By Miguel Ordoñez

Limonene is one of the most commonly used terpenes. It appears as an ingredient in food, drugs, cosmetics and detergents, and it also finds applications in the biotechnology industry. This very aromatic terpene is abundantly produced in the trichomes of many cannabis strains, together with cannabinoids. Just like other terpenes, limonene has its own interaction modes within the body. This herbal compound’s medicinal properties are currently under research, while smoking or vaporising a cannabis strain with high levels of limonene offers a unique taste experience and an energizing high.


Terpenes are the class of chemicals with a large selection of fragrances and flavours. They contribute significantly to quality of fruits and vegetables, and they are involved in the synthesis of various biochemical substances such as vitamins, hormones, oils, and of course cannabinoids. Terpenes extracted from plants are the most important components of the essential oils used in herbal medicine, nutrition and cosmetics. Wine and beer are full of terpenes.

Cannabis is among the plants with the greatest complexity of terpenes, bringing us all their aromas and therapeutic effects. The combination of different terpenes and cannabinoids is called the entourage effect. This synergetic action between terpenes and all the other natural cannabis compounds is proven to significantly modify, and eventually enhance, the action of the single THC, CBD, or other cannabinoid. These molecules constitute from 10 to 20% of the total resin contained in the trichomes. Another terpene of sginficance within cannabis is pinene - and well worth a read up on.

limonene royal queen seeds


Lemon, oranges and other citrus fruits' zest contain large amounts of this volatile monoterpene, which is also found in many other plants like mint, juniper, rosemary and pine needles. The rapid evaporation of monoterpenes makes limonene quickly hit the sensory receptors of insects, parasites, or curious animals, who immediately perceive its smell as a toxin. You can guess why some of the smartest plants are packed with lemony resins.

After myrcene, limonene is the most abundant terpenes in most of the cannabis strains, but this doesn’t mean all varieties must smell like lemon. One of its chemical forms makes limonene smell mostly like tangerine, while another form smells like lemon, and the other tastes like grapefruit.

Studies on the entourage effect in cannabis have found that limonene activates synergies with several cannabinoids and other terpenes. This terpene interacts positively with cannabinoids THC-A, CBD-A, CBC-A, CBC, CBC, CBG, and with other terpenes such as caryophyllene and linalool. Furthermore, the increased cell permeability caused by limonene facilitates the assimilation of other substances by the human body.

This substance has very low toxicity, and humans rarely encounter adverse effects from it. However, just like many terpenes and solvents, limonene may exert an irritating action on the skin and the respiratory system, which symptoms are watery eyes, vasodilation and consequent effects on the nose, eyes, bronchial tubes, and lungs. Nevertheless, limonene can be used to treat bronchitis, and many people believe that this terpene can add a nice subtle flavour and freshness to smoke and vapour, as well as a more accentuated therapeutic effect.


As opposed to THC, limonene never entered any list of controlled substances. Therefore, researchers have been more free to focus on its potential efficacy as an antidepressant, anxiolytic, immunostimulant, antibacterial, and anticancer agent. This compound is also used in diets aimed at weight reduction, in the treatment of ulcers and gastric reflux, as an antiseptic and an insect repellent. There are also undergoing trials for using limonene to treat depression and anxiety: during testing on the effects of limonene, participants experienced an increase in attention, mental focus, well-being and even libido.

A 2011 study conducted at the University of Arizona and published in the journal Oncology Reviews found that limonene contributes to modulate the body’s immune system, resulting in an anti-cancer effect. A 2013 study by the same university and published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research found limonene effective in preventing cancer cell proliferation and reducing tumor size. This was a human trial involving more than 40 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. A subsequent study on the same kind of tumour found similar positive results.

A study conducted in 2014 in France and published in the journal Anti-inflammatory and Anti-allergy Agents in Medicinal Chemistry reported that limonene has potent anti-inflammatory properties, making this terpene a promising option in the treatment of certain forms of cancer. This study discovered that limonene can prevent tumours from invading surrounding healthy tissue by decreasing their ability to create new blood vessels. Finally, this terpene was also found to play a role in healing damaged skin and regenerating cellular tissues.



Aids Memory
Also found in pine needles




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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



While we wait for further research on the medical applications of limonene, we can taste and enjoy the effects of Lemon Shining Silver Haze and many other citric varieties. Any cannabis strain containing “lemon” or other sour fruits in its name is likely to contain large amounts of limonene, assuming its breeders were sober enough when they named their new strain! Yet also some other “non-lemon” strains are packed with this particular terpene. OG Kush and Sour Diesel are just two examples.

Royal Queen Seeds has bred a delicious hybrid of Lemon Skunk and Amnesia Haze. Its name is Lemon Shining Silver Haze and is the result of crossing two sativa strains that feature two unique lemon flavours. Lemon Shining Silver Haze quickly became popular for its strong effects and fragrance, which people describe as sour, skunky, yet fresh and sweet.

A sativa dominant hybrid with high limonene content cannot generate anything else but uplifting effects. The mind high caused by Shining Silver Haze is euphoric, with increased energy levels, creativity and motivation. It is hard to tell how much limonene is responsible for this strain’s optimistic, euphoric, stimulating, and well-being effects. What we will say is that this active variety is not suited to use immediately before bedtime!


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