronic phase of the model with repeated drug administration, it also reduced cell adhesion and vasodilatation. The reduction in leukocyte kinetics is likely due to an effect of myrcene on vascular adhesion molecules.”


Alpha-pinene is found in pine needles and cannabis, as well as in orange peels and rosemary.  Its smell is best described as like standing in a pine forest, while its taste is bitter and earthy.

Alpha-pinene also has potential as an anti-inflammatory agent. In a study with mice, alpha-pinene effectively reduced inflammation by blocking certain pathways and substances that cause inflammation in the body’s immune cells. It notably decreased the production of substances like interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor, typically involved in the body’s inflammatory response. This suggests that alpha-pinene could potentially be developed into a medication for treating various inflammatory conditions.


Beta-pinene is found in basil, dill, hops, and parsley. It has a minty scent reminiscent of eucalyptus more so than pine, and tastes woody and resinous.

Beta-pinene can be helpful for inflammatory diseases such as diabetes. In a study involving diabetic rats, beta-pinene treatment decreased blood sugar, triglycerides, and various types of cholesterol compared to a control group. Additionally, when combined with the diabetes drug glibenclamide, it significantly lowered blood glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides. Furthermore, beta-pinene effectively reduced inflammation and white blood cell migration in specific inflammation models, indicating its potential as an anti-inflammatory treatment.


Linalool is a compound found in cannabis, citrus fruits, cinnamon, mint, rosewood, and laurels. It smells strongly of lavender and has a light, citrusy flavor.

Linalool has special potential as an anti-inflammatory agent. In a study, scientists tested it on brain immune cells that were stimulated to cause inflammation. They found that linalool effectively reduced several key markers of inflammation.

It works by blocking a common pathway that usually leads to inflammation and activating a protective pathway known for fighting inflammation. When the protective pathway was turned off, linalool’s ability to reduce inflammation decreased. This suggests that linalool’s anti-inflammatory properties are largely due to its activation of this protective pathway in the brain’s immune cells.


Beta-caryophyllene is found in many spices used in cooking for their sharp, pungent aroma and taste (including black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and rosemary), as well as in hops, cannabis, chamomile, and ylang-ylang.

Beta-caryophyllene shows much promise for the future of anti-inflammatory drug development. A COVID-19-related study showed that it worked by activating CB2 receptors, which are part of the body’s cannabinoid system and are known for their role in reducing inflammation. 

Beta-caryophyllene is effective because it’s a strong activator of these receptors. It also interacts with other receptors in the body (like peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors) that help reduce inflammation. 


Beta-ocimene is found in basil, cannabis, kumquats, mangos, mint, orchids, parsley, pepper, and tarragon. It has a sweet citrus flavor with herbal, earthy undertones.

Beta-ocimene is another terpene with anti-inflammatory potential. In research focusing on oils rich in beta-ocimene, it was discovered that both the oil and a component called sabinene significantly reduced inflammation. 

They did this by inhibiting the production of nitric oxide (NO), a substance commonly produced during inflammation, in immune cells treated with certain inflammatory triggers. Additionally, the essential oil demonstrated a strong ability to neutralize nitric oxide and prevent the expression of an enzyme responsible for producing NO during inflammation. 

Best Cannabis Strains for Inflammation

Some cannabis strains that people suggest help with their own experience with inflammation are listed below. These strains would be a good place to start exploring. Just remember that experiences vary from person to person based on many external and internal factors. 

  • CBD Blue Shark
  • Sour Tsunami
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • ACDC
  • Cannatonic
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Strawberry Sorbet
  • Harlequin
  • Jack Herer

Lab Effects: Natural Botanical and Cannabis Terpenes Wholesale

Lab Effects has 40+ true-to-flower cannabis-derived terpene strains on sale, many of which have been covered in this blog.

We derive all of our terpenes solely from 100% natural, plant-derived sources and never mix in artificial additives or chemicals.

We guarantee all of our terpenes and terpene blends for purity and consistency. We’re happy to help you customize your choice of terpenes to create blends that meet your precise needs and preferences.

Order cannabis terpenes wholesale today from a reputable company in the U.S. cannabis industry. Lab Effects is cGMP-certified, ISO 9001-certified, HACCP-certified, FDA-registered, and ANAB-accredited.


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