Cannabis Terpenes: Humulene
Humulene is a terpene common to many herbs and flowers. Marijuana contains substantial amounts of this essential oil. This attractive-smelling compound is known to have many beneficial uses. Find out more about how terpenes like humulene are changing the cannabis game.
There are over 20,000 known terpenes present in various plant and animal species on earth. Terpenes are the compounds that give spring blossoms their sweetness and sweaty socks their skank. They have tongue-tricking names like monocyclic sesquiterpenes and unconjugated dienes. Our world would be flavourless and aroma-less if terpenes did not exist.
Humulene, formerly known as α-caryophyllene, is one of the core cannabis terpenes, along with myrcene and terpinolene, limonene, pinene, and geraniol. These six impart the marijuana-ness of the delicious aromas that all cannabis shares. Terpene concentration varies from strain to strain, but thanks to these volatile compounds, marijuana retains its distinctive, beloved scent. Other terpenes such as terpinene and camphene offer unique benefits to fragrances and cosmetic products, but cannabis is one of the predominant venues where terpenes really shine.
Humulene is a very common terpene in nature. It is responsible for the distinct bouquets and flavours of a number of well-known herbs and products. Beer would not be beer without the hoppy taste that humulene gives to the hop plant. The unmistakable tang that makes beer so refreshing is thanks to this delicious essential oil. It is also the reason that culinary sage, ginger, and ginseng have their burning bite. It is humulene, combined with pinene, that announces a pine forest in a summer breeze.
HUMULENE AND CANNABIS
The cannabis plant produces humulene as part of its natural defences. Many other terpenes and over one hundred cannabinoids are produced in the resin of mature flowers. They act together as antifungal agents and anti-desiccants, antibiotics, and antibacterials. The same resins inhibit predation from insect pests and animals. It is exactly these qualities that make the essential oils contained in marijuana so useful. In the home, they can be extracted and utilised day-to-day as topical skin balms for inflammation or as natural pesticides. In the clinic, they can be applied as powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents.
Humulene is always part of the cannabis terpene profile. Therefore, this prolific oil plays a part in all of the modified genotypes of different strains. Humulene helps distinguish fragrances, recreational effects, and overall therapeutic efficacy. Humulene is a well-researched compound and breeders are endeavouring to produce high humulene strains in effort to up the therapeutic ante of cannabis.
THE EFFECTS OF HUMULENE
The effectiveness of many herbal medicines is due to their humulene content. Remedies in ancient Chinese apothecaries were notably high in humulene. Humulene is released when hops are steeped and can be used as an effective sedative. In the same vein, pepper and ginseng (both containing humulene) can be prepared as natural antibiotics.
Humulene acts as an antibacterial agent and has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. In small quantities,  it has been shown to kill the S.aureus bacteria. A 2003  study showed that humulene, especially when acting in concert with other terpenes and cannabinoids, killed cancer cells. The most recent  studies concluded  that humulene was as effective of an anti-inflammatory as the steroidal drug dexamethasone. Further still, humulene is frequently invoked as an appetite suppressant, which may lead to more widespread use in the future.
CANNABIS STRAINS HIGH IN HUMULENE
White Widow sits firmly upon the pantheon of legendary strains, and her name is known by even the most novice of smokers. The earthy and piney aromas that radiate from these dense and resinous flowers are thanks in part to humulene. These flavours can be harnessed, and the high enhanced, by using these buds to create edibles. An even balance between sativa and indica genetics results in a high that targets both body and mind. A medium CBD content grounds the effects, preventing the high from becoming too intense.
Indoors, White Widow reaches 60–100cm in height and churns out 450–500g/m² after 8–9 weeks of bloom. Outdoor plants achieve a max yield of 600g/plant and peak at a height of 190cm. Get ready to harvest these buds during the tail-end of October.
OG Kush stems from the mecca of cannabis cultivation: Northern California. The strain has gained a massive following, and is now grown and consumed all over the planet. There is some controversy revolving around this variety, as the meaning of the “OG” in her name is debated. However, what is known about OG Kush is the high level of humulene in her flowers. This terpene produces a delicious hint of pine complemented by tastes of citrus and fruit bestowed by other terpenes. This indica-dominant classic was created through the crossbreeding of parent strains Chemdawg, Lemon Thai, and Pakistani Kush. Her high is physical, stoning, and sedating at high doses.
OG Kush is a tolerant strain that feels at home in a mild environment. If grown indoors, one can expect a yield of up to 475g/m² after 7–9 weeks of flowering. Plants grown outdoors put out 525g/plant and peak at a height of 220cm.
Despite her sour taste, Sour Diesel indeed contains humulene, and notes of earth are detectable when smoked. Another example of prime Californian genetics, Sour Diesel descends from an impressive lineage of Original Diesel, Northern Light, Shiva, and Hawaiian genetics. A sativa-dominant strain, Sour Diesel provides a clear-headed, cognitive high that boosts focus and offers slight stimulation. The positive feelings experienced after smoking a joint of this strain may assist with low mood and stress.
Sour Diesel has a moderate growing difficulty and favours warm weather. Indoor cultivation is ideal unless growing outdoors in areas like Spain or California. Indoor plants will produce a yield of around 500g/m² after 10–11 weeks of flowering. When grown outdoors under the hot sun, Sour Diesel will provide up to 600g/plant by late October.
Cannabis owes its distinctive fragrance in part to humulene. This terpene can provide powerful therapeutic effects.