Terpene Profile: Limonene, The Cannabis Plant’s Uplifting Mood-Booster

You probably know by now that we’re big on terpenes. They’re a major component of the cannabis plant’s enticing aromas and flavors, but they’re much more than just a pretty smell. In addition to lending specific strains their signature characteristics, research shows they can have major effects on our bodies and our minds.

Terpenes are hardly the only “active ingredients” in the cannabis plant. You’re probably already familiar with cannabinoids—including THC and CBD—which interact with our bodies in different (but equally fascinating) ways. By comparison, terpenes typically have a more subtle effect, but we’d argue they’re no less important.

One of the most notable is today’s star terpene: Limonene. Its pleasing citrus aroma sparks joy in many of our favorite strains—Lemon OG, anyone?—but it does much more than that. Read on for the flavorful details.

How Does It Affect Our Bodies?

Despite its name, limonene is actually found primarily in orange rinds, though it appears in other citrus fruits, pine trees, and in palo santo, one of our favorite ceremonial aromas. For decades, limonene has been used in medicines, foods, and even natural cleaning products.

Limonene 1

Limonene exhibits a peculiarly uplifting effect, tending to brighten our mood and even serving as an all-natural antidepressant. But one of limonene’s greatest attributes is that, due to its chemical composition, it tends to help facilitate the absorption of other terpenes through our skin, mucous membranes, and gut.

This is significant: As researchers are learning, the gut can be likened to a “second brain,” playing a large role in our regulatory functions and even our emotions. It’s believed that limonene helps maintain healthy digestion and gut function, but its benefits don’t end there. Some other areas of study include:

Anti-Cancer: While there are a lot of wild claims about cannabis “curing cancer,” limonene does actually show some promise. The University of Arizona published a pair of studies suggesting that limonene not only helps modulate and boost our immune system, but it may also play a role in controlling the spread of certain cancers.

Anti-Fungal: Limonene isn’t alone in helping fight stubborn fungal infections like thrush and athlete’s foot. Because it’s so readily absorbed through the skin, it may become an important, all-natural first line of defense against such outbreaks.

Mood Uplift: As we wrote earlier, many fans feel that limonene helps impart a generalized feeling of uplift and well-being. Speaking of which, this seems like a good point to share some of our favorite high-limonene strains.

More research needs to be done as to whether the limonene in cannabis has the same effect as those utilized in the aforementioned studies. Regardless, with it's energizing aroma, limonene lends flower a pleasant smell and feel that's always enjoyable.

Cannabis Strains with a High Limonene Content

Limonene is abundant in many cannabis strains, although not all strains containing limonene actually smell like lemon! That said, strains with “lemon” in their name are a good clue.

Lemon OG

Limonene 2

A notably fast-acting strain, this pleasingly lemon-scented kush relative imparts a heavy, head-centered high. It's sometimes described as “happy,” “creative” and “lucid.”

Purple Punch

Limonene 3

A potent and sleepy strain, some call it a great “dessert” due both for its heavy sedating qualities and its delicious, citrus-tinged flavors and aromas.

White Fire OG

Limonene 4
Source: Marijuana.com

Social butterflies turn to this strain in groups or as a creative prompt. It's also popular among patients dealing with pain, anxiety, and other symptoms.

We need more research regarding whether the limonene in cannabis has the same effect as when it's found elsewhere, but regardless, it’s an enjoyable terpene that makes for an energizing high! Stop by our Tacoma dispensary to check out some limonene-rich strains for yourself or order online now.

Terpenes and Cannabinoids: What They Are and Why You Want Them Both

A few years into the cannabis revolution, it’s a safe bet that—like most savvy cannasseurs—you’re familiar with the idea of cannabinoids. A collection of fascinating compounds which includes THC and CBD, cannabinoids are often described as the “active ingredients” in cannabis.

That’s a pretty decent way to put it, all things considered. THC, after all, is the cannabinoid responsible for the delightful euphoria we know as “being high,” as well as a host of other, equally fascinating effects in our bodies and minds.

And CBD—seemingly the hot new cannabinoid of the season—is responsible for a wide and growing list of effects on our bodies. Preliminary studies suggest it’s a powerful medicine for pain, anxiety, certain types of seizures, and potentially even cancer (though that particular goal is still a long ways away).

But that definition of cannabinoids falls short in one crucial measure. Increasingly, it’s becoming clear that they’re not the only “active ingredients” in cannabis. Welcome to the world of terpenes!

Terpenes and Cannabinoids: How They’re Different

Terpenes and Cannabinoids flower next to oils

Cannabinoids are responsible for the most obvious effects of cannabis ingestion, including its euphoric and highly relaxing qualities. So far, over 100 of them have been identified, and it’s becoming clear is that no single one is responsible for all the plant’s effects in the body. Instead, it appears they work in conjunction with one another, which is one reason many cannabis advocates prefer “whole plant” as opposed to extracted medicines.

But there’s an entirely different class of natural compounds in cannabis called terpenes. Sometimes they’re called “terpenoids." Even though the two words have slightly different technical meanings, they’re often used interchangeably.

Even if you’ve never heard of terpenes or terpenoids, you’ve sensed them. The spicy, peppery aroma and flavor you’re picking up on? That’s most likely myrcene, the most abundant of the roughly 200 thus identified in the cannabis plant. The bright citrus notes behind the pungent smell of Sour Diesel? It’s probably limonene, another common terpene.

Popular Terpenes

Terpenes are a category of fragrant hydrocarbons—that’s “essential oils” to you and me—that give different strains of cannabis, as well as countless other plants and natural substances, their distinctive aromas and flavors. So far as we currently know, terpenes don’t play as prominent a role as do cannabinoids in determining a particular cannabis strain’s characteristics, but that’s not to say they’re not important. Research has already revealed some startling facts—and intriguing possibilities—about how terpenes interact with our bodies. For instance:

Cannabinoids and Terpenes, Myrcene under magnifying glass

Myrcene has powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-fighting) qualities. Its been shown to reduce the perception of pain by helping stimulate opioid receptors in animal-based studies. Studies on humans—as well as anecdotal evidence—suggest our bodies respond the same way as well.

And the myrcene content of a cannabis plant is so important that it dictates whether or not the cannabis will exhibit a sativa-like energizing effect or an indica-like sedative effect.

Limonene: Limonene may have a role to play in medicine’s holy grail: Fighting cancer. Studies published by the University of Arizona suggest that this terpene not only helps regulate our immune system but may also play a direct role in controlling the spread of certain cancers themselves.

Eucalyptol: This pleasantly cooling terpene exhibits powerful anti-bacterial effects, and it’s effective against such nasty bugs as E. coli, Enterobacter, and Staphylococcus. Without any doubt, having cannabis certainly beats having food poisoning.

If you’d like to learn more about terpenes and cannabinoids, we’re always happy to share our knowledge. Stop by our Tacoma or Bremerton locations or drop us a line. We’d love to get to know you better!