THC may be the most popular and prominent compound in the cannabis plant, but it’s not the only one. In fact, there are hundreds of compounds found in cannabis plants; the most common being cannabinoids and terpenes.
Terpenes in Cannabis
Terpenes are chemical compounds that naturally occur in plants, including cannabis. They’re to thank for the aromas, and flavors associated with cannabis as well as the potential effects and therapeutic benefits.
400 known terpenes have been found in cannabis, but only a limited amount have been studied and are known to have specific effects. Some of the most common and studied terpenes found in cannabis include limonene, linalool, myrcene, humulene, pinene, terpinolene, and caryophyllene. Potential effects include anxiety relief as well as mood-enhancing, sedative, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.
Prominent in many popular strains, limonene is one of the most abundant terpenes in cannabis. In fact, it’s the second most common terpene in nature, found in lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruit, and much more. It’s one of the easiest terpenes to detect in cannabis due to its notable zesty citrus flavor and aroma. Aside from its delectable fragrance, limonene holds many potential therapeutic benefits.
Let’s dive into everything that limonene has to offer.
Limonene: Aroma & Flavors
Limonene has one of the most distinct and recognizable smells out of all other terpenes found in cannabis. It gets its name from its abundant presence in citrus fruit peels, especially lemons. It also occurs naturally in mint, rosemary, pine, juniper, and fennel.
Due to its delectable fragrance and antibacterial properties, this terpene is commonly used in lotions, soaps, and cleaning supplies.
Limonene: Effects & Benefits
Limonene has a range of potential therapeutic benefits. It has been explored for its anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, antibacterial, and anticancer properties. Studies have shown that it has the potential to relieve stress, elevate mood, relieve heartburn and gastric reflux, and improve absorption of other terpenes and chemicals.
Studies have found that limonene has antidepressant qualities due to it increasing serotonin and dopamine levels. In a small study, 9 out of 12 hospitalized patients had reduced needs for antidepressant medication after consuming limonene, as well as normalized stress hormone levels and improved immune function. Studies have also shown that limonene consumption reduces anxiety and OCD-like behavior in lab mice.
Research has shown promising evidence that limonene has anti-cancer and anti-tumor effects. Limonene inhibited the growth of skin and mammary tumors in lab rodents. Additionally, a human clinical trial showed that limonene may be effective at reducing breast cancer tumor growth. Further research showed that daily limonene supplementation silenced a protein that promotes breast cancer tumors.
More research has shown that limonene causes tumor cell death in lung cancer and brain cancer. However, high doses are likely needed for these benefits; doses that are not present in cannabis alone. Therefore, there is not enough evidence to prove that limonene-dominant cannabis strains is effective as a cancer treatment.
As one of the most common terpenes, limonene has a dominant presence in hundreds of strains. And even if it’s not the dominant terpene, it’s found in the majority of cannabis, at varying levels.
Here are five strains that tend to be limonene-dominant.
5 Strains That are Limonene-Dominant
Leafly’s 2021 Strain of the Year, Do-Si-Dos, is an indica-dominant hybrid strain. Also known as Dosi and Dosidos, it’s made by crossing Face Off OG with the renowned Girl Scout Cookies. Do-Si-Dos is known for its potentially full-body sedative effects that may melt you into the couch.
Its potency and terpene profile is a big reason for its award-winning status. Dosi sits around 20% THC and has 1% CBG, which can be to thank for its sedative effects. With a high content of limonene, Dosi holds a lemon fragrance blended with OG notes.
Wedding Cake is a potent indica-dominant hybrid that has won many awards, including Leafly’s 2019 Strain of the Year. Also known as Triangle Mints #23 and Pink Cookies (mainly in Canada), this strain is a cross between Triangle Kush and Animal Mints. Wedding Cake may calm the mind with its relaxing and euphoric effects. Medical users may find it helps with pain, insomnia, and appetite.
With a high potency of around 24% THC and 1% CBG, Wedding Cake packs a punch. The high content of limonene gives it a citrus flavor, paired with its fruity, vanilla scent from its parents.
MAC, which stands for Miracle Alien Cookies, is a potent hybrid strain made by crossing Alien Cookies with Starfighter and the landrace Columbian strain. Creatives love MAC as it is known to potentially produce uplifting and motivating effects, perfect for artistic exploration. Medical users find it may help relieve symptoms of stress and depression.
MAC has a high potency of around 22% THC, with 1% CBG. Its most prominent terpene is limonene, lending it citrus, earthy aroma.
Banana OG is an indica-dominant hybrid that’s popular for its unique banana aroma. It’s made by crossing the classic OG Kush strain with Banana, an offspring of the Haze family. It holds a high THC level of around 20%, with 1% CBG as well. It has a reputation for potentially providing a relaxing, sedative experience that may end in intense hunger.
Though the name suggests its banana fragrance, Banana OG also has hints of citrus aromas due to its high content of limonene.
Image via Caroline’s Cannabis
LA Kush Cake
LA Kush Cake is an indica-dominant hybrid strain created by Liberty Healthy Sciences and Seed Junky Genetics. They crossed the renowned Wedding Cake strain with Kush Mints, RMR’s 2021 Strain of the Year. Also known as Los Angeles Kush Cake, it may be great for easing stress, relaxing, and getting a good night’s sleep.
LA Kush Cake is a potent strain, sitting at around 23% THC and 1% CBG. Limonene lends it a citrus scent, with hints of vanilla and an earthy peppermint taste.