Terpene of the Month: Terpinolene
This year we’ve introduced myrcene, pinene and limonene, three of the 200+ volatile aromatic compounds called terpenes that create the unique flavors and aromas of different cannabis strains. Terpenes enhance the health benefits of cannabis while reducing the intoxicating effects that can cause anxiety. Additionally, each terpene has unique therapeutic benefits.
What is Terpinolene?
This month we’re introducing terpinolene, which has a distinctive smoky, woody aroma and floral, fruity flavor. Terpinolene, also known as delta terpinene, is commonly found in apples, lilacs, nutmeg, rosemary, sage, conifers, cumin and tea tree oil. It is a popular fragrance in soaps, perfumes and lotions.
Benefits of Terpinolene
Although terpinolene is neither an analgesic (pain reliever) or an anti-inflammatory, it has many other potentially valuable therapeutic benefits. Given that terpinolene is one of the primary terpenes in tea tree oil, it is not surprising that studies have shown it to be an effective anti-microbial agent, particularly against E coli and Staphylococcus bacteria.
A 2013 study found terpinolene to be an effective anti-proliferative for reducing brain cancer cell growth. Other research has found that terpinolene has the ability to downregulate certain proteins, effectively slowing the growth of cancer. A 2015 study examining its possible toxicity found that it is only toxic at very high concentrations, and otherwise may have therapeutic value as an antioxidant. Another study found that terpinolene, when combined with Vitamins A and E, prevents oxidation of low density proteins, making it an effective treatment for heart disease. Finally, studies have shown that terpinolene is a central nervous system depressant, inducing drowsiness and benefiting those living with insomnia and anxiety.
Finding the Right Strain
To identify strains rich in terpinolene, use your nose or select strains that are listed as having a floral, woody aroma similar to lilacs. Terpene levels vary from harvest to harvest, but some strains consistently produce high levels. According to the most recent tests of our concentrated terpene extracts, our strain with the highest terpinolene level is Green Mountain.