Terpene 101: Deep Dive Into Pinene

The cannabis plant is chock full of different psychoactive compounds. While cannabinoids like CBD and THC seem the most discussed in the cannabis community, these aren’t the only marijuana molecules that deserve our attention.  

Today, we’ll look at a different type of compound—terpenes. Keep reading to learn more about terpenes in general, and discover the specific benefits associated with the terpene pinene. 

What Are Terpenes? 

Terpenes and what they do

Terpenes are aromatic molecules we find in all sorts of plants, not just in cannabis. They’re what give different plants their unique fragrances. When you stop to smell the flowers or inhale the rich aroma of freshly cut grass, you’re experiencing the power of terpenes. 

Originally, plants developed terpenes due to evolutionary purposes. Sweet-smelling and saccharine terpenes like limonene helped plants attract pollinators, while bitter or peppery terpenes discouraged herbivorous predators from turning them into salads. 

Do Terpenes Get You High?

Do Terpenes Get You High?

Often, we see terpenes mentioned in the context of cannabis (take this article, for example). Many cultivators even detail terpene profiles on their flower packaging right next to the THC percentages, so does this mean that terpenes get you high?

There are a few reasons we frequently see terpenes and cannabis mentioned in the same breath, but the answer to that question is: no. Terpenes themselves don’t produce any intoxicating effects, though they may impact how THC interacts with your endocannabinoid system.

For one, cannabis is a particularly terpene-rich plant. There are dozens of different terpenes we know can be present in cannabis and a near-infinite number of terpene combinations. All these different terpenes account for the signature skunky smell we associate with cannabis. 

Additionally, new research into the entourage effect theory suggests that terpenes do more for cannabis strains than give the plant its characteristically nuanced aroma. 

Terpenes Benefits 

For centuries, terpenes have featured prominently in folk medicine and traditional remedies. Now, modern science can start to explain why.

It turns out terpenes have a whole host of potential health benefits. These beneficial properties include: 

  • anticancer 

  • antimicrobial 

  • antifungal 

  • antiviral 

  • antihyperglycemic

  • analgesic

  • anti-inflammatory

  • antiparasitic 

These benefits are nice on their own, but the entourage effect suggests that when combined with similarly therapeutic cannabinoids like THC and CBD, terpenes become even more effective medicinal agents. 

What Is Pinene?

Benefits of the terpene pinene

One of the most common terpenes found in cannabis is pinene. As you might have been able to infer from its name, pinene is the same terpene that gives evergreen trees their crisp pine-like aroma. If you can imagine the aroma of a Christmas tree lot on a cool December morning, then you know exactly what pinene smells like. 

Aside from cannabis and Christmas trees, you can also find pinene in many household herbs like rosemary, basil, parsley, and dill.  

Pinene Benefits

Do you find that taking a deep breath while out in the woods hits different? It’s not just the peaceful seclusion and natural beauty of nature relaxing you; it may be the pinene in the trees. Pinene acts as a natural bronchodilator, helping open airways in the lungs and letting you take deeper breaths. 

Like many other terpenes, pinene exhibits anti-inflammatory effects, which may be extremely useful for treating inflammation-related diseases like arthritis—especially when combined with the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD.  

Other potential pinene effects include helping to reduce stress and anxiety and combatting the short-term memory impairment associated with THC intoxication

Strains High In Pinene 

Do you want to incorporate pinene into your cannabis diet? Here are some of our favorite pinene-rich strains:

  • Big Smooth: Big Smooth is an indica-dominant hybrid that comes from crossing OG Blueberry with Cookies and Cream. The result is a sweet-tasting strain with moderate sedating effects.

  • Cream: Not to be confused with the infamous British rock band, Cream is a hybrid strain with tangy citrus flavor and a creamy finish. Great for relaxing after work, but not so heavy to put you immediately to sleep.

  • LA Confidential: This popular indica strain is easily identified by its highlighter green buds that are peppered with little purple leaves. The high pinene percentages give LA Confidential a strikingly pine-like aroma with hints of petrol.