Increasingly, savvy cannabis consumers are focusing on terpenes—a fragrant hydrocarbon or “essential oils” to the rest of us—as a way to characterize different strains.
Don’t worry. We’re not saying you should forget what you’ve learned about cannabinoids (scroll through our Educational Blogs for a refresher). They’re still an extremely useful way to characterize and interpret different cannabis strains.
But terpenes impart their own subtle but powerful characteristics to the mix. And besides imparting lovely aromas and flavors, they just may do a lot for our bodies and our minds.
Today we’re going to focus on limonene, one of the ten most important of the terpenes in cannabis. It’s an especially fascinating one. In addition to its own powerful effects, it helps our bodies absorb other terpenes as well.
What Does Limonene Smell and Taste Like?
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that limonene occurs in citrus fruits. It’s found in lemon rinds—if you’ve ever squeezed a bit of lemon or orange peel over an open flame, those little flares are mostly limonene—and it’s used in medicines, foods, and all-natural cleaning products like dish detergent.
What Does It Do For Us?
Limonene exhibits many effects on the body, as we’ll share below. But one of limonene’s greatest benefits is that it’s a “helper terpene,” facilitating the absorption of other terpenes through the skin, mucous membranes, and gut. In other words, it helps potentiate other useful compounds like humulene and ocimene.
General Mood: Many people find that limonene lends a generalized feeling of uplift and well-being. That’s one reason citrus fruits are often associated with positivity and cheer, and why their rinds and fruit find their way into so many delicious foods and beverages.
Anti-Fungal: As one study suggests, because it’s so readily absorbed through the skin, limonene may make a promising treatment for some stubborn fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and yeast outbreaks.
Anti-Cancer: Finding a cure for cancer is perhaps the single most pressing “holy grail” of medical research. While this goal is still years away, it appears that limonene—like many other terpenes—may have a role to play. Studies conducted by the University of Arizona suggest that limonene helps to regulate our immune system—a hugely important factor in fighting cancer as well as many other diseases—but may also play a direct role in controlling the spread of certain cancers themselves.
How to Get Limonene from Cannabis
Limonene is highly abundant in cannabis, although not all high-limonene strains smell like fresh lemons. Strangely, sometimes the terpene may have a more subtle citrus scent, or may not even exhibit one at all.
That said, strains with “lemon” in their name are a good indicator of limonene content. They include:
Strawberry Diesel: A versatile hybrid, this strain is useful for daytime use. Be forewarned: It’s fast-acting and intense, so as with all cannabis, it’s best to go low and slow.
White Fire OG: Another strain that won’t leave you feeling drowsy, White Fire OG can be great in social situations or as a creativity stimulus. Some users point to its anxiety- and depression-fighting qualities, and it’s popular with medical patients seeking relief from symptoms related to cancer treatments.
Purple Punch is a potent and sleepy strain! Some call it a great “dessert” due both for its heavy sedating qualities and it’s delicious fruity flavors and aromas.
While we can’t promise that the limonene in cannabis will give you the same benefits of limonene on its own, it’s still pretty cool to be aware of all the amazing components that make up a good bud.
Looking for some strains featuring your favorite terpenes? Find your nearest Have a Heart location below!