What is Limonene? The Effects & Benefits of this Flavorful Terpene

What is Limonene? The Effects & Benefits of this Flavorful Terpene

Published on 12/15/20

Open up a fresh jar of Lemon Kush, Do-Si-Dos or Tahoe OG Kush and stick your nose into it. The pleasant shock of a vibrant citrus bouquet filled with oranges, lemons, limes, tangerines and grapefruit will flood your nostrils. Perhaps your brain remembers a commonly used laundry detergent, cleaning agent or favorite fragrance. The actor leading the show of stimulating smells is a terpene called limonene, or d-limonene, which is its main chemical form.

What is a Terpene?

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Terpenes are naturally occurring oils that are present in plants, vegetables and fruits and have all sorts of smells and flavors. They are key components of cosmetics and household cleaning products and found in abundance in drinks like beer and wine. Terpenes can also repel bugs and other pests by producing an odor that is off-putting to insects or parasites, or, conversely, attracts pollinators. The cannabis plant has an incredibly complex mix of terpenes, with over 100 different terpenes identified that are not just tasty and smelly; the terpene profiles in weed also provide therapeutic benefits. Terpenes enhance the health benefits of certain products either alone or by working in concert with Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD) and any other terpenes and cannabinoids found in cannabis. Called the Entourage Effect, the combinations of different terpenes and cannabinoids studies have found to alter and enhance their effects.

How are Terpenes Cultivated in Marijuana?

Several variables affect terpene development, including proper harvest time, indoor vs. outdoor, sunlight, growing medium, fertilizer and temperature. Expert cultivators stress the importance of temperature and humidity: with ideal conditions of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit with a humidity that hovers around 40%. An organic soil with a carbon-based mix without any pesticides that can reduce trichome development is also critical because the trichomes are what generate the terpene production. As the cannabis matures sexually, the trichomes that surround the flowers produce terpenes.

The Limonene Terpene

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Limonene is one of the most common terpenes and it is naturally present in plants like pine, rosemary, mint and cannabis. Additionally, the peels of citrus fruits like lemon and grapefruit contain Limonene. The trichomes of the plant produce Limonene in weed and like other terpenes, it interacts with the body in many different ways. Studies on the entourage effect in marijuana have discovered that limonene can work with and activate many other terpenes and cannabinoids. There is also evidence that limonene facilitates the assimilation of other substances into the body by increasing cell permeability.

Limonene Effects

Smoking or vaporizing a strain with high levels of limonene will usually produce a delicious taste somewhere in the spectrum between a strong lemon and juicy tangerine. The accompanying high leans toward a typical Sativa experience with an invigorating and energizing boost. One's mood elevates and uplifts without anxiety or paranoia. On the therapeutic side, some studies have shown that limonene potentially combats lung cancer due to increases in the levels of liver enzymes that detoxify dangerous carcinogens. It has also proved effective as a solvent of cholesterol and as a gastric acid-neutralizing agent for the relief of common stomach ailments like heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). Other health issues where Limonene has proven to be effective include:

Marijuana Strains High in Limonene

If you are looking for a tropical fruit medley taste coupled with an energizing high, look no further than one of several popular strains normally test high in limonene. Found without too much trouble at recreational dispensaries, these are some of our favorites:


Cinex - Where's Weed

A strong citrus taste and a creative and active high draw serious smokers to this delicious Sativa that works well for day time use. Cinex is a cross of Cinderella 99 and Vortex.

Berry White

A cross of Blueberry and White Widow, this is a balanced Indica-leaning strain with a fruity nose and hints of pine.

Tahoe OG

Another balanced Indica with a mellow high but also the occasional touch of euphoria and odd unexpected burst of energy. Packed with citrus and earthly goodness, Tahoe OG also provides mental clarity for the user.

Super Lemon Haze

This iconic strain delivers an intense head high accompanied by rich notes of lemon. It is perfect for clearing your head and hopping off the couch.

Durban Poison

This landrace (Durban, South Africa) Sativa provides uplifting effects that stimulate brain activity and prompt bursts of creativity.

Do you love the taste and effects of limonene-heavy strains? Do you enjoy any of those listed above or is there another that you think delivers the limonene just the way you like it? Take a moment to share with us in the comments section.

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