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What Is Terpinolene?

Exploring Terpinolene: A Promising Molecule from the Cannabis Plant

Terpinolene is a terpene found in over 200 terpenes produced by the cannabis plant. Despite being present in lower quantities compared to other terpenes, terpinolene plays a significant role in the aroma of many cannabis strains. Its pungent scent serves as a defense mechanism against pest insects and fungal pathogens.

The Aroma of Terpinolene

Terpinolene offers a unique blend of earthy and fresh scents, reminiscent of pine, wood, flowers, herbs, and subtle citrus notes. These aromatic qualities make it a popular choice for products such as soaps and perfumes.

Presence in Nature

Terpinolene is not exclusive to the cannabis plantβ€”it appears in various plant species including tea tree, celery, pine, nutmeg, marjoram, valerian, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, basil, sage, and ginger. Wild parsnip contains the highest concentration of terpinolene in nature.

Possible Therapeutic Effects

While research on terpinolene is ongoing, studies have indicated its potential therapeutic effects. The terpene has shown promise as an antitumour, antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and possibly sedative agent. In addition, it may contribute to protecting against cardiovascular diseases.

Supporting Research

Studies have revealed the antitumour potential of terpinolene by altering signalling pathways related to cancer cell growth and survival. The terpene may also act as an antioxidant, reduce pain and inflammation, and offer protective effects against cardiovascular conditions. Further research is needed to uncover the full spectrum of terpinolene’s therapeutic capabilities.


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[2] OKUMURA, N., YOSHIDA, H., NISHIMURA, Y., KITAGISHI, Y., & MATSUDA, S. (2011). Terpinolene, a component of herbal sage, downregulates AKT1 expression in K562 cells. Oncology Letters, 3(2), 321–324. [Source]

[3] Aydin, E., Türkez, H., & Geyikoğlu, F. (2013). Antioxidative, anticancer and genotoxic properties of α-pinene on N2a neuroblastoma cells. Biologia, 68(5), 1004–1009. [Source]

[4] Turkez, H., Aydin, E., & Geyikoglu, F. (2014). Genotoxic and oxidative damage potentials in human lymphocytes after exposure to terpinolene in vitro. Springer Link. [Source]

[5] Macedo, E., Santos, W., Sousa Neto, B., Lopes, E., Piauilino, C., Cunha, F., Sousa, D., Oliveira, F., & Almeida, F. (2016). Association of terpinolene and diclofenac presents antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory synergistic effects in a model of chronic inflammation. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 49(7). [Source]

[6] Russo, E. B., & Marcu, J. (2017). Cannabis Pharmacology: The Usual Suspects and a Few Promising Leads. Cannabinoid Pharmacology, 67–134. [Source]

[7] Graßmann, J., Hippeli, S., Spitzenberger, R., & Elstner, E. (2005). The monoterpene terpinolene from the oil of Pinus mugo L. in concert with α-tocopherol and β-carotene effectively prevents oxidation of LDL. Phytomedicine, 12(6–7), 416–423. [Source]