Limonene: The fresh, bright, and citrus-like cannabis terpene
Flavor and aroma are fast becoming the most coveted characteristics of cannabis thanks to a new appreciation of terpenes, the aromatic components responsible for its signature scent and taste. In contrast to cannabinoids like THC and CBD which lack comprehensive scientific study, terpenes have a long history of biological and chemical investigation, and that means they have well known practical uses and proven medical effects.
In this series we’ll take a closer look at the most common terps found in cannabis. Each time we’ll focus on a singular terpene, explore its characteristics and medical properties, and also suggest some strains and target temps for you to take advantage of.
So, let’s continue Terpenes 101 with limonene the citric punch of cannabis.
Limonene is the second most abundant terpene found in nature after humulene, and exists in its highest concentrations in the oily peel of citrus fruits, most notably oranges. Limonene elicits a distinctive fresh and bright sensation, and is used extensively in dietary supplements, cleaning products, and is also one of the most widely utilized fragrances in cosmetics.
Limonene Benefits and Medical Properties
As with many other terpenes, limonene possesses a wealth of medical benefits. In fact, limonene is one of the most studied and well understood terpenes around, and is a proven anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antidiabetic, antiviral, and gastroprotective. Most promising though is limonene’s well documented anticancer effects, where it has been shown to be effective against a wide variety of cancers such as lung, breast, and colon cancer.
The Chemistry of Limonene
As with other volatile organic compounds, terpenes evaporate rapidly when exposed to the air, and especially so when subjected to warm temperatures. While most terps will melt around room temperature, limonene’s melting point is -40 degrees F, meaning it’s an incredibly volatile terpene. Therefore, keeping your cannabis in a sealed container is about all you can do to try and preserve it.
Additionally, when looking to dial in vaping temps to target limonene’s flavonoids, aromatics, and medicinal properties, then this terpene’s boiling point resides at 352 degrees F.
Limonene Strain Suggestions
With limonene producing such a characteristic fragrance, many strains that exemplify its citric notes are often named accordingly, and we’d suggest taking a look at Lemon Kush, Orange Kush, and Super Lemon Haze as a good starting point.
However, citrus dominant cannabis strains have become so popular that there’s now an almost endless amount of them, so you’ll have a long list to work through in order to find your favorite.
Join us for the next edition of terpenes 101 where we’ll take a closer look at myrcene, the terpene responsible for peppery and herbal notes in cannabis.