What is Limonene Terpene? Effects and Benefits

Limonene 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 a popular choice when seeking out good terpenes. 

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

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What Is Limonene? 

Limonene is a type of terpene. Terpenes are compounds within cannabis plants that 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 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.


Where Is Limonene Found?

Limonene 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 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 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 to create citrus-flavored products

However, this is not always the case. Sometimes, the amount of limonene 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 rather than relying on smell alone. 

Strains high in limonene include Berry White, Black Cherry Soda, Cinex, Jack Herer, Jack the Ripper, Lemon Diesel, Purple Hindu Kush, Super Lemon Haze, Wedding Cake, and several OG cultivars. While there are plenty of other strains that contain limonene, these have it in higher amounts. 

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Other Substances

Limonene 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 is like, think of a citrus peel, and you’ll get a pretty good idea. 

In addition, limonene 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. 

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

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

What Are the Mental Benefits of Limonene? 

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

One of the most obvious effects of limonene comes from its aroma. Limonene 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 has the potential to alter your mood

While the aroma of limonene 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 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 does. 

However, when considering the mental benefits of limonene, 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, it is difficult to separate the aromatic effects from the chemical effects. Smelling limonene 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? 

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 by humans. 

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

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On top of this, limonene 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 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 achieves the health benefits it is said to provide and often uses higher doses of limonene than what is typically found in most products. So, be wary when using limonene for health purposes.

The Impact of Limonene

Limonene 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.

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

Last Updated on September 1, 2023 by Megan Mbengue, BSN, RN, CHPN

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