Terpene Tuesday Spotlight: Limonene


Limonene is an aromatic cannabis terpene produced in the flowers’ resin glands, as well as in many everyday items like fruit rinds, cosmetics, and cleaning products. Terpenes are fragrant oils secreted alongside cannabinoids like THC and CBD, and these terpenes are not only able to determine the flavor of the plant, but they can actually determine the effects felt by patients.

So far, we have taken a closer look at Beta-caryophyllene and Myrcene. This Terpene Tuesday we will be discussing the medical and therapeutic benefits of Limonene. If you have ever wondered why certain strains like Tangie, Super Lemon Haze, or Lime Sorbet have a distinct sweet citrus aroma, then limonene may be your answer.

Limonene, in various forms, has been viewed throughout history as medical and therapeutic compound. As more of the cannabis community started focusing on compounds other than cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, the more they discovered about this medicinal plant and its properties. One of the more crucial discoveries was the extent of terpenes and their effects on a given cannabis strain.

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. After Myrcene, Limonene is the most abundant terpenes in most of the cannabis strains. However, this does not mean that every cannabis strain smells or tastes of 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 THC-A, CBD-A, CBC-A, CBC, CBG and with other terpenes such as Beta-caryophyllene and linalool. Furthermore, the increased cell permeability caused by limonene facilitates the assimilation of other substances by the body.

Unlike THC, limonene never was on 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 repellant. There are also undergoing trials for using limonene to treat depression and and anxiety, during which participants claimed to have experienced an increase in attention, mental focus, well-being, and even libido.

Limonene has been oftentimes used to address anxiety and depression, often providing patients with an uplifting and elevated mood, while simultaneously reducing stress. It can especially be effective at treating anxiety-caused insomnia, in which restlessness and anxiety can keep one awake late at night.

Limonene can be incredibly beneficial for increasing dopamine transmission in the brain, often fruitful for those dealing with autoimmune diseases heavily affected by a reduction in dopamine production and transmission, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and other dopamine-related treatments such as addiction recovery, anxiety, and depression.

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. Another 2013 study conducted 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 2014 study conducted 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, synergistically used with cannabinoids, a promising option in the treatment of certain forms of cancer. This study discovered that limonene can prevent tumors 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.

For more information about Limonene, visit Leafly.com.


TerraVida cannot guarantee effects from medical marijuana strains/products for every patient. The stated effects are general observations from a majority of consumers, however everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different and may experience different effects than stated above.