Cannabis is most well known for the psychoactive high it produces when smoked, due to the presence of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC. The herb is also being recognised for its powerful medicinal qualities, partly responsible for this mechanism of action is another cannabinoid, known as CBD. In fact there are over 100 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, many of which are still to be truly tapped into. But are cannabinoids the only group of substances, that deserves any recognition in this amazing and multifaceted herb? The answer to that is a strict no. Cannabinoids are proving to be powerful substances with many different available applications, yet another family found within the plant, and elsewhere in nature, are known as terpenes.


One of the most researched terpenes to date is known as pinene. As its name may suggests, it is the same terpene, that is responsible for the nostalgic and highly satisfying scent of pine and fir trees. As well as providing various cannabis strains with delightful flavours and taste sensations, pinene is also a player in the medicinal field and has been identified as a potent anti-inflammatory.

Pinene Terpenes


Terpenes are the substances, that give different cannabis strains their own distinct aromatic smells and pleasurable flavors. Terpenes, just like cannabinoids, are made within tiny, mushroom-shaped glands on the surface of cannabis flowers and leaves. These small glands, known as trichomes, can be viewed as miniature factories, that churn out the resin that contains all of the these beneficial molecules. They are what gives many buds a shiny and crystal-like appearance.

Just as cannabinoids are found in large numbers within cannabis plants, so are terpenes. It is known, that over 200 terpenes are found within the herb. Although this might seem like a huge number, there are over 20,000 different terpenes found elsewhere in nature. They have been classified into two major categories based on the weight of the molecule. Pinene is considered to be a “major” terpene, whereas lighter molecules have been classed as “minor” terpenes.

It just so happens, that there are two varieties of pinene. α-pinene is responsible for the distinct scents in pine needles and the herb rosemary, whereas β-pinene is the molecule responsible for the unmistakable smells of basil and dill.


With this said, the presence of pinene in cannabis goes well beyond mere smell. The molecule can actually dictate the way the high of a strain feels and how strong it is. For this reason, pinene and other terpenes are as important as cannabinoid quantity for many smokers when selecting a strain to enjoy or use as medication. For example, pinene is known to increase alertness, yet the terpene myrcene is known to have more of a sedating effect. Pinene has also been discovered to ease the potential short-term memory loss, that is oftentimes brought about by taking in too much THC. It can also help to combat negative sensations, such as paranoia, when a person has smoked far too much than they can handle. For this reason, pinene is an essential terpene, that should be looked out for by people who enjoy the therapeutic effects of cannabis, but sometimes struggle with its potential downsides.

Pinene Cannabis Terpene


For starters, α-pinene has been found to be an effective bronchodilator. This means the terpene helps to open airways in the respiratory system. The therapeutic values of this mechanism of action can be applied to respiratory ailments such as asthma. These findings were published in the journal Inhalation Toxicology. Researches suggested, that these effects may be of benefit to office workers and workers who are involved in industrial cleanup operations.

Further research has identified pinene to be effective at protecting the lungs against certain types of viral infection. A study published in the journal Molecules details both α- and ß-pinene to be effective at inhibiting infectious bronchitis virus. The researchers suggest, that α- and ß-pinene could therefore be considered as potential pharmaceuticals against infectious bronchitis virus.

Another study published by Ethan Russo, MD really tapped into the true medicinal potential of pinene and fellow terpenes. Russo gives a brief breakdown of the nature of terpenes: “Terpenoids share a precursor with phytocannabinoids, and are all flavour and fragrance components common to human diets, that have been designated 'generally recognised as safe' by the US Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies. Terpenoids are quite potent and affect animal and even human behaviour when inhaled from ambient air at serum levels in the single digits.”

Russo points out, that the therapeutic potential of terpenes are vast, and that they have the ability to synergize with cannabinoids to create powerful medical effects, saying: “They display unique therapeutic effects, that may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts. Particular focus will be placed on phytocannabinoid-terpenoid interactions, that could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections (including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).”

Perhaps some of the most staggering research involving α-pinene is found published in the journal Biologia. The study aimed to explore the anticancer properties of alpha pinene, and the results are further cause for further study into pinene as an anticancer agent. The researches concluded: “Overall our results suggest that α-pinene is of a limited therapeutic use as an anticancer agent.”



Aids Memory
Also found in pine needles




Also found in lavander




Protects Cells Lining The Digestive Tract
Also found in black pepper




Contributes To Sedative Effect Of Strong Indicas
Sleep Aid
Muscle Relaxant
Also found in hops




Treats Acid Reflux
Also found in citrus



With all of this important and fascinating information available about pinene, it is well worth finding the strains, that contain good amounts of it and exploring its effects.

Royal Jack is very high in pinene. You can really recognise the smell and taste when blazing up this sativa variety, that will offer a great euphoric effect.

OG Kush is a hybrid variety high in pinene, however the alertness brought about by the terpene can be cushioned by the strain's myrcene content. This is a real “stoned” high, that is amazing for much-needed rest or a relaxing night in bed.



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