Pinene is a very common terpene in cannabis and other plants. It can be found in cannabis, hops, cumin, pine and conifer trees, juniper, cedar, sage, basil, parsley, rosemary, dill, oranges, nutmeg, ginger, lime peel, allspice, bitter fennel, and eucalyptus. Pinene is thought to have many benefits including, pain relief, anti-microbial activity, cancer cell inhibition, promoting brain function, increasing airflow to the lungs, and antioxidant protection . To learn more about other terpenes, you can check out our articles on beta-caryophyllene and myrcene.
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Alpha vs Beta-Pinene
When it comes to plant sources and therapeutic qualities, alpha and beta-pinene are very similar. Both are produced from geranyl pyrophosphate. However, their different chemical structure gives them different pine-like smells. Alpha-pinene has a fresh and earthy scent like pine trees or rosemary. Beta-pinene has fresh woody and spicy aromas like in basil, dill, parsley, and hops. Another way to think of it is that beta-pinene smells more like immature green pine trees and alpha-pinene smells more minty like a more mature pine.
Pinene Benefits and Effects
Alpha-pinene is the most widely encountered terpenoid in nature . In nature, alpha-pinene benefits plants because it is a strong insect repellant. Humans have found much more value in it as well. Here are just some uses that may surprise you:
- Food flavor additive, scent additive, cleaning products
- Commonly added to dairy, soft candy, gum, baked goods, and condiments/relishes
- Starting material for synthesizing myrcene
- It is easily absorbed through the lungs, skin, and intestine
Pinene is being researched for many therapeutic and medical purposes. It has very strong antibacterial abilities and can even kill off antibiotic-resistant bacteria like MRSA [1, 2].
Other human pinene benefits include anti-inflammatory action (in synergy with CBD), bronchodilator (in synergy with THC), and aiding memory [1, 2]. It is suspected that pinene can counteract the negative effects that THC has on memory and promote alertness and focus.
Pinene Cannabis Strains
If you are looking for a pinene-rich cannabis strain, here are some to check out. You'll notice that it is very common to hybrid strains and sativa strains, but less abundant in indica strains with Afghani heritage. Those Afghani derived cannabis plants tend to have a much different terpene profile than sativa strains that more often come from Asia, Africa, and South America (and Mexico).
High Pinene Cannabis Strains
- Dutch Treat
- Blue Dream
- Island Sweet Skunk
- OG Kush
- Bubba Kush
- God Bud
- LA Confidential
- Mango Haze
- Strawberry Cough
- Haze Berry
- Royal Jack
High Pinene Hemp Strains
You can find pinene in many energizing hemp strains, but the overall composition of the flower will ultimately determine if it is or isn't energizing. You'll notice that plenty of the strains on this list are actually calming strains because the other terpenes balance them out or are more prominent then pinene.
- Blueberry Diesel
- Stress Killer
- Sour Space Candy
- Bubba Kush
- Special Sauce
- Suver Haze
- Hawaiian Haze
Concluding Thoughts: Sensitivity to Pinene
If you are a person that does not have good experiences with "sativa" strains, pinene could be part of the issue. Terpenes are scent molecules, and such, they can cause sensitization, irritation, and even allergies. On a personal note, I found these strains giving me migraines and upon researching realized that many plant foods containing it were foods I likewise do not have a stomach for. Now I know to avoid this terpene for a better experience with food and cannabis!
Knowing the terpene profiles that work well for you will truly revolutionize your cannabis experience. You'll find yourself paying more attention to geographic origin and plant heritage and quickly see how the terms "indica" and "sativa" really do not describe more than the shape of the plant.
- Russo E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British journal of pharmacology, 163(7), 1344–1364.
- Salehi, B., Upadhyay, S., Erdogan Orhan, I., Kumar Jugran, A., L D Jayaweera, S., A Dias, D., Sharopov, F., Taheri, Y., Martins, N., Baghalpour, N., Cho, W. C., & Sharifi-Rad, J. (2019). Therapeutic Potential of α- and β-Pinene: A Miracle Gift of Nature. Biomolecules, 9(11), 738.