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Terpene Spotlight: Discovering the Benefits of Pinene

Chane Leigh

by Chane Leigh

July 17, 2020 05:04 pm ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Terpene Spotlight: Discovering the Benefits of Pinene

The aroma coming from cannabis seems to attract many customers as an array of soothing scents are offered by different strains. The same glands producing those smells, also produce the variety of color found on cannabis buds (or flowers), and these glands are called terpenes. They can produce a variety of distinctive flavors such as citrus, pepper, and earthy. Which brings us to the Terpene in the spotlight… Pinene. 

Pinene happens to be one of the most researched terpenes found in cannabis. This terpene comes in two varieties called ‘alpha-pinene’ and ‘beta-pinene’. The latter, beta-pinene, gives off a basil, dill, hops, and parsley aroma while the former, gives off pine needles and rosemary aroma. Alpha-pinene, in all of its pine and rosemary glory, is significantly more common in cannabis. 

Pinene terpenes can be found in literally hundreds of other plants including, but obviously not limited to: basil, cedar, dill, eucalyptus, oranges, parsley, and pine trees. Similarly, pinene-rich cannabis can be found in many strains including all types of cannabis (Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid). To top it all off, it has its own benefits when it’s consumed.

pinene social post

Pinene Medicinal Benefits:

  • Known for its ability to produce mental focus and boost energy levels
  • Acts as a bronchodilator, which means that it can improve airflow into the longs, essentially helping asthmatics and others with lung-based conditions. 
  • It also acts as an antiinflammatory agent which is useful for conditions involving inflammation such as arthritis.
  • Has also shown to counter the short-term memory loss effect associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Thus, making it a significant ingredient in cannabis products, especially those with higher THC contents. 
  • A 2015 Chinese study shows that it can also be greatly beneficial in the fight against cancer (study on mice showed a 40% reduction in melanoma. 
  • Also has antiseptic properties that are used well in a topical ointment. 
  • This terpene also has anti-viral characteristics which, when combined with Limonene (another terpene), can be 100% effective in curing the common herpes simplex virus. 

Strains That Are High in Pinene

Indica-Dominant Strains

  • Sweet Skunk Automatic
  • Bubba Kush
  • Dutch Treat (Top 4 Pinene Content)
  • Romulan (Top 4 Pinene Content)

Sativa-Dominant Strains

  • Haze Berry
  • Royal Jack Automatic
  • Blue Dream (Top 4 Pinene Content)
  • Jack Herer (Top 4 Pinene Content)
  • Strawberry Cough

Hybrid Strains

  • ChemDawg
  • OG Kush (There is an ongoing debate between whether it is classified as hybrid or Indica-dominant)
  • Harlequin
  • Penelope

The Available Research

The medicinal efficacy of Pinene has been the focus of several studies for many conditions ranging from cancer to pain and epilepsy. Let us have a look at some of the available research on the terpene. 

Title Journal Conclusion Year

“Upper Airway and Pulmonary Effects of Oxidation Products of Alpha-Pinene, D-Limonene, and Isoprene”

Journal of Inhalation Toxicology Provided evidence that pinene is an effective bronchodilator, making is valuable for asthma and other lung conditions.  2002

“Comparative Anti-infectious Bronchitis Virus (IBV) Activity of Pinene”

Journal of Swiss Molecules Researchers concluded that the: “Results presented here may suggest that α-pinene and β-pinene possess anti-IBV (Infectious Bronchitis Virus) properties and therefore are a potential source of anti-IBV ingredients for the pharmaceutical industry.” 2011

“Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid‐terpenoid Entourage Effects”

British Journal of Pharmacology Provided evidence of effective anti-inflammatory properties as well as outlined the potential efficacy for inflammation-based patients. Researchers stated that it seems to be a broad-spectrum antibiotic. 2011

“Antioxidative, Anticancer, and Genotoxic Properties of α-pinene on N2a Neuroblastoma Cells”

Journal of Medicine called ‘Biologia’ Provided evidence that pinene reduced cancer tumor size and the researchers stated that: “Overall our results suggest that α-pinene is of limited therapeutic use as an anticancer agent.” 2013

“Anti-tumor effect of α-pinene on human hepatoma cell lines through inducing G2/M cell cycle arrest”

Journal of Pharmacol Science Provides proof that pinene reduced melanoma by 40%. 2015

Other Noteworthy Studies

  1. Microbial Synthesis of Pinene by Sarria, Wong, Martin, Keasling, and Peralta-Yahya
  2. Evolution of the Cannabinoid and Terpene Content during the Growth of Cannabis sativa Plants from Different Chemotypes by Aizpurua-Olaizola, Soydaner, Ozturk, Schibano, Simsir, Navarro, Etxebarria, and Usobiaga. 

Entourage Effects

It must be made known that individual terpenes are typically consumed in tandem with other terpenes, which is the reason for the term ‘entourage effect’. The research paper from Ethan Russo provides a comprehensive look at the interactions between cannabinoids and terpenes. Russo stated that the entourage effect accounts for the manner in which cannabinoids and terpenes influence each other and modify one another’s effects.

The paper essentially states that terpenes can modulate the effects of cannabinoids. This means that the terpenoid composition in cannabis allows the terpenes to direct the type of high/effects. A full and strong terpene profile is believed to enhance and amplify the medical benefits accompanied by the cannabinoids in cannabis. By containing Pinene, it can direct the medical benefits of that strain towards the list of associated benefits listed above. 

Pinene, one of the most well-researched and most common terpenes found in cannabis, is promising in its medicinal benefits and is responsible for the wonderful forest-like aroma coming from the buds containing it. If you haven’t given much thought into terpenes, I suggest that you start off by trying one of the recommended high-in-pinene strains and see the results for yourself. 

Post Your Comments

Stanley T Novak III says:

July 21, 2020 at 2:34 pm

Dam. I gna call you the Bud Angel !


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