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Terpene Spotlight: Discovering the Benefits of Pinene

Chane Leigh

by Chane Leigh

June 6, 2024 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 6 Minutes
Fact checked by Kymberly Drapcho Medically reviewed by Dr. Abraham Benavides
Terpene Spotlight: Discovering the Benefits of Pinene

The aroma coming from cannabis attracts many customers, as an array of soothing scents are offered by different strains. The same glands producing those smells, called trichomes, also produce the variety of color found on cannabis buds (or flowers), cannabinoids, and terpenes. Terpenes 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 a piney and rosemary aroma. 

Alpha-pinene, in all of its pine and rosemary glory, is significantly more common in cannabis. In fact, pinene is one of the top 5 most common cannabis terpenes, and can be dominant in certain chemovars. 

Pinene terpenes can be found in literally hundreds of other plants including, but obviously not limited to: basil, coriander, cedar, dill, eucalyptus, juniper, thyme, oranges, parsley, and pine and coniferous trees. Similarly, pinene-rich cannabis can be found in many strains, including all types of cannabis cultivars, with indicas generally having more pinene. To top it all off, it has its own possible benefits when it’s consumed.

Pinene Therapeutic Benefits:

According to extensive research reviewed and compiled by CannaKeys, the potential benefits of pinene include:

  • 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 lungs, 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 and neuropathic pain.
  • Is 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. 
  • 2020 review shows that it can also be greatly beneficial in the fight against cancer by killing multiple types of cancer cells and increasing the effectiveness of paclitaxel, a common chemo drug 
  • Also has antiseptic properties that are used well in a topical ointment. 
  • This terpene also has anti-viral characteristics, which suggest possible utility in COVID-19 and IBV

Strains That Are High in Pinene

Some of your favorite and most popular chemovars that are high in pinene include:

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

Other strains that are high in pinene include: AC/DC, Chemdawg, Trainwreck, Sour Diesel, Super Lemon Haze, Lemon Skunk, CBD Skunk Haze, Purple Kush, Blue Cheese, Finola, Futura, Banana Blaze, Master Kush, Blue Auto Mazar, Mokum’s Tulip, Ultimate, Cinderella Jack, Outlaw Amnesia, Xtreme, White Widow, Frisian Dew, Purple No. 1, and Passion Fruit.

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, mostly in preclinical settings. Let us take a look at some available research on the terpene.

Title Journal Conclusion Year
“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
“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
“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
“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 it valuable for asthma and other lung conditions.


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 2011 research paper from Ethan Russo provides a comprehensive look at the interactions between cannabinoids and terpenes. Russo states 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 and potentiate the effects of cannabinoids. This means that the terpenoid composition in cannabis allows the terpenes to direct the type of high and 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. When people say they have a “clear-headed high”, they’re usually talking about a strain that is high in pinene. 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. 

Note: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition. This article was originally published in 2020 and most recently updated in June 2024.

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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