The CDC estimates that around 35% of Americans don’t get enough sleep. A lot of factors, including overwork, can make you lose sleep, but far too many people live their lives perpetually exhausted because they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
The market for natural sleep remedies will only get larger with time, and a growing number of consumers are curious about the sleep benefits that cannabinoids and other substances found in cannabis might provide. Can terpenes boost the effects of soporific cannabinoids or serve as natural sleep-inducing substances in their own right?
What does it mean if a substance is sedative?
Before we find out if terpenes offer sedative effects, let’s definitively determine what it means for a substance to be sedative. Substances with sedative properties offer one or more of the following effects:
- Locomotor inhibition: This is a fancy phrase for reduced physical activity. The “couch-lock” provided by certain cannabis strains is a type of locomotor inhibition.
- Hypnotic: A substance is hypnotic if it directly induces sleep. Hypnotic sedatives can reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep or help you sleep longer.
- Anxiolytic: Anxiety is one of the main factors that prevents sleep. Many sedative substances reduce anxiety.
- Anticonvulsant: Substances with anticonvulsant properties also often have sedative effects due to their inhibition of neuronal activity.
- Analgesic: A substance can also be sedative if it is analgesic since pain is one of the main factors that keeps people awake.
Do terpenes help you sleep?
Yes, research indicates that some terpenes have sedative properties. Terpenes can be found both in cannabis and thousands of other plants, and there appears to be no difference in the sedative potential of cannabis-derived versus botanically derived terpenes.
Each terpene has a unique chemical structure, and as a result, some terpenes are better for helping you get to sleep than others. Combining multiple terpenes that are known to have sedative properties may offer better effects than using an isolated terpene on its own.
What terpene is best for sleep?
Scientists have researched the terpenes myrcene, alpha-terpinene, linalool, terpinolene, and pinene for their potential sleep-inducing effects. Let’s examine the research that’s been conducted into the sedative properties of each of these terpenes:
1. Does myrcene make you tired?
As one of the most abundant terpenes, myrcene is also one of the most-researched. In the process of learning about myrcene, scientists investigated this terpene’s sedative properties. A 2002 study published in the journal Phytomedicine, for instance, reports the effects of myrcene in animals when administered as a sedative.
2. Does alpha-terpinene make you tired?
Terpenine is a rare terpene that has been investigated for its sedative potential. A component of anshen essential oil and various cannabis strains, alpha-terpinene was included in a 2019 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine that investigated the sedative properties of multiple terpenes.
3. Does linalool make you tired?
The terpene linalool is one of the main constituents of lavender extract, which is often used in aromatherapy to help with sleep. Linalool is well-known to interact significantly with the nervous system, and a 2013 scientific review published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine thoroughly investigates the sedative properties of linalool and other lavender constituents.
4. Does terpinolene make you tired?
The semi-rare terpene terpinolene has been researched for its potential sedative effects. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Natural Medicine detailed efforts to determine the sedative effects of inhaled terpinolene in mice.
5. Does pinene make you tired?
Pinene has been investigated for its anxiolytic, locomotor-suppressive, and sleep-duration effects. A 2016 study published in Molecular Pharmacology, for instance, investigated pinene’s potential to increase the amount of time you sleep at night.
Which terpenes are best for pain?
In many cases, poor sleep is caused by an underlying condition like chronic pain. Treating chronic pain can result in better sleep even when directly manipulating the biochemical mechanisms involved with sleep does not.
We cover the details on using terpenes for pain in another guide. Let’s briefly summarize our findings by listing the five terpenes that have been most-researched for pain:
As you can see, many of the most promising terpenes for sleep have also been researched for their potential pain-relieving properties. If you want to cover all your bases, formulate products with terpenes that might help with both pain and sleep.
Which terpenes are best for anxiety?
Reducing the symptoms of anxiety, therefore, would also improve insomnia, and vice versa. We’ll cover the details surrounding the best terpenes for anxiety in another guide, but let’s start by listing the five terpenes that have been most-researched for their potential anxiolytic properties:
Again, we see considerable overlap between the terpenes that have been researched for anxiety and the terpenes that have been researched for sleep, partially due to the fact that only a handful of terpenes have been well-researched. It’s entirely possible that many more terpenes are also useful for anxiety and sleep, and these properties simply haven’t been discovered yet.
Which terpene blends are best for sleep products?
When choosing terpene blends to help with sleep, it’s best to select blends that contain as many sedative terpenes as possible. Cannabis sativa has naturally evolved to express medleys of terpenes that have each been examined for their potential sedative effects.
Deriving terpenes from cannabis, however, enters a legal gray area that’s right to make you nervous. Thankfully, it’s possible to reconstruct the exact terpene profiles present in notable sedative cannabis strains using terpenes derived from other plants.
At Terpene Warehouse, our terpene blends exclusively contain non-cannabis compounds. Here are some examples of our strain-specific botanical terpene blends that are uniquely suited for sleep-oriented products:
Banana OG is a potent Indica strain that’s known for its high limonene content. This strain also contains high concentrations of pinene and myrcene, making its terpene profile ideal for any product that’s designed to improve sleep.
Girl Scout Cookies is one of the most beloved cannabis strains of all time. Renowned for its high concentrations of myrcene and limonene, GSC also contains considerable amounts of pinene and linalool.
Blue Dream is a hybrid strain that veteran cannabis smokers might not immediately associate with sleep. This strain, however, contains massive concentrations of myrcene and pinene, and its next most abundant terpenes are limonene and linalool.
Formulate products that promote better sleep naturally with terpenes
There’s so much more to cannabis than just cannabinoids. As research has progressed, we’ve learned that terpenes are just as beneficial, and we’ve even learned that terpenes don’t have to come from cannabis.
Whether you combine them with cannabinoids or let them stand alone, terpenes are more than capable of holding any sleep-oriented product together. Pick one of our suggested Terpene Warehouse terpene profiles to start formulating a sleep-oriented product line that embraces the full power of non-intoxicating terpenes.