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Pinene and Limonene Are Two Terpenes You Can Use to Promote Mental Wellness

Lydia K. RN

Two important terpenes for elevating mood and restoring mental alertness are pinene and limonene. You are likely already very familiar with their refreshing aromatics.

Terpenes are the largest class of natural compounds and you will know them through the experience of fragrances and flavors. These also add significant medicinal value to plants in which they are found, especially as it applies to the Entourage Effect in cannabis medicine.  Terpenes abound in the essential oils of your favorite healing plants, such as oregano, citrus, and frankincense. Pinene and limonene are two of the most frequently enjoyed terpenes in cannabis strains that aid in mental wellness.

pinene and limonene

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The Entourage Effect happens when terpenes combine with cannabinoids and other compounds, such as flavanoids, to work in synergy to deliver maximal medicinal value. All of these compounds are housed in glandular trichromes produced by the female cannabis plant. In the world of plants, terpenes provide a defense for the plant from predators. They do so by releasing a pungent smell that prevents predators from attacking. Terpenes also produce aromatic smells that attract pollinators, which are beneficial to the plant.


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This terpene is abundant in mint, juniper, rosemary, pine, and cannabis too. It is one of the most commonly used terpenes and has various uses in food, drugs, cosmetics and biotechnology. Limonene has a smell similar to lemon, while some other strains smell like tangerine.

Studies have suggested that limonene activates synergies with several cannabinoids and other terpenes. The cannabinoids include: THCa, CBDa, CBCa, CBC, CBC, CBG, while synergistic terpenes include beta-caryophyllene and linalool.

Bunch of lemons in a wooden box

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Limonene has been shown to be effective in treating depression and anxiety. In one study, participants experienced an increase in attention, mental focus, well-being and even libido. The aromatic/ citrus terpene has mood elevating effects  without producing euphoria. This is what makes Limonene your go-to terpene when all you need is a mind buzz or mental awakening.

Limonene is also an immuno-stimulant with antibacterial properties and is an anticancer agent.

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Lemon Shining Silver Haze is one citrusy cannabis strain that is high in limonene.  Others include OG Kush and Sour Diesel.


Pinene is one of the most researched terpenes to date. As the name suggests, it has a smell resembling that of pine trees. The smell of a cannabis strain impacts the medicinal effect. How much do you love to deeply smell a good bit of cannabis?

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Pinene has been shown to enhance mental alertness. This is part of the Japanese practice of “forest bathing” – going in to smell the pine and be renewed. You can derive this benefit from pinene-heavy strains that will give you a morning boost.

Pinene also helps in short term memory loss by increasing memory retention. It does this by blocking the actions of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase in the brain. Acetylcholinesterase breaks down acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter essential to communication between nerves and muscles. You can see how this terpene may come in handy as you age and begin experiencing some memory lapses.

Pinene is a pretty common terpene, but definitely some cannabis strains would have higher concentrations of pinene than the rest. Royal Jack is one such strain that smells and tastes just like the pine tree. Bubba Kush is another strain that also abounds in pinene and is good on those days when you need some help in focusing. Trainwreck is a sativa-dominant hybrid that has high levels of pinene and causes cerebral stimulation.

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So if what you need is to elevate, consider starting with strains that are high in limonene or pinene. Your brain, and your mood, will thank you.


Lydia Kariuki

RN, Expert medical writer who is passionate about cannabis!

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