By Miguel Ordoñez

Terpinolene is the terpene partly responsible for the woody, piney smell cannabis can often have, and is one of many to feature in the plant. It is not a cannabis exclusive, though. Terpinolene can also be found in tea tree, conifers, apple, cumin, sage, rosemary and lilac. Also known as delta terpinene, terpinolene's woody aroma, is often accompanied by citrusy and floral tones. It is a permanent member of the numerous terpenes’ families residing in the cannabis flowers, so let’s meet this hydrocarbon.

Terpinolene terpene cannabis


Terpenes are chemicals with a huge array of fragrances, flavors, and effects. Their extractions from plants are the most important components of the essential oils used in herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and cosmetics. Terpinolene is used as an aroma agent in soaps and perfumes, and also as a component of some insect repellents. As opposed to other terpenes found in cannabis, terpinolene is neither an analgesic nor an anti-inflammatory. However, this terpene is studied for its antifungal and antibacterial properties, and also for its mild sedative action. We are interested in terpinolene as users and patients because it is one of the actors in the synergetic performance that enhances the action of THC and CBD.


Terpinolene may possess antibacterial[1] and antimicrobial properties[2], but research so far has focused on extracts of plants where terpinolene was just one of the many active compounds - making it hard to draw conclusions without further research.

Terpinolene was found to be an antioxidant,[3] also exerting an action that could prevent low-density lipoprotein oxidation. LDL is commonly known as bad cholesterol, a major contributor to heart diseases. The potential prevention of oxidation damage to cells and other molecules showed by terpinolene goes together with the ability to inhibit cancer cell growth. A decrease of the cell proliferation[4] in some forms of cancer is a meaningful result from recent research.

A few studies also mention the sedative properties[5] of terpinolene, making it a candidate for a natural remedy against insomnia. Its mild yet effective depressant action on the central nervous system could also be applied to the reduction of psychological excitement and anxiety.

benefits terpene terpinolene


Terpinolene can be an effective companion compound within a medical phytocomplex such as a cannabis extract or combined with vitamins and other substances, rather than a single pharmacological active principle. A little knowledge about this and other terpenes is useful when picking a cannabis strain for specific medical purposes, or just to better understand and appreciate all the slightly different effects and aromas this herb provides.

Terpinolene is most commonly found in strains with a sativa dominance. A notorious genetic that frequently exhibits high concentrations of terpinolene is Jack Herer, together with some of its hybrids. One of these is Royal Jack Automatic, a small yet productive autoflowering strain whose high amount of terpinolene vaporizes in a peppery aroma and spicy herbal taste. A totally different strain is Pineapple Kush, which is bred from the well known OG Kush and has a sweet tropical fruit taste and smell. This is a relaxing strain that might help with anxiety and migraines. 

External Resources:
  1. Chemical Composition and Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oil of Heracleum Rechingeri Manden From Iran
  2. Antimicrobial Activity and Chemical Constituents of the Essential Oils From Flower, Leaf and Stem of Gypsophila Bicolor From Iran - PubMed
  3. The Monoterpene Terpinolene From the Oil of Pinus Mugo L. In Concert With Alpha-Tocopherol and Beta-Carotene Effectively Prevents Oxidation of LDL - PubMed
  4. Terpinolene, a Component of Herbal Sage, Downregulates AKT1 Expression in K562 Cells - PubMed
  5. Europe PMC
This content is for educational purposes only. The information provided is derived from research gathered from external sources.

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