Happy Tuesday, everyone! This week we’ll be discussing Humulene, the bitter terpene found in hops! Humulene also goes by the names alpha humulene or alpha caryophyllene and can be found in several popular strains of cannabis – particularly strains that lean more to the sativa side of the spectrum.
What is Humulene?
Humulene is a sesquiterpene – a class of terpenes that are made up of three isoprene units. Like other types of terpenes, sesquiterpenes are found naturally occurring in plants and pheromones.
Humulene is most commonly found in hops, a plant that actually comes from the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants, just like cannabis. The word Humulene comes directly from Humulus Lupulus, which is the scientific name for hops.
What does Humulene Smell like?
Your nose may already be familiar with the humulene aroma but just didn't have a name to put to the scent. When first taking in a whiff of humulene, the bitter beer-like smell of strong hops hits the nostrils first. As the aroma begins to fade, the more subtle scents of tree bark and freshly dug earth mix with spicy hints of black pepper and fresh herbs. It’s a complex scent that IPA lovers, in particular, will enjoy and appreciate.
What does Humulene Taste Like?
You likely taste humulene more than you realize since the terpene is present in several common foods. The most obvious is beer, which is loaded with bitter hops. These days craft beer culture has gone completely hop crazy, with breweries competing to see who can create the beer with the strongest hop flavor. For those who want to enjoy this taste without the alcohol, Lagunitas has created a line of cannabis-infused beverages called Hi-Fi Hops, which are an excellent choice for the Cali-Sober crowd.
Humulene also shows up in sage, black pepper, and ginseng.
What are the Effects of Humulene?
Terpenes do more than just add smells and flavors to plants and food; they also have loads of therapeutic potential. In fact, Humulene has been used in traditional Chinese medicines for hundreds of years. Check out our very first Terpene Tuesday post to learn more about the medicinal effects of terpenes!
Some of the benefits of humulene include:
- Anti-inflammatory: research indicates that humulene has anti-inflammatory properties that may make it useful in treating pain caused by conditions like arthritis.
- Anti-bacterial: One study found that humulene may take an active role in preventing the formation of Staphylococcus Aureus, also known as Golden-Staph.
- Anti-tumor: A study from 2016 shows that humulene, when combined with other cannabinoids and terpenes, can inhibit tumor growth in animal models.
One other interesting benefit is that humulene can function as an appetite suppressant, which means it may end up being a useful ingredient in a comprehensive weight-loss strategy.
What are Common Humulene Strains?Humulene is one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis. These stains contain exceptionally high levels of humulene:
- Chemdawg – This iconic strain first started showing up in the parking lots of Grateful Dead concerts in the 90’s. Chemdawg can inspire feelings of uplifting euphoria and has a distinctly skunky aroma.
- Headband – Bred from two of the most well-known strains of bud out there (OG Kush and Sour Diesel), Headband is a Sativa leaning hybrid with strong notes of petrol complimented by refreshing citrus.
- Thin Mint GSC – Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies is one by far one of the most sought after strains in all of cannabis. It’s an incredibly potent hybrid that comes with a full-body high. Its name comes from the saccharine minty smell the buds give off when ground.