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When it comes to cannabis, most people are familiar with cannabinoids like THC and CBD. However, there’s another class of compounds found in the plant that can have significant health benefits: terpenes.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that give plants their distinctive scents and flavors, and they can also have therapeutic properties. One terpene that’s attracting a lot of attention in the medical community is humulene.

What is Humulene?

Humulene, also known as alpha-humulene, is a sesquiterpene found in the essential oil of various plants, including hops, basil, and sage. It is also present in certain strains of cannabis, where it contributes to the plant’s unique aroma and flavor. Humulene has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibacterial properties.


Health Benefits of Humulene

Anti-inflammatory Effects

One of the most promising health benefits of humulene is its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a natural response by the body to injury or infection, but chronic inflammation can contribute to a variety of diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. 

Studies have shown that humulene can help to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes.

In a 2021 review published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, researchers analyzed the available scientific literature on the anti-inflammatory effects of humulene. 

They found that humulene had a significant anti-inflammatory effect in various animal models of inflammation, including paw edema, lung inflammation, and colitis. The researchers also noted that humulene was effective in reducing inflammation in human cells in vitro.

Pain Relief

Humulene has also been shown to have analgesic properties, which means it can help to relieve pain. In a 2016 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, researchers found that humulene was effective in reducing pain in mice by activating the CB2 cannabinoid receptor. The CB2 receptor is primarily found in immune cells and is involved in modulating inflammation and pain.

Antibacterial Properties

In addition to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, humulene also has antibacterial properties. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Essential Oil Research found that humulene had potent antibacterial activity against several strains of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

Potential Anti-Cancer Effects

Some research suggests that humulene may have potential anti-cancer effects. 

A 2013 study published in the journal Anticancer Research found that humulene had anti-proliferative effects against cancer cells, meaning it was able to slow or stop their growth. The study also found that humulene increased the production of a protein called p53, which is known to suppress tumors.

A 2016 study published in the journal Oncology Letters found that humulene had anti-tumor effects in a mouse model of lung cancer. The researchers found that humulene inhibited the growth and metastasis of cancer cells by inducing apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

Potential Anti-Obesity Effects

There is also some evidence to suggest that humulene may have potential anti-obesity effects. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Natural Medicines found that humulene reduced body weight gain and improved insulin sensitivity in obese mice. The researchers attributed these effects to humulene’s ability to modulate inflammation and oxidative stress.


Using Humulene

Humulene is present in various plants, including hops, which are used to flavor and preserve beer. It is also found in certain strains of cannabis, although it is not as abundant as other terpenes like myrcene and limonene. Humulene can be extracted from these plants and used in various forms, including essential oils and tinctures.

One of the most common ways to consume humulene is through inhalation, either by smoking or vaporizing cannabis strains that are high in humulene. Some of the strains that are known to contain high levels of humulene include Pink Cookie, Sour Apple, and Superboof.

Humulene can also be consumed orally, either by ingesting essential oils or by adding them to food or drinks. Some people also use humulene topically, in the form of creams or lotions, to help relieve pain and inflammation.

Safety and Side Effects

Humulene is generally considered safe for consumption, and there are no known serious side effects associated with its use. However, as with any natural supplement, it is important to use it responsibly and to consult with a healthcare provider before using it if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications.


Humulene is a promising terpene with a range of potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, and anti-cancer effects. While more research is needed to fully understand its mechanisms of action and potential uses, early studies suggest that humulene could be a valuable addition to our toolkit for managing inflammation, pain, and other health conditions.

Other Terpenes

  1. Myrcene: This is one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis, and is also found in other plants such as mangoes, hops, and thyme. Myrcene is believed to have a calming and sedative effect, and may also have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies suggest that myrcene may also enhance the psychoactive effects of THC.

  2. Limonene: As the name suggests, this terpene is commonly found in citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges. Limonene is known for its bright, citrusy aroma, and is believed to have a variety of potential health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Some research has also suggested that limonene may help reduce stress and improve mood.

  3. Pinene: This terpene is found in high concentrations in pine trees, as well as in other plants such as rosemary and basil. Pinene is known for its fresh, piney scent, and is believed to have anti-inflammatory and bronchodilatory effects. Some studies have also suggested that pinene may have potential anti-cancer properties.

  4. Linalool: This terpene is commonly found in lavender, as well as in other plants such as mint and cinnamon. Linalool is known for its calming and relaxing effects, and is believed to have potential anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties. Some research has also suggested that linalool may have analgesic effects.

While much of the research on terpenes is still in the early stages, there is growing interest in the potential health benefits of these compounds, both on their own and in combination with other cannabinoids and plant compounds. As more research is conducted, we may gain a better understanding of how terpenes like humulene can be used to support health and wellness. Learn more about cannabis terpenes here.

Franklin Fields is committed to cultivating high-quality cannabis that includes the unique qualities of all terpenes. Dedicated to provide consumers with a beneficial and joyful cannabis experience.



  1. Is humulene legal?
    Yes, humulene is legal and can be found in various plants, including hops and cannabis.

  2. Can humulene be used to treat arthritis?
    Humulene has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which could make it a potentially useful treatment for arthritis. However, more research is needed to determine its efficacy and safety for this use.

  3. Is humulene safe for pets?
    There is no known toxicity associated with humulene, but it is always important to consult with a veterinarian before giving any supplements to pets.

  4. Can humulene cause a high?
    Humulene is not seem to produce psychoactive or produce a “high” like THC. More research is needed to determine the entourage effect

  5. Is humulene used in aromatherapy?
    Yes, humulene is used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and relieve stress. It is often blended with other essential oils like lavender and chamomile.

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