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Chances are if you read a list of the hundreds of terpenes found in cannabis to the average person, even the average cannabis user, not many would ring a bell. Limonene may be in the select few that would make someone's (puffy red) eyes widen and say, 'wait, I recognize that one!'
This is due to a variety of reasons - limonene is the second most abundant terpene in nature according to current sources and it is very popular and prominent in cannabis. But also because of limonene's versatility, wide application of uses, and profound physiological effects. Much like how most people could use more sunshine in their life, just about everyone could benefit from more contact with limonene.
Limonene has an instantly recognizable scent - a zesty, tangy citrus that's found in lime, lemon, oranges, and other citrus fruits. It's mouth-puckering bite can be polarizing, but it's effects are unanimously positive. It adds a vibrancy and brightness to whatever product or environment it's infused into which can be very helpful in most circumstances.
First and foremost, we need to discuss limonene's profound impact on those suffering from depression. Studies have demonstrated diffusing limonene, at low levels, into rooms with depressed patients and their depression levels are measured on what is called a Hamilton Depression Score. Almost universally, their scores lowered, showing an improvement in their ailment. Depression is reported as the largest health concern of the 21st Century, afflicting roughly 350 million people globally, and while the terpene will obviously not cure the disease, it can certainly ease the symptoms and provide momentary relief. Limonene directly affects serotonin pathways and may be used as a substitute for or in conjunction with antidepressant medication.
Lemon is often an ingredient in many fat-loss diets and regimens, this is largely due to limonene. In another rat study, limonene decreased the size of fat cells, reduced glucose and fat levels in the blood, and decreased the accumulation of fat in the liver of mice fed high-fat diets. For more information on how limonene is shown to suppress appetite, check out this blog post.
D-Limonene is an anti-inflammatory monoterpene that is commonly used in dietary supplements as it is proven to promote weight loss. Limonene is safe to be used in foods, beverages, and is often used as flavoring in chewing gum and candy for its potent and mouthwatering lemon flavor. In pharmaceuticals, limonene is added to help medicinal ointments and creams penetrate the skin in a phenomenon called the entourage effect. Studies have shown limonene has a permeation enhancement and essentially opens the door for other compounds to be able to seep through and enter the bloodstream more efficiently.
In manufacturing, limonene is used as a fragrance for its pleasing lemon smell. It is also used as a cleaner, for example, as a solvent in the removal of oil from machine parts. It is also a primary ingredient in water-free hand cleansers.
Limonene has astounding potential in the medical industry. The monoterpene is anti-proliferative, meaning it inhibits cell growth in tumors. This lemon-terpene has been shown to block cancer-forming chemicals and kill cancer cells in rats. More research is required on humans in order to know if this property translates to humans. D-limonene is shown to build up in tumors of certain types of advanced cancer, when taken orally in 21-day cycles. The high levels of limonene in the tumors may slow down the progress of the cancer, but their effect on the patient’s survival is uncertain. It’s too early to recommend using the terpene in cancer treatment, but with continued research, we will see the potential future applications of this lemon-smelling monoterpene.
For industrial purposes, limonene has diverse uses: as an organic herbicide, a solvent to remove oil from machinery, and a paint stripper. In traditional medicine, the terpene has been tapped for centuries as a component of remedies for bronchitis, heartburn and gallstones. Modern medicine is now delving into the therapeutic possibilities of limonene and many other terpenes, such as caryophyllene.
Because of its delicious lemony scent, limonene is the perfect isolate to infuse into any homemade DIY product. Consider infusing it into a candle, hand sanitizer, or any house cleaner for a brightening, lemony scent.
Limonene is among the most popular terpenes found in cannabis. If you've ever felt a brightening, uplifting effect after consuming the plant, odds are good that those effects came from a high percentage of the lime terpene in the strain's profile. Strains like Lemon Haze and Lemon Skunk are obviously packed with this terpene, but it's also found in an abundance of other terpene profiles.
Both indicas and sativas will express this zesty terpene, allowing almost all strains to reap the benefits of limonene. Limonene gives sativa strains an exhilarating, energizing buzz. While hybrids tend to have mood-elevating effects enhanced by limonene and indicas high in limonene counteract the potential for lower moods from increased sedative terpenes like myrcene.
Select cannabis strains and terpene blends are a fantastic way to reap the diverse effects of limonene. If you aren't a fan of cannabis, consider diffusing the isolate directly into any scented product like a hand sanitizer, candle, or into an air diffuser. Most terpene profiles have twenty or more isolates in the mix, so it is rare to find one strain that is concentrated heavily with one isolate like limonene. However, here are some strains that have a relatively high limonene content:
Research is still being done on terpenes, cannabinoids, and similarly related compounds. There is insufficient evidence to claim limonene will heal you, but it may provide much needed temporary relief, or a momentary brightening boost in mood. Always remember to speak with a doctor before using limonene for a medical purpose, and never use it in place of something your doctor recommends or prescribes.