According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are more than 500 organic chemical compounds in cannabis —and although cannabinoids like THC and CBD could be the ideal-recognized, the most prevalent are a group of compounds recognized as terpenes. There’s no consensus on their precise quantity, but most scientists think that cannabis plants include about 200 in total. A single of the most potent — and essential — is referred to as limonene.
Like other terpenes such as linalool and myrcene, limonene is a non-psychoactive compound that can also be located in fruits, vegetables, and other plants. Each and every terpene has its personal distinctive therapeutic properties, considerably like necessary oils. As limonene’s name would recommend, it is a crucial element in lemons and other citrus fruits, along with other plants like rosemary, mint, and juniper. It is also 1 of the most prevalent terpenes in cannabis, with a 2016 paper published in the journal Nutraceuticals suggesting that it could comprise as considerably as 16 % of cannabis necessary oil .
Recognized for its fresh, lemony scent, limonene has lengthy been employed in perfumes and household cleaning goods (skilled cannabis customers may well notice that the odors of specific strains, like Super Lemon Haze, bear a curious but not-unpleasant resemblance to their favored dish soap as a outcome). It is completely secure for human consumption, although — aside from the plants in which it naturally happens, it is also employed as an additive for lots of foods and drinks. According to the Planet Well being Organization (WHO), “limonene in foodstuffs does not seem to represent a substantial threat to human overall health.”
In other types, it may well be not only benign but advantageous. Early study has shown that limonene can aid fight bacteria, fungus, and potentially, cancerous tumors. Some added preliminary information has shown limonene to be successful in healing cold sores and lacerations, decreasing tumor development, and lessening the symptoms of gastric reflux.
Having said that, 1 of limonene’s most intriguing possible utilizes is as an anti-anxiousness and anti-depression therapy — which scientists are just starting to discover.
What Science Can Inform Us About Limonene
As detailed in a 2014 paper published in Rejuvenation Study, limonene could aid reduce discomfort and inflammation (and market the release of tension) by altering the parasympathetic nervous program and central neurotransmitter functions. This study, although promising comes with a caveat: It was only performed on rodents.
The lack of human research is a widespread theme in cannabis study, and it is no distinctive when it comes to limonene. Having said that, regardless of the limitations of the research to date, scientists have located some encouraging indicators. According to a 2015 study in Nutritional Neuroscience, limonene exhibits anti-depressive properties (although once more, only in rodents). This was corroborated by a 2019 study in the Journal of Agricultural Meals Chemistry, which located that inhaling necessary oils containing limonene “significantly ameliorated the depression-like behaviors” in mice.
As for study on humans particularly, there is not considerably. A smaller quantity of research — most of which had been summarized in a 2018 assessment in the journal Proof-Primarily based Complementary and Option Medicine — recommend that limonene increases the release of serotonin and dopamine (neurochemicals necessary to regulating happiness and wellbeing) in the locations of the brain related with anxiousness, depression, and OCD. Regardless of this, scientists nevertheless are not specific if limonene exerts these effects by stimulating the olfactory program (as in aromatherapy) or by acting straight on the brain cells.
Some researchers also think that limonene could be an successful therapy for tumors. A 2015 study published in Cancer Prevention Study located that it could inhibit the development of cancerous cells, although it also cautioned that “the biologic activity of limonene in humans is poorly understood” at the moment.