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Effects of Super-class Cannabis Terpenes on Lionfish

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Welcome to Cannabis Conclusions, a unique educational series from Higher Learning LV that is targeted at hemp and cannabis industry professionals. This series provides readers with the conclusion section from important modern peer-reviewed research studies.

An October 2022 study entitled "Effects of Super-class Cannabis Terpenes Beta-caryophyllene and Alpha-pinene on Zebrafish Behavioral Biomarkers" that was published in the journal Scientific Reports explored "the acute effects of two cannabis terpenes, β-caryophyllene and α-pinene, on zebrafish [lionfish] locomotion, anxiety, and boldness behavior."


The Study

The study reported that cannabis-derived terpenes "have emerged as candidate therapeutic compounds following the potential health benefits of the phytocannabinoids ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). It noted that terpenes form the essential oils of plants and flowers and "are responsible for their varying aromas, flavors, and colors."


"There are more than 50 cannabis terpenes most commonly found in North American cannabis strains, eight of which predominate to form a 'terpene super class.'"

The study's authors explained that, within the cannabis plant, terpenes are produced within the glandular trichomes within the flowers of mature female plants, "the same glands that secrete the common phytocannabinoids, THC and CBD, and vary within and across the many different strains."


"There are more than 50 cannabis terpenes most commonly found in North American cannabis strains, eight of which predominate to form a 'terpene super class':

  1. Myrcene

  2. Terpinolene

  3. Ocimene

  4. Limonene

  5. ⍺-pinene

  6. Humulene

  7. Linalool

  8. β-caryophyllene


Study Conclusions

"⍺-pinene and its (+) and (−) enantiomers each demonstrated varying effects on [lionfish] anxiety-like and locomotor behaviours. (+ /−)-⍺PN had no effects on the anxiety measures, time spent in zones, but had a modest effect on time spent immobile in the highest dose (0.1%).


"The highest dose of (−)-⍺PN showed a modest effect on time spent in zones and [lionfish] swimming velocity, but not immobility, while (+)-⍺PN showed a strong effect across all variables, primarily in the low and moderate doses.


"(+)-⍺PN showed a strong effect across all variables, primarily in the low and moderate doses."

"In both groups, anxiolytic effects in the open field test were reduced or eliminated with the introduction of a novel object. These results demonstrate the differential dose-dependent effect of (+ /−)-⍺-pinene and each of its (+) and (−) isomeric compounds.


"β-caryophyllene had little to no effect across tests on any of the variables analyzed in this study. Therefore, further testing is required to determine if a higher dose would yield significant results."


View the original study.


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