hero brands cover photo for benefits of limonene

What Are The Effects and Benefits of Limonene Terpene?

| Spencer Beaudreault

The effects and potential benefits that may be gained from cannabis are innumerable.

With well over 100 known cannabinoids, researchers have their work cut out for them.

  • What do these cannabinoids do?
  • What type of effects could they potentially have on users?
  • How could they be used one day to benefit society?

And, while we’ve previously discussed that there is more to cannabis than just CBD and THC, there is also more to cannabis than even cannabinoids! In this article, we will go over one key compound that is found in several different plants, including cannabis. This compound is a terpene by the name of limonene, and the potential benefits that this compound may possess just might surprise you. Before we can jump right into limonene, however, we should probably go through a quick rundown on what exactly terpenes are, as well as what they do!


a molecule for the limonene terpene on a blue screen


What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are defined as any of a large group of hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants, especially conifers and citrus trees. They are often very fragrant, with many terpenes having a pleasant smell. Terpenes are used in everything from solvents and inks to various polymers, perfumes, and foods and drinks. The flavor associated with hops for instance is formed heavily by two separate terpenes, humulene, and caryophyllene. Terpenes are found in a wide variety of plants and utilized in an even wider variety of applications. They are also utilized commonly within essential oil diffusers for aromatherapy, with each terpene believed to offer different potential benefits than one another.

Limonene is just one of what is estimated to be about 120 known terpenes within the cannabis plant, and one of what is believed to be over 100,000 terpenes throughout the world in other plants! Limonene is commonly found within citrus fruits and plants, which is where it gets its name from! Limonene is a colorless liquid that forms the major component in the oil of citrus fruit peels. It is responsible for providing the bright, citrusy smell associated with oranges, and is used as both a flavoring agent in food as well as a solvent within cleaning products. In addition to this, limonene is also commonly found within various strains of cannabis. Limonene can be naturally produced by the cannabis plant within the plant’s resin glands. Cannabis that is high in limonene content can commonly have citrus-like notes.

orange and lemon slices with cannabis leaves on a wooden table to show limonene effects

But it may be more than the smell of the cannabis that limonene may change. It is believed by many researchers that the terpenes associated with specific cannabis strains can in fact play a large part in the varying effects associated with different strains. As terpenes intermingle with THC, CBD, and the other cannabinoids within the cannabis, they may be able to strongly influence the feelings that a user experiences when consuming the cannabis. So, if there are over a hundred terpenes associated with cannabis, and over a hundred cannabinoids as well, could it be possible that the effects of cannabis can be very different based on all of the different associated strains?

Yes! This is why further research must be done into all of these compounds so we can fully determine what the beneficial effects could possibly be for users!

Now that we have gone over the important role that terpenes play within a wide variety of applications, including cannabis, let’s discuss limonene. What are the potential benefits of limonene terpene effects? What do the limonene terpene effects feel like, and what can one expect from ingesting the limonene terpene?


a man holding a lemon with a cannabis leaf to show limonene terpene effects


The Benefits of Limonene

Like the varying cannabinoids, there are numerous potential benefits associated with the limonene terpene. For starters, limonene has been used for years within the aromatherapy world for it’s believed ability to boost the mood and lower the level of stress of the user. Like any compound, the limonene effects will vary in experience from person to person. It is believed, however, that limonene can be used to effectively lower the stress and anxiety of the user, either from the scent or from ingesting the limonene terpene itself! This doesn’t appear to be simple hearsay either, as a rodent study showed that rats displayed lower stress and anxiety levels when given a dosage of limonene, as researchers measured the level of cortisol within the bodies of these rodents. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to high stress situations. While the body releases cortisol in order to help handle stress, which is known to lead to higher risks of various diseases, having high levels of cortisol for extended periods of time can do the body more harm than good. By lowering the levels of cortisol within the body, the limonene is, in theory, lowering the feelings of stress and anxiety within the rodents. This can prevent a plethora of potential issues that can arise due to high and prolonged stress levels.

But lowering stress and anxiety levels isn’t the only potential benefit that is commonly associated with the limonene terpene.

a man staring at a blackboard with stress written out to show limonene effects and stress

Limonene has been heralded by many who suffer with various metabolic ailments or disorders. In yet another rodent study, rodents who were fed diets high in fat and sugar were given doses of limonene. It was found that the rats who received doses of limonene showed a decrease in both blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels! Another study showed that limonene may even have the potential to reverse some of the damage that a high fat diet can cause to both the liver as well as the pancreas! While these studies do not necessarily indicate a guaranteed benefit to do these things, it does show great promise for this citrusy terpene!

Limonene is also believed by some to both act as an anti-inflammatory as well as possess antioxidant properties. In yet another rodent study on the potential healing effects of limonene, rodents suffering from ulcerative colitis were given limonene and it appeared to lessen the damage caused to the colon. In addition to minimizing the physical damage done, it is believed that high levels of inflammation in the body can lead to an individual developing painful and incurable disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, which can be outright debilitating for some individuals. If limonene has the ability to prevent such a disorder by lowering inflammation within the body, this would prove to be profoundly beneficial. Further study is ongoing on the benefits of limonene terpene use in relation to inflammatory issues, but in the rodent study, it did seem to help alleviate the inflammation.

I know what you may be thinking: rodent studies are important, but they do not correlate to human studies in the same manner. This is true, but they do provide researchers with a glimpse into what could translate into human studies. If the rodents in these studies did truly gain some level of comfort and pain management from limonene, it isn’t that far a stretch to say that humans could very well one day rely on the limonene terpene in order to help dull some of these painful disorders and ailments, be it a physical or mental ailment. While further study is needed before we can hail limonene as a sort of wonder compound that frees us from stress, anxiety, and various pains, it does show hope for the terpene.

lemon slices and a cannabis leaf on a yellow table to show limonene terpene effects


What To Conclude From This

We still have only touched on what is perhaps the most interesting part of all of this: The limonene terpene is just one of so many different terpenes. As previously discussed, limonene is just one of what could be over 100,000 terpenes in the world. If limonene has the potential to do all of what we’ve discussed, then there is no limit to the other potential benefits that could be gained from all of the other terpenes available! Imagine no longer having to pick up ten different prescription pills to handle all of the stress, pain, and illnesses going on in your life. What if there were natural, holistic-but-proven methods to take control of your life and feel happier, healthier, and safer? I say this not to bash prescription drugs that can genuinely help a large amount of the population, but instead to provide a glimpse into what could possibly be the reality one day in the near future. Could these natural compounds cure or even manage the symptoms of such debilitating illness? Could a chemical found commonly in orange peels be the answer to those suffering from inflammation-based disorders like ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other notorious illnesses? We can’t say for certain at this time, but what we can do is take the time to research these case studies, acknowledge the fact that there are some people who experience some level of relief from the use of limonene and other terpenes, and then form the question:

“Can these compounds help me out too?”

It starts with this question and it ends with case studies, research, FDA regulation, and, hopefully one day, FDA approval.

After all, it worked for CBD.

Who is to say whether or not one day we will be prescribed less opiates and more cannabinoids and terpenes in their place?

a person holding a cannabis bud with a molecule of CBD in the background for limonene terpene effects

Spencer Beaudreault

Spencer Beaudreault is the Founder of Hero Brands, a Business Development & Marketing Expert, and a lifelong advocate & user of cannabis, hemp, & plant-based alternatives.
Tags: Terpenes