Antimicrobial Properties of Pinene

In a study done in 2007 published in the Brazilian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, scientists wanted to see how b-pinene and a-pinene inhibited the growth of potential infectious endocarditis causing bacteria. It was shown that pinene did promote antibacterial activity, it was concluded that the data “…support[s] their possible and rational use in the antimicrobial therapy.” In another study published in the Chemistry of Natural Compounds, the antibacterial properties of the essential oil of fruit high in a-pinene were tested. It was concluded that “The essential oil remarkably inhibited the growth of the tested microorganisms. The results indicate that the fruits have the potential for use as an aromatic antimicrobial agent.” Since pinene is a naturally occurring compound, plants already use pinene to stunt the growth of certain unwanted bacteria. However, the results of the above studies suggest that we may be able to use the antimicrobial effects of a-pinene for the treatment of medical conditions or use in everyday products.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

In a study done by the Journal of Natural Products, scientists wanted to expand on previous studies that concluded that pinene had anti-inflammatory properties. Out of all the compounds that were tested, it was found that a-pinene was the most effective at inhibiting the inflammatory and catabolic pathways. The study concluded that “….α-pinene (1) being the most promising for further studies to determine its potential value as an antiosteoarthritic drug.” Another study concluded similar results. Published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, it was found that, “[The] results indicate that α-pinene has an anti-inflammatory effect and that it is a potential candidate as a new drug to treat various inflammatory diseases.” This result came about when the inhibitory effects of a-pinene were tested on mouse macrophages (a large stationary cell in the form of tissue or a white blood cell). In short, researchers felt that since a-pinene was so effective at treating inflammation, it would be worth it to commit to future studies to investigate the potential use of a-pinene as a medical treatment.

Pinene and Memory

Because of Pinenes antioxidant properties, scientists from the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine tested pinene’s ability to fight the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. For this study, the memory function on mice was tested by measuring their ability to find a platform hidden within a maze. The memory function of the mice that were treated with pinene improved more than the group who was not treated. The scientists concluded that “[The] findings suggest the possible neuroprotective potentials of APN for the management of dementia with learning and memory loss.” Another study conducted by the Journal of Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry also found pinene to be effective. For this study, mice were put through a passive avoidance test after they were induced with amnesia. The group that was treated with an essential oil high in pinene ( A. koreana) showed a memory enhancement of 72.7% compared to the control group. The researchers concluded that “[The] results suggest that EO of A. koreana may be a useful therapeutic agent against such amnesia-inducing diseases as Alzheimer and vascular dementia.” This may all seem very exciting, but don’t get too excited just yet. Much more research is needed to understand just how pinene affects the brain and how we may use it to treat medical conditions. It’s also important to note that the above results were achieved when mice were either being fed or injected with pinene directly. There has not been any research studying the effects of humans smoking cannabis strains high in pinene. Therefore, we have no way of accurately comparing the two until more research has been done. Although the cure for Alzheimer’s Disease is still out of our grasp, the studies on terpenes and other natural remedies is an encouraging step forward for medical research.