What is Limonene Terpene Effects and Benefits

Lemon halves with cannabis flowers

Limonene terpene is a major type of terpene found in cannabis. Like other terpenes, it contributes a signature aroma when it is used and has a few specific effects. These make limonene terpene a popular choice when seeking out good terpenes. 

So, what exactly is limonene terpene, and what does it do? This article will explore some details behind this terpene, the effects it produces, and the benefits it provides. 

Related: CBD and Antidepressants: Benefits & Risks

What Is Limonene Terpene? 

Limonene terpene is a type of terpene mainly found in lemon and citrus fruits. It is the reason oranges smell like oranges. Note that terpenes are also found within cannabis plants and they are responsible for a few of the plant’s properties. These include the aroma of the plant and a significant role in the plant’s immune system. 

Limonene terpene is notable, as a terpene, for its citrus smell. This is a prominent feature in many of the cannabis strains it is found in and in many of the oils that use it as an ingredient. It is also notable for providing a few specific mental and physical benefits to humans. 

Although limonene terpene is non-intoxicating, it can mimic the activity of cannabinoids (cannabimimetic activity). As a terpene, it plays a critical role in the entourage effect as it can modulate the behavior of cannabinoids like CBD and THC at the receptors. It also promotes the activities of other terpenoids like beta-caryophyllene and myrcene. 

Where Is Limonene Terpene Found?

limonene terpene isn’t found in all types of cannabis. Like other terpenes, it is found in different concentrations depending on the exact cannabis strain. It is also found naturally, outside of cannabis, in a few common places. 

Cannabis Strains 

As already stated, limonene terpene has a strong citrus smell. This is the factor it is probably most known for. Because of this, you can often identify a cannabis strain that contains limonene terpene based on the fact that it has a citrus aroma to it. This is even the case in many CBD products, as they often leverage the smell of limonene terpene to create citrus-flavored products

However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the amount of limonene terpene present is small or is covered up by other aromas, preventing you from identifying it correctly. In addition, some citrus CBD products get their smell from other ingredients. This is why it is better to know which strains contain limonene terpene rather than relying on smell alone. 

Strains high in limonene terpene include 

  • Berry White 
  • Black Cherry Soda 
  • Cinex 
  • Jack Herer 
  • Jack the Ripper 
  • Lemon Diesel
  • Purple Hindu Kush 
  • Super Lemon Haze 
  • Wedding Cake 
  • several OG cultivars. 

While there are plenty of other strains that contain limonene terpene, these have it in higher amounts. 

Limonene terpene plays several roles in the cannabis plant and cannabis products by modulating the effect of cannabinoids like CBD and THC. Limonene terpene increases the absorption of cannabinoids and terpenes via the skin, mucous membrane, and digestive tract. There is little to no information on how limonene terpene achieves this feat.

Limonene terpene does not interact directly with the cannabis receptors but is most likely to modulate the activities of neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid). Serotonin is responsible for relaxation and stress, while GABA receptors control anxiety, stress, and fear. 

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Other Substances

Limonene terpene is one of the central components of citrus peels. It is the substance that gives these peels their distinctive smell. This is the place it is most prominently found in nature. So, if you weren’t sure what limonene terpene is like, think of a citrus peel, and you’ll get a pretty good idea. 

In addition, limonene terpene is found in a wide variety of evergreen trees. If you’ve ever taken a walk in the woods and smelled a faintly citrus smell from these trees, chances are it was due to limonene terpene. 

Because of its pleasing smell, limonene terpene is used in many fragrances. In addition, it is used in cleaning products, especially those trying to use natural ingredients.

Happy woman with her arms outstretched
Happy woman with her arms outstretched

Related: Science of THC: How Marijuana Affects the Brain & Body

What Are the Mental Benefits of Limonene Terpene?

Like many of the compounds derived from cannabis plants, limonene terpene has a range of mental benefits. These impact the mind in different ways. 

One of the most obvious effects of limonene terpene comes from its aroma. limonene terpene has a wonderful aromatic effect that rivals anything else out there. People across the world have enjoyed the scent of citrus since coming into contact with the fruit and have experienced benefits from it. Because of its connection to the smell of citrus, simply smelling limonene terpene has the potential to alter your mood

While the aroma of limonene terpene is obvious, the other effects it produces are more subtle. Specifically, it has the potential to improve your mood and relieve stress due to the increase of dopamine and serotonin levels. This is particularly true when limonene terpene is used alongside other cannabinoids, as terpenes help enhance the mental benefits of cannabinoids. 

This makes it similar to many types of full-spectrum CBD treatments. Many of these treatments are designed to induce a tranquil mood, which is similar to what limonene terpene does. 

However, when considering the mental benefits of limonene terpene, it is important to note that these have not been fully tested yet. Research into terpenes, in general, is still in the early stages, so it is still too early to confirm many of these. 

In addition, when it comes to the mental benefits of limonene terpene, it is difficult to separate the aromatic effects from the chemical effects. Smelling limonene terpene may improve your mood through a chemical process, via some interaction with your brain, or simply because it smells good, as scents have a powerful mental effect. At the moment, it is impossible to say how much relates to one or the other. 

What Are the Physical Benefits of Limonene Terpene? 

In plants, most terpenes play a role in the plant’s immune system. They help ward off potential problems and keep the plant healthier. Some of these same effects have been seen in the use of limonene terpene by humans. 

Some studies have indicated that limonene terpene has the potential to help the body fight against tumors. Early research shows that they may be responsible for causing the early death of tumor cells, which is an obvious help in the body’s fight against these cells. 

These same studies also connect limonene terpene to cancer prevention. They found that limonene terpene helped slow the growth of lung cancer cells and suppress the growth of transplanted tumors in mice. Limonene terpene also has a connection to fighting against breast cancer

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On top of this, limonene terpene is reported to have a few other beneficial properties. These include antifungal and antibacterial properties, which help protect the body from harmful substances. In addition, it may help with digestive issues, including heartburn and gastric reflux. 

However, like the mental benefits, the physical benefits of limonene terpene have yet to be fully proven. Early testing in mice does not always translate to similar effects in humans. Plus, this testing has yet to show how exactly limonene terpene achieves the health benefits it is said to provide and often uses higher doses of limonene terpene than what is typically found in most products. So, be wary when using limonene terpene for health purposes.

Happy woman with her arms outstretched
Happy woman with her arms outstretched

The Impact of Limonene Terpene

Limonene terpene is a unique terpene. It has an amazing aroma and a host of potential benefits. If you’re looking at CBD products with terpenes, make sure to keep an eye out for those containing limonene terpene.

Related: THC-V: Everything You Need to Know About “Diet Weed”

Last Updated on September 29, 2023 by Megan Mbengue, BSN, RN, CHPN

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