What is Terpinolene and What are its Benefits?

If someone asked you what compounds are in the cannabis plant, what would you say? 

CBD and THC are probably the first two to come to mind. These chemicals are popular even outside the cannabis community. People recognize them for their calming effects and ability to produce a high, respectively. 

What you might not know is that cannabis is more than just CBD and THC. The plant produces hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes. All of these compounds work together to produce a range of effects. 

Terpinolene is one of these many lesser-known compounds. It is present in minuscule amounts across many strains. Despite its low concentration in cannabis, this terpene plays a crucial role. It affects a strains smell, taste, and therapeutic effects. 

In this guide, we take a closer took at terpinolene. We tell you everything you need to know the chemical, its benefits, and more. 

What Is Terpinolene?

Also known as alpha terpinolene, terpinolene is one of the many terpenes that cannabis produces. The compound is a member of both the terpinene and pinene families. It plays a role in how a strain smells and tastes. It is also responsible for enhancing the effects of CBD and THC (known as the entourage or ensemble effect).  

Even though the chemical plays an important role, it is almost always present in small amounts. Many users know it as the “least-common terpene.”

Terpinolene is perhaps most popular as a terpene in cannabis. However, the cannabis plant isn’t the only place you can find this terpene. It is also present in: 

-Apples
-Cumin
-Nutmeg
-Lilacs
-Tea tree oil

What Does It Smell and Taste Like? 

Terpenes play a role in how the strain smells and tastes. Many terpenes have straightforward smells. Pinene, for instance, smells like pine. Limonene has a strong citrus scent, and Linalool is reminiscent of lavender flowers. 

Terpinolene also has a distinct smell, However, it is more of a mixture of scents. Users describe the smell as a mixture of floral, piney, and herbaceous. Some even report that it has hints of citrus. 

“Fresh” is a good one-word description of its smell. Considering this, it’s no wonder that the compound is an additive in perfumes and soaps, even insect repellents. Food manufacturers even use it in as a preservative and/or flavoring agent. 

High-Terpinolene Cannabis Strains

As we’ve already mentioned, the terpinolene terpene is usually present in small amounts. However, there are a few terpinolene dominant cannabis strains. Some treats that you may be familiar with include: 

  • -Orange Cookies
  • -Dutch Treat
  • -Golden Pineapple
  • -Jack Herer
  • -J1

Most terpinolene dominant strains are THC-dominant. You’ll be hard-pressed to find one that is CBD-dominant. It isn’t entirely clear why this is the case, but some believe that it’s because cannabis breeders focus on cultivating the more lucrative THC-dominant strains. 

Note that within recent years, CBD has become increasingly popular. This may lead breeders to develop more high-terpinolene strains that are CBD-dominant. 

Benefits of Terpinolene

Many cannabis terpenes have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. So, you might be surprised to learn that terpinolene has neither of these properties. 

While it won’t reduce inflammation or alleviate pain, the compound offers other benefits.

Inhibits Bacterial and Fungal Growth

As an essential oil, the terpinolene is perhaps best recognized for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Studies have shown that it is effective against pathogens like salmonella and E-coli.

Considering these properties, it’s no surprise that as an is commonly found in tea tree oil. Users apply tea tree oil to treat acne, nail fungus, athlete’s foot, etc.  

Helps Manage Insomnia and Anxiety

The chemical has a mild sedating effect. It calms the central nervous system, making it perfect for managing and insomnia and anxiety. Users turn to it to sleep better and feel overall calmer. Best of all, the sedative properties aren’t severe enough to the point of causing drowsiness or lethargy. 

Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth

Some studies suggest that terpinolene may inhibit cancer cell growth. Note that many of the studies are older and focus on non-human subjects. Like with the previous benefit, more research needs to be done to substantiate this claim. 

Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease

Like with the previous claim, there isn’t much research on the relationship between the chemical and heart disease. However, one study says that the chemical reduces the risk of heart disease by preventing LDL oxidation. 

What Does a Terpinolene-High Feel Like? 

We’ve discussed some long-term benefits of the chemical. But, what does a terpinolene-high feel like? 

Because of its sedative properties , Many users describe feeling relaxed, euphoric, and lucid. Some also report feeling productive and creative. 

Note that experiences will vary from person to person. It all depends on your unique body chemistry, how much terpinolene is present, and how it interacts with other terpenes present in the strain. 

Terpinolene and the Entourage Effect

If you are a regular cannabis user, you’re bound to be familiar with the entourage effect. The entourage effect (also known as the ensemble effect) refers to how a combination of chemicals produces effects greater than what each chemical can achieve individually. 

This is relevant because, by itself, terpinolene doesn’t have that big of an impact. Its real benefits stem from when it interacts with other terpenes and cannabinoids in cannabis. As you might’ve guessed, it drastically increases the effects of CBD and THC. It also interacts with other lesser-known chemicals to produce its signature effects. 

The Bottom Line

Aside from CBD and THC, cannabis features hundreds of different compounds. Learning more about the plant’s chemical makeup will help you better understand its effects. 

This guide has attempted to shed light on terpinolene, one of these less popular compounds. Despite it being present in small amounts, it plays a crucial role in every strain it’s in. It affects taste, smell, and therapeutic benefits. 

If you want to feel the compound’s full effects, we recommend trying high-terpinolene strains. You’ll appreciate how this overlooked chemical is actually a major player when it comes to cannabis! 

Resources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16008117/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24084350/

http://europepmc.org/article/MED/23339024

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4323317/