Citrus, Fresh, Lemon, Sour, Sweet
Citrus, Sweet, Sharp, Sour, Mint
Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Carrots,
Induces euphoria and happiness
Can dissolve gallstones
Pain and nausea suppressant
Reduce blood pressure
Major terpene in these cannabis strains:
Super Lemon Haze, Sour Diesel, Lemon Skunk, Bruce Banner, Sunset Sherbert, Lemon Kush
Limonene is a terpene that conveys a smell of citrus (orange, tangerine, lemon, lime, or grapefruit), juniper, rosemary, or peppermint. This bright terpene is commonly used in perfume, house cleaners, food and medicine, partially due to its nice aroma and low toxicity as well as it's ability to be a solvent. Limonene has been used as a house remedy for acne, acid reflux and athlete’s foot in the past. Lemons and other citrus fruits contain large quantities of limonene, especially in the rind. Thus, when one perceives an aroma of citrus in cannabis (or any other plant), it is literally the same chemical that produces this odor in fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges. While pleasant aromas are certainly desired on the part of recreational smokers, patients and the severely ill are more concerned with medicinal efficacy. Like myrcene, limonene has several medical benefits. This therapeutic terpene has been found to aid in digestion, to alleviate depression and anxiety, and to contribute anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Limonene is also an anti-inflammatory, giving it efficacy for a number of conditions, and an anti-proliferative for cancer cells, meaning it can be an effective anti-cancer medicine. The anti-cancer properties of limonene are what have generated the greatest media attention and are arguably the molecule’s most promising trait. In studies, limonene was shown it's usefulness in potential partial treatment for breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers. Studies have also inferred it to be an anti-inflammatory, lowering or preventing key stages in the reaction.
Lemon, oranges and other citrus fruits' zest contain large amounts of this volatile monoterpene, which is also found in many other plants like mint, juniper, rosemary and pine needles. The rapid evaporation of monoterpene makes limonene quickly hit the sensory receptors of insects, parasites, or curious animals, who immediately perceive its smell as a toxin. You can guess why some of the smartest plants are packed with lemony resins. After myrcene, limonene is the most abundant terpene in most of the cannabis strains, but this doesn’t mean all varieties must smell like lemon. One of its chemical forms makes limonene smell mostly like tangerine and tastes like lemon while another form smells like lime and earthy spices but tastes like grapefruit. When combined with other terpenes, a whole range of nostalgic aromas can be produced, such as other foods like peaches and sweet cheese. Be careful when identifying this terpene with your nose alone as it is often mistaken for terpinolene's citral, cedar wood smell that produces a more sedative yet still joyful high, while limonene has a more fresh lemon smell that produces a low anxiety yet energized and happy high.
Two symmetrical isomers make up all known limonene. D-Limonene R(+) is the most common isomer and can also be commonly found in carrots, along with oranges and lemons, and smells like fresh lemons and tangerines. The less common L-isomer S(-) is found in mint oils has a harsh tart lemon, turpentine-like odor with a slight hint of mint in large quantities.
Limonene's effect and benefits
Just as different cannabinoids have different effects, so do terpenes. These unique attributes contribute to the overall composition of a strain, adding a dimension to each one’s “personality.” Some of Limonene’s known effects and benefits include:
- Lowers anxiety
- Promotes happiness and feelings of wellbeing
- Reduces blood pressure
- Prevents tumor growth
- Antioxidant (cancer prevention)
- Ability to dissolve small gallstones
- Increases production of antibodies
- Relieves pain and nausea
Massroots: What is Limonene?
Terpene Info: Limonene
Royal Queen Seeds: Limonene: A Medical, Recreational and Flavorful Terpene
As with all areas of study on the medical qualities of cannabis, more research needs to be conducted to better understand the interactions Terpenes create, like limonene, within the human body. Human trials might be in short supply, but the fact that limonene does not appear on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (unlike THC, CBD, and cannabis as a whole), means it is easy to obtain and legal to use in a variety studies. Therefore, researchers have been more free to focus on its potential efficacy as an anti-depressant, anxiolytic (anxiety reducing), immunostimulant, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer agent.
All the way back in 1972 a study was done where limonene, given every other day, dissolved the remaining gallstones after surgical gallstone removal in a pilot trial of three patients. In a fourth patient, limonene was given instead of performing surgery, but this was not successful due to other complications however some dissolution of stones was shown. No side effects were shown in the 2 years the patients were tracked after the trials.
A study in 1998 of 32 cancer patients were given limonene, which slowed tumor growth, with one patient using it to sustain a partial response for over 11 months. However, side effects like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea prevented them from taking high doses of limonene
In 2003 a study concluded limonene caused dose-dependent cell death in human stomach cancer cells .
A study done in 2005 on mice with lymphoma, limonene improved survival, increased their ability to fight bacterial infections, and reduced hypersensitivity to foreign compounds, which can ultimately reduce allergic reactions.
Another study done in 2005 limonene also reduced overall appetite and increased breakdown of fat cells, leading to weight loss in rats.
In 2007 and 2014 studies limonene was shown to reduce gastric acid reflux and improve gastric wall mucus lining levels.
A 2011 study conducted at the University of Arizona and published in the journal Oncology Reviews found that limonene has anti-cancer properties and is a modulator within the body’s immune system. The study concluded:
“…Observations from cell culture, animal, and epidemiological studies support the presence of anti-cancer properties in citrus peel.”
A 2012 study concluded In mice fed a high-fat diet, limonene reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar and increased levels of antioxidants, lowering the risk of developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease due to large amounts of fat in the liver.
A 2013 study conducted at the University of Arizona Cancer Center and published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research found that limonene was effective in preventing cancer cell proliferation and reducing tumor growth proteins. This human trial involved 43 women who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. A follow-up study in 2015 found similar results.
Another study done in 2013 showed that mice who inhaled limonene showed significantly reduce anxiety levels. Limonene is also highly volatile, which means that it easily evaporates into a gas, making it ideal for inhaled aromatherapy.
In 2014 a Saudia Arabia study found that limonene also increased the production of new cells and blood vessels and improved skin healing after an injury in mice.
A study conducted in 2014 in France and published in the journal anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy agents in Medicinal Chemistry reported that limonene has anti-inflammatory properties that helps with skin repair.
Another study done in 2014 show limonene provides a significant anti-stress action, by decreasing the stress in rats under environmental stress. As well it proved this reaction was based on limonene and not the metabolized byproduct of limonene producing the effects.
A fourth 2014 study shows that limonene as an aromathereapy agent reduced nausea, vomiting, and pain during the first stage of labor in a study (DB-RCT) of 100 pregnant women.
A fifth 2014 study gave limonene to women who were in the first stage of labor to attempt to alleviate pain. The group using aromatherapy showed marked decreases in pain at 4 different stages and the researchers even suggest:
"[Aromatherapy] method is recommended because of its ease of use and low cost and because it is a non-aggressive method to reduce labor pain."
A 2015 study found that limonene may protect the eyes and prevent cataracts, due to its antioxidant properties shielding them from humans natural metabolism byproduct, hydrogen peroxide.
A Chinese 2017 study found D-limonene has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, allowing it to counteract the effects of free radicals, which damage DNA and lead to cancer.
A study done in 2017 in Brazil concluded limonene reduced widespread pain in the bones and muscles of mice, likely by acting on nerves in the spinal cord.
Further reading on studies done :
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