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Terpenes – What is terpinolene? 
Terpene Talk

What is terpinolene + its effects?

Gregg PadulaNovember 12, 2020

Terpinolene is the most scarce of all the primary terpenes in cannabis. Its muted fragrance was undesirable to breeders, so minimal efforts to increase its presence within the cannabis gene pool have been made. If you find a strain packed with this elusive terpene, the effects are profoundly more sedating than varieties with little- to-no terpinolene.

Terpinolene is the terpene partly responsible for the woody, piney odor often emitted from fresh buds. It is not a cannabis exclusive, though. Terpinolene can also be found in tea tree, conifers, apple, cumin, sage, rosemary and lilac.

Similar to its a-pinene cousin, terpinolene is found in a myriad of household cleaning products, soaps and perfumes.

What are the benefits of terpinolene?

Terpinolene is neither an analgesic nor an anti-inflammatory - this is what makes it quite unique in contrast to other primary terpenes. Terpinolene is an antifungal with antibacterial properties and anti-cancer effects. Mostly known for its powerful sedative properties, terpinolene works synergistically with THC and CBD to create a sleep-inducing wave of fatigue.

Research into cannabis-derived terpinolene and its potential benefits is still scarce. There have been a few small, limited studies - so a clear picture of terpinolene has yet to develop. However, the small group of studies uncovered the following in regard to terpinolene yielded the following:

Antioxidant effects

A 2015 study printed in Cytotechnology tested the effects of terpinolene on blood from five healthy human volunteers. They found that low doses had antioxidant properties, without harming white blood cells.

Sedative effects

The sedating nature of terpinolene is considered the strain's most profound and sought-after effect. Though no human trials have been done in this area, a 2013 study published in the Journal of Natural Medicines found that inhaled terpinolene had sedative effects on mice.

Promising cancer treatment

Terpinolene also shows potential as a cancer fighting agent based on a study conducted in 2012 demonstrating traits that inhibit cancer cell proliferation. 

Cannabis Strains high in Terpinolene

Terpinolene is not as abundant as many other cannabis terpenes. However, there are a handful of strains containing relatively high levels of the terpene. For example, some terpinolene high cannabis strains include Jack Herer, Dutch Treat, XJ-13, Ghost Train Haze, Sour Tangie, Snowcap, Shipwreck, and Sour Tsunami.

Gregg Padula
Gregg Padula
Gregg Padula is a cannabis columnist with industry roots reaching back to Humboldt County, CA in the early 2000’s – and later as one of the first cultivators in Massachusetts’ medical cannabis industry. This unique vantage point is explored in much of his work for Gatehouse Media and