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Terpinolene Terpene: Benefits, Effects and Uses


What is Terpinolene, What are the Benefits of Terpinolene. Effects, Research, Science & More:

Heard of Terpinolene? But, don’t know where to start, or know what the health benefits are for you?

In this article we take you through the benefits, options, important criteria you should consider when looking at products containing the terpene Terpinolene.

Introduction into the Terpene Terpinolene

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Vance Green, PharmD.
Updated on August 24, 2021

Terpinolene is a somewhat unusual terpene sometimes found in hemp and cannabis.
In our series on the different kinds of terpenes, we’ve looked at commonplace compounds like pinene or humulene. While those are present in numerous strains, terpinolene is considered to be one of the more rare terpenes. However, it’s the subject of some interesting research, meaning its potential influence on cannabis and hemp strains where it’s found should not be ignored. 

Terpinolene smells earthy and floral. In a concentrated form, terpinolene can smell a bit antiseptic or like turpentine, as the name implies. But in smaller quantities, it can add quite a pleasant aroma found in plants like cardamom. Some plants where terpinolene is found include cumin, tea tree, and apples. 

Below, we’re going to learn a bit more about the chemistry and origins of terpinolene. Then we’ll talk about what research suggests are some possible benefits of terpinolene. Finally, we’ll point out a few strains where this rare cannabinoid can be found.

Some facts about terpinolene, or delta-Terpinene

Terpinolene is an alternative name for a form of the compound terpinene. Terpinene is part of a class of especially potent terpenes called monoterpenes and terpinolene is actually one name for delta-Terpinene. Both gamma-Terpinolene and delta-Terpinene occur in the plants mentioned here, including hemp and cannabis, with the delta- form most often labeled as terpinolene.

Lilac, nutmeg, conifer trees, sage and rosemary all contain notable amounts of terpinolene. 

While terpinolene has some use in creating perfumes, it’s most commonly used to cover up the unpleasant smell of some industrial compounds.

What are the possible benefits of terpinolene? 

Here are some possible benefits of terpinolene, assembled from various sources around the internet: 

We can’t verify every one of these, and all of them are based on preliminary research and shouldn’t be relied on for medical advice. For example, most of the antifungal research is based on tea tree oil, which contains terpinolene, rather than at the terpene in isolation. 

Many terpenes show antifungal and antibacterial action in plants, as they are often used by plants as a form of defense against predators. As a result, it’s not surprising to see their presence on a list of possible benefits for terpinolene. 

Some of the others warrant a closer look. 

A 2013 study in a Turkish science journal suggested terpinolene could slow or inhibit growth of brain tumor cells forming in rat brain cells. However, the study did not use animals, but rather brain cells that were cultured in a lab. Many substances show similar action in laboratory settings, but don’t ultimately result in a beneficial cancer treatment. 

Most of the studies of terpinolene we found were similarly performed “in vitro,” in other words, using cells in a petri dish. As a result, a great deal of further study is required here. 

There were some exceptions. One interesting 2013 study looked at the sedative effect of terpinolene when inhaled by mice. The researchers found that the sedative effect remained when the mice had no sense of smell, suggesting a deeper chemical action when absorbed by the nasal tissues, rather than simply an olfactory response. 

Cannabis experts theorize that even small amounts of terpenes like terpinolene could contribute to the entourage effect, when the dozens of compounds in hemp and cannabis work together in harmony. That means, for example, terpinolene might enhance the potentially sedating effects of another terpene like linalool. Once again, science has not yet shed much light on this possibility, as there’s little to no research into how these terpenes work when inhaled or otherwise ingested alongside hemp and cannabis.

What strains of hemp and cannabis contain terpinolene?

Unlike many of the other terpenes, terpinolene won’t appear in the top three or even top 5 terps of any commonplace hemp or cannabis strain you’re likely to find in a dispensary or for sale online. 

With that said, two relatively popular strains of high-THC cannabis that often contain terpinolene are Trainwreck and Jack Herer. Even so, you can only tell for sure what terpenes and cannabinoids are present by checking a lab test. The contents of any strain can vary a great deal from batch to batch.

If you’re interested in giving it a try, three strains from Absolute Nature CBD contain small amounts of terpinolene, based on our lab tests. These include Suver Haze, Hawaiian Haze, and T1. All three also include small amounts of the closely related terpene gamma-terpinene. You might find this rare terpene contributes in subtle, but unique ways to the overall scent bouquet of these strains. Be sure to let us know what you think!

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