The chemical compound known as limonene is derived from the cannabis plant. Terpenes are aromatic chemicals found in a variety of foods and plant species (including Cannabis sativa). Limonene is one of the most common terpenes in nature, owing to its presence in essential oils obtained from citrus fruits. Limonene is used in fragrances, cleaning supplies, and as a flavor component for food after being extracted.
Limonene is present in all citrus plants, but it’s not always recognized to be so abundant in lemon-scented cannabis strains. Look for lab-tested items to see if the strain you’re buying has a lot of limonene.
Limonene is a terpene that occurs in very small amounts, generally less than 2 percent of the dry weight of cannabis. THC usually makes up 10-30% of a flower‘s dry weight, but limonene is present in trace amounts and generally less than 2%.
High-limonene cannabis strains
Although certain strains have more limonene than others, this varies significantly depending on genetics, growing methods, and curing processes. Lab-tested batches are the only way to determine if your strain has a lot of limonene.
These well-known varieties have a limonene-dominant terpene profile, according to data from Leafly’s lab partners:
- Banana OG
- Berry White
- Black Cherry Soda
- Purple Hindu Kush
- Quantum Kush
- Strawberry Banana
- Tahoe OG
- Wedding Cake
- White Fire OG
Keep an eye out for strain blooms that are colored yellow on Leafly to locate limonene-rich strains. As an example, consider White Fire OG:
Limonene’s potential effects and benefits
Limonene, like its cannabis counterpart, has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. While these properties make it a potential treatment for various illnesses, very little is known about how it works in the brain and body, as well as what doses are required to obtain these benefits. In many of the limonene studies thus far, large amounts were applied—much greater than those found in cannabis. More study on cannabis is needed, but research on limonene so far has suggested effectiveness in the following areas:
- Elevated mood
- Stress relief
- Antifungal properties
- Antibacterial properties
- May help relieve heartburn and gastric reflux
- Improves absorption of other terpenes and chemicals by way of the skin, mucous membranes, and digestive tract
Limonene also has some promising anti-tumor properties. Limonene arrested tumor development in lab rodents by obstructing the growth of skin and mammary tumors. These tests were followed up with a Phase I clinical study that found that limonene was somewhat effective at reducing breast cancer tumor progression for over a year. Later research revealed that daily limonene ingestion for 2-6 weeks reduced the expression of a gene that promotes breast cancer tumor growth, implying that everyday limonene consumption may slow the growth and spread of breast tumours.
Limonene has been shown to kill tumor cells in animal experiments and laboratory models of lung and brain cancer. It has also been suggested that limonene might induce tumour cell death in lab tests of lung and brain cancer. However, because high doses of limonene are needed in some cases, it’s uncertain whether it will have the same effects as limonene in breast cancer. There isn’t enough evidence right now to suggest that cannabis products rich in limonene would be effective against cancer in people.
Future research on limonene
It’s also unknown how limonene works to alleviate anxiety. Limonene inhalation raises serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain regions involved with anxiety, sadness, and OCD. Is limonene merely stimulating the olfactory nerve or is it influencing brain cells directly? We aren’t sure yet.
Limonene, unlike some of the other terpenes with well-defined brain targets such as linalool and b-caryophyllene, does not have clearly defined brain receptors.
Scientists may help direct consumers towards limonene-rich strains or products where the therapeutic benefits of limonene are optimized by a specific cannabinoid and terpene profile by better comprehending limonene’s targets in the brain and body.
Dosing considerations for Limonene.
The right dose of limonene is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the user’s age, health, and various other factors. At this time, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to establish a safe range of doses for limonene. Keep in mind that natural treatments aren’t always risk-free; dosages may be crucial. Before using any natural product, double-check the package labels and contact your pharmacist or doctor or another healthcare professional if you have any questions.
Limonene’s chemical stability, in comparison to other terpene components, is relatively poor. There have been only a few studies on limonene’s effects. Limonene has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cardioprotective properties, according to some reports.
In 2006, the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products in Israel carried out an in vitro study using citrus oil. They determined that “a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent can be produced by combining citrus oil with MgCl2.”
The Journal of Oleo Science published a second in vitro study that found that limonene suppressed proinflammatory cytokines. A buildup of proinflammatory cytokines can lead to chronic inflammation, although they are an essential component of the inflammatory response. “ᴅ-Limonene might be considered an anti-inflammatory candidate,” according to the researchers.
Researchers in China studied the chemical using an animal model of high-fat, diet-induced obesity after reports that it affected fat accumulation in the liver. They determined that limonene has potential as a dietary supplement “by preventing and mitigating metabolic disorders.”
In a 2018 study published in the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, ᴅ-limonene was discovered to have a beneficial impact on “stroke-prone spontaneously hypertensive rats’” blood pressure (SHRsp). Following stroke, ᴅ-limonene was shown to lower SHRsp rat’s “systolic blood pressure,” while also protecting against memory and cognitive impairment.
Safety and side effects
Since 1994, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved limonene as a safe food additive and flavoring. They discovered that it has “relatively low acute toxicity taken orally,” with the most reported side effect being skin irritation after using limonene-infused shampoos, lotions, or sprays.
Limonene cannabis strains for anxiety, depression, and stress relief.
Limonene is a common terpene in cannabis and one of the most prevalent in nature. Limonene, like the aroma of citrus fruit peels, is largely present in citrus fruit peel fragrances. Limonene has been used for centuries as a vital component of perfumes and food since its pleasant scent makes it a frequent additive.
Limonene may be safely ingested in high, naturally occurring amounts. However, adverse effects can be experienced at dosages of about one gram per kilogram of body weight (about 68 grams of limonene for a 150-pound person), which is considerably higher than what you’ll find in cannabis flower or cannabis goods. Limonene extract may be purchased as a dietary supplement, so it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor before incorporating large quantities of limonene into your diet.
The cannabinoid precursor geranyl pyrophosphate is broken down into limonene. Limonene either remains in cannabis as limonene or undergoes conversion to other cannabis terpenes after being produced.
Limonene is a terpene present in many essential oils. It has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, like many other terpenes, and plants produce it to aid them fight disease. However, it also has an impact on cognitive function that scientists are attempting to better comprehend for the treatment of a variety of diseases—particularly anxiety and other mental health problems.
The potential benefits of limonene on anxiety, depression, and stress
Both orally ingested limonene and inhaled limonene vapor have been found to reduce anxiety in laboratory mice. Limonene also reduced compulsive checking (OCD) in a mouse model of the illness. Limonene’s efficacy, however, appears to be strain- or type-specific, suggesting that while its anxiety-reducing properties may work for some individuals, they may not for others.
Limonene might be beneficial in the treatment of depression. Only a few clinical trials have been done on limonene’s antidepressant properties, but one small research of 12 hospitalised patients with depression revealed encouraging findings. Limonene vapor inhalation reduced the need for antidepressants in 9 of the participants, restored stress hormone levels, and enhanced immune function.
It’s still unclear how limonene achieves these therapeutic effects. Inhalation of limonene vapor raises serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain areas linked to anxiety, sadness, and OCD. At this time, it’s unknown how limonene raises these neurochemical levels. Is it possible that limonene simply activates the brain’s olfactory system, or is it instead influencing actual brain cells? The mechanism behind this remains a mystery for now; however, there must be some combination of both stimulating the olfactory system and interacting with cells directly.
Limonene give strains a lemon aroma
The fragrance of a strain isn’t determined by one terpene alone; rather, it’s the result of the various terpenes found within it. Even though many terpenes are present in combination, one terpene in isolation has a distinct odor from each of them when compared to other combinations.
You may get a first-hand taste of this at certain dispensaries, where “terpene stations” allow you to sample the scent of unique terpenes. Although these fragrances are not particularly similar to cannabis flower, that’s because it comprises many terpenes rather than just one.
It’s possible that knowing the name and even taking a whiff of a strain aren’t enough to tell you what its unique terpene profile is. The only way to know for sure what the terpene profile of a cannabis strain or product is is to have accurate lab testing results.
Unfortunately, most states do not require cannabis products to be tested for terpene levels, and the majority of brands do not provide this information on product labels.
However, certain cannabis brands provide terpene profiles to customers on product labels, and some retail shops are beginning to stock them. If you want to know the terpene profile of your strain, ask your budtender if they have any products with lab-tested terpene profiles on the label.