Does Black Pepper Relieve Cannabis-Induced Anxiety?
Could just a whiff of Black Pepper be all it takes to calm the mind?
The relationship between cannabis and anxiety is a rather complex one, to say the least. Many use cannabis to unwind, relax and precisely to reduce anxiety. However, for some cannabis can trigger paranoia and mental turmoil. Wether one or the other reaction takes over depends on many factors such as the THC and CBD level of the strain, its terpene profile, the mindset of the user, the balance of the endocannabinoid system, gender and more that are yet to be explored. Whatever the reasons might be, some users do experience cannabis-induced anxiety, and black pepper might be the answer.
The Power of Black Pepper
According to a study published in the August 2011 edition of the British Journal of Pharmacology entitled "Taming THC", terpenes (the flavour-generating components in plants) could hold the secret (or rather the key) to understanding and isolating what many scientists have dubbed the "entourage effect" of cannabis. Black peppercorns inherently possess an active terpene called pinene. The soothing effects said to derive from black peppercorns are produced by this particular Terpene. Like black peppercorns, mangos also harbour their own terpene, this one is called mycrene. Mycrene is said to improve the effects of cannabis if ingested an hour prior to sparking up.
Writer Owen Smith of Cannabis Digest said he witnessed firsthand the impact pepper had on cannabis users. "Most patients who have tried this simply took a few sniffs of the black pepper to receive an almost immediate effect," he wrote. "Others have reported that after chewing on peppercorns they felt relief within an hour, but that may be a delay most would seek to avoid."
Generally speaking, cannabis is known to produce a wide spectrum of effects from rendering an individual wide awake to sending them straight to sleep - depending on the strain. Cannabis cultivators have been tailoring their stashes to uniformly exhibit a certain cannabinoid/terpene profile - to produce particular effects for quite some time. Cannabidiol (CBD) and terpenes are (after ongoing but extensive research) being recognized and utilized as essential components to counter the unwelcomed effects of THC rich cannabis, such anxiety and paranoia. Author of the British Journal of Pharmacology Ethan Russo is a firm believer in terpenes, reiterating this point in his 2002 study ("The Inheritance of Chemical Phenotypes in Cannabis Sativa") suggesting that growers focus on their desired terpenes when breeding.
The benefits of terpenes are widely recognized, but they are only now being explored - you could say no longer being taken with just a pinch of salt.