Medical Research

How Does Alpha Pinene Effect Memory?

Written by Robert Hammell

As the discovery of more terpenes and their effects continues to blossom, one of the most beneficial is proving to be Alpha Pinene.[1] With applications from fragrances to inflammation relief, A very exciting benefit of pinene may come in the field of cognitive functions, specifically
through improved memory function.


Neurological Effects of Pinene

In one 2017 study that demonstrated the possible effect of alpha pinene on memory, researchers set out to test for a natural therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease.[2]

The Authors indicate that Alzheimer’s stems from various forms of neurological distress in the regions of the brain that are responsible for memories. While some treatment does exist, the benefits are usually mild and short term and there are multiple side effects that are undesirable. When testing pinene on mice, they discovered that mice who received doses of the terpene were able to solve various mazes significantly faster than mice who did not. They credit this to a molecular response in the brain that helps to bypass
various neurodegenerative diseases.


Pinene and Short Term Memory

Pinene demonstrates effective improvement in short-term memory loss through its acetylcholinesterase inhibition.[3] Because of this, Pinene has also been proposed as an anti -THC molecule.[4] Though data is incomplete, there is evidence that indicates it may be useful in limiting addition downsides of THC use besides short term memory problems, including paranoia, anxiety, and even cannabis intoxication. More data is needed to confirm just how effective pinene is to counteract THC downsides, as the effects may be a correlation, not a



1. Allenspach, M., & Steuer, C. (2021). α-Pinene: A never-ending story. Phytochemistry, 190, 112857.

2. Lee, G. (2017, November 1). Increasing evidence suggests that neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are mediated via disruption of cholinergic neurons and enhanced oxidative stress. Therefore, attention has been focused on searching for antioxidant phytochemicals for the prevention and/or treatment of AD through their ability to fortify cholinergic function and antioxidant defense capacity. In this study, we have investigated the neuroprotective effect of α-pinene (APN) against learning and memory impairment induced by scopolamine (SCO, 1 mg/kg, i.p.), a muscarinic receptor antagonist in C57BL/6 mice.

Administration of APN (10 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly improved SCO-induced cognitive dysfunction
as assessed by Y-maze and passive avoidance tests…”.

3. Perry, N. S. L., Houghton, P. J., Theobald, A., Jenner, P., & Perry, E. K. (2000). In-vitro Inhibition of Human Erythrocyte Acetylcholinesterase by Salvia lavandulaefolia Essential Oil and Constituent Terpenes. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 52(7), 895–902.

4. Lewis, M., Russo, E., & Smith, K. (2017). Pharmacological Foundations of Cannabis Chemovars.
Planta Medica, 84(04), 225–233.

About the author

Robert Hammell

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