Limonene and the Power of Terpenes

limonene oils and lemons
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Within the cannabis plant, not only are there cannabinoids that contain powerful medical and therapeutic effects, but there are also terpenes, which contain a variety of positive health benefits as well. So far, there are 20,000 different terpenes that are found in nature, and people have been using them for different purposes for many years, according to One very common terpene is called “limonene,” and it has been used as a medicine for centuries.

What Are Terpenes?

According to MassRoots, terpenes are produced in special secretory cells within the trichomes of cannabis, and they’re the microscopic resinous stalks that cover the cannabis flowers. Terpenes help in the production of vitamins, hormones, pigments, resins, and cannabinoids, and overall, terpenes are categorized as powerful building blocks within the cannabis plant’s physiology. Aside from terpenes providing users with medical benefits, they’re the reason why cannabis strains have potent aromas.

What is Limonene?

Limonene is a terpene named for the rinds of ‘lemons’ and ‘limes.’ Limonene has a very citrusy, sweet, and potent smell and flavor that’s similar to the smell of lemons, limes, and oranges/tangerines. Not only does limonene contain a potent citrusy smell and flavor, it’s also a colorless liquid hydrocarbon, and it’s an alkene, as stated by InnovateUS. Now, what are the medical benefits of limonene, and how can it help you?

Medical Benefits of Limonene

Limonene is used to treat a variety of medical conditions/diseases, especially depression. Research shows that limonene is an effective treatment for anxiety and depression, and this terpene can effectively relieve depression-like symptoms, according to MassRoots. Aside from treating depression and anxiety, limonene is also an effective treatment for cancer. Recently, Limonene has received attention for its anti-cancer properties. Studies from 2011 and 2014 explain how Limonene contains the ability to prevent tumors from invading surrounding tissue by decreasing its ability to create new blood vessels, according to NCBI.NLM.

Limonene’s Ability to Kill Cancer

Anti-Cancer Properties Health Limonene Terpene
Photo by: Lightspring/Shutterstock
Limonene has proven to be a significant chemotherapy preventive agent with potential value as a dietary anti-cancer treatment method, according to InnovateUS. This terpene is also an anti-proliferative, which means that it kills cancer cells. Limonene also contributes to the differentiation of cancer cells in addition to reducing breast and pancreatic cancer cells, according to TerpeneInfo.

Fortunately, limonene has been heavily researched and studied, due to its classification under ‘Class 3,’ meaning that it’s not carcinogenic to humans, and it’s not federally illegal. Therefore, multiple studies have been conducted which demonstrate limonene’s many medical benefits.

Although limonene has shown to be an effective treatment for cancer, only orally administered limonene is undergoing clinical trials for the treatment of breast cancer, according to MedicalJane. Aside from limonene being used to combat cancer, this terpene is a powerful anti-inflammatory, meaning that it’s ideal for patients suffering from arthritis and fibromyalgia, according to MassRoots.

A 2014 study demonstrated how limonene can kill tumors by starving them to prevent their proliferation, according to NCBI.NLM. Other studies were conducted at the University of Arizona’s Cancer Center in 2013 and 2015, which found that limonene can be effective in battling breast cancer in addition to successfully reducing the size of tumors.

Other Medical Benefits of Limonene

Aside from limonene acting as an effective cancer-killing treatment, this powerful terpene helps with digestion, the healing of skin and tissue regeneration, and it contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, as mentioned by MassRoots. In the past, limonene was used as a home remedy for treating acne, athlete’s foot, and other bacterial/fungal infections. According to MedicalJane, research proves how limonene can suppress the growth of many fungi and bacteria species, which makes it an ideal treatment method as compared to over-the-counter ointments and prescriptions. Limonene can also permeate proteins, adding to its fungus-fightig effectiveness.

Moreover, during clinical trials/tests on limonene’s effects, participants experienced an increase in mental focus, attention, well-being, and libido. Generally, limonene promotes an uplift in mood and attitude, as stated by MedicalJane. Other medical benefits of limonene include its ability to help and treat gastric acids/reflux/heartburn and bronchitis in addition to dissolving gallstones and providing anti-depressant effects.

Strains High in Limonene

A handful of cannabis strains that are high in limonene include OG Kush, Jack the Ripper, and Sour Diesel, according to MassRoots and Any of these strains would be ideal for those who want to consume cannabis as a form of treatment for any of the medical conditions/diseases listed above.

Overall, terpenes and cannabinoids are powerful parts of the cannabis plant, but terpenes contain many benefits that can be surprising and hard to believe. Regardless, multiple studies demonstrate limonene’s positive medical benefits, making it hard to overestimate this terpene’s contribution to cannabis’ medical benefits. Next time you go to the dispensary, ask the budtender for a strain high in terpenes, especially limonene.

To learn more about other cannabinoids like CBN, read the article below:

CBN and Its Medical Benefits

If you’re interested in finding cannabis strains with high CBD and terpenes, read the article below:

High-CBD Strains for Your Next Cannabis Session