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Terpenes of the Future: Camphene

It’s possible that if you’ve ever checked out your grandmother’s medicine box, she may have a bottle of camphor oil, and its smell probably brings back strong memories. As a cyclic monoterpene, camphene isn’t necessarily its terpenoid cousin camphor, but it does help power the aroma emitted by conifers like Douglas Firs — piney like pinene, yet with a damper, more pungent overtone. It’s present in citronella candles and at one point in flea and tick collars that were also advertised as tranquilizing agents for barking. (However, citronella oil is not recommended for pets by vets anymore due to potential toxicity.)

While using camphene on Fido is now discouraged, there’s a long history of using camphene as an ingredient in topicals that treat fungal skin diseases like eczema and athlete’s foot. Yet there’s been some newer research that has opened up exciting new vistas for its potential use in other conditions. Let’s take a look at them.

The Effects & Medicinal Uses of Camphene

Cholesterol reducer: One study conducted in hyperlipidemic rats found an overall 54.5% total decrease in cholesterol levels, including 54% of LDL-cholesterol and 34.5% in triglycerides. Because of hyperlipidemia’s outsized role in cardiovascular disease, this has lent camphene the nickname of the “cardiovascular terpene.”

Anticancer: Tested against a number of cancer cell lines, camphene created apoptosis, or cell death, amongst several of them. It also displayed strong antitumoral activity against a grafted tumor on a mouse subject.

Antioxidant: Pitted against two other monoterpenes (p-cymene and geranyl acetate) camphene was deemed the strongest antioxidant performer. It also performed strong scavenging activity against free radicals like hydroxyl.

Anti-fat: A 2014 study found that mice on a high-fat diet, when given 200 mg per kilogram of camphene, showed a 17% reduction of body weight against the control group.

COPD: Studies of camphene in entourage with menthol and other essential oils showed a reduction of bronchospasm in animals. Bronchospasm constricts air passageways in the lungs by tightening the muscles, and it’s often found in conditions like asthma, allergies and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease, or COPD

Pesticide Woes: The camphene-containing Toxaphene is one of the organochlorinated pesticides whose use has been discouraged ever since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. It’s a known endocrine disruptor and if it’s anything like others in its family, it’s also neurotoxic as well. In short, stay away, and if you’re growing, avoid it at all costs as a pesticide because it takes an extremely long time to degrade. 

Camphene in Cannabis

Camphene is often found in cannabis, albeit in extremely low concentrations. However, these strains have a bit more than most:

  • Mendocino Purps 
  • Ghost OG
  • Strawberry Banana

The leaves of Holy Basil are also not only rich in camphene but Vitamin C, which works well with camphene in entourage!



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