Most of us a pretty well familiar with the palatable scent and flavor of hoppy beers. The secret “ingredient” that gives various cannabis strains their notoriously earthy, somewhat woody, and above all, spicy hops-like fragrance and taste is actually the same terpene found in hops: Humulene.
With this in mind, it is fair to state that both cannabis and hops do have something in common, and that’s sharing the same fragrant terpene. But Humulene does much more when it comes to the unique effects experienced after consuming cannabis than merely adding to the herbaceous charm of the green medication. Humulene has been cherished and used for thousands of years in holistic Eastern medicine practices.
What is Alpha Humulene?
Humulene has been formerly classified as alpha-caryophyllene(α-caryophyllene) or alpha-humulene (α-humulene). It is a naturally occurring monocyclic sesquiterpene.
Named after the hops plant Humulus lupulus, Humulene plays a key role in providing the same specific, distinct aromatic notes to both hops and cannabis plant species, which actually comes as no surprise for those who know that cannabis and hops belong the same taxonomic family, the Cannabaceaefamily. Interestingly, the Cannabaceaefamily includes a wide number of flowering plants, about 170 species in total.
What’s even more intriguing, the unique profile of Humuleneterpene has much to do with yet another of the most abundant terpenes produced by the cannabis plant, namely Caryophyllene (aka β-caryophyllene).
Actually, β-caryophyllene and Humulene share the same chemical formula (C15H24), making it clear to see that these two aromatic chemical compounds are close relatives. Many of the plants that are naturally rich in Caryophyllene are also rich in Humulene, several suitable examples being sage, basil, and clove.
Humulene is a fairly common cannabis terpene, so you have most probably enjoyed its beneficial properties more than once while consuming a variety of marijuana strains. Quintessentially, Humulene is found in modest quantities in multiple cannabis varieties. It is thanks to Humulene (only partially, though), why cannabis plants emit those notoriously herbaceous, distinctly spicy, and nonetheless, delicately floral bouquet of fragrances.
In quite a similar manner like both Pinene and Myrcene, Humulene is one of the fundamental terpenes produced by the cannabis plant, and it plays a vital role in the overall aromatic profile of the herb. Alongside Geraniol, Eucalyptol, Limonene, Linalool, Caryophyllene, Myrcene, Pinene, Ocimene, and Turpentine, Humulene is part of the big 10 most abundant terpenes found in the cannabis plant, out of a total of over 200 terpenes that have been identified in cannabis so far.
The thing is, Humulene typically appears in relatively smaller quantities than others of the terpenes forming the big 10 of the most abundant ones. Despite often taking the back seat in the aroma and flavor profile of cannabis, Humulene can be detected without any special equipment with a healthy dose of practice on being able to discern the different terpenes by relying on your sense of smell and flavor. With its subtle notes of florals and earth, Humulene will inevitably show off its presence to the dedicated cannabis cultivators who are curious about bringing up their cannabis skills and knowledge to the next level.
Just like all the rest of the cannabis terpenes, Humulene’s fragrance is best spotted during the peak of flowering when your green ladies will focus all their strength into nurturing and protecting their precious flowers. Not the least, the benefits and effects of Humulene are proposed to be deeply intertwined with the synergies between terpenes and cannabinoids, the phenomenon known as the entourage effect.
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Effects and Benefits of Humulene Terpene
Apart from the huge therapeutic potential of Humulene, this terpene plays a key function in the very life cycle of the cannabis plant, and especially in the crucial last weeks of flowering prior to harvest.
It all begins with a synthesis that takes place in the cannabis plants’ trichome head (those tiny mushroom-like formations that are only clearly spotted through a jeweler’s loop or a microscope when determining the best time to chop down your green ladies for maximized benefits). As the synthesis in the trichome head begins, Humulene, alongside other terpenes, greatly assist in deterring pests, preventing fungal infestations, and nonetheless, attracting beneficial pollinators. In general, Humulene and other terpenes are not merely beneficial to humans but are extremely beneficial to the well-being of the cannabis plant as they aid in boosting the plants’ defense capabilities, resulting in a healthy, bountiful harvest.
What Makes Humulene Unique?
Since Humulene belongs to the family of sesquiterpenes, it showcases important differences from other terpenes. Sesquiterpenesdo not only have stronger odors but also possess a far greater potential when it comes to stereochemical diversity. As sesquiterpenes oxidize over time, their beneficial properties are believed to be actually increased, instead of reduced, which is the case with Humulene found in patchouli oil. Oxidation only improves the odor of patchouli oil and not the opposite.
Unlike active cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, the effects and benefits of Humulene have been studied much more in-depth thanks to modern biomedical research, and also thanks to the fact that Humulene has not been subjected to the same severe restrictions as active cannabinoids due to the ban on marijuana.
Since Humulene is also found in hops, ginseng, and black pepper, existing research has managed to reveal and prove that this amazing terpene possesses strong antibacterial, appetite suppressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Humulene’s Medical Potential
The therapeutic and medical potential of Humulene is well-researched and is nonetheless expansive, which is a great contrast to the lack of substantial research on many other lesser-known cannabinoids and terpenes.
According to the results of a study published in 2016, Humulene was found to work in collaboration with other terpenes and phytocannabinoids to help terminate cancer cells. As briefly mentioned in the very beginning of this article, Humulene has been used for healing purposes for centuries back in time.
Nowadays, Humulene can be spotted in many essential oils of therapeutic grade, too.
For instance, Humulene is present in Abiesbalsamea essential oil, aka Balsam fir. Because of Humulene’s ability to produce ROS, or Reactive Oxygen Species, alongside other valuable compounds present in Balsam fir, it has been revered as an active anti-tumor mechanism. The oil was also revealed to feature reliable, strong antibacterial properties, being especially highly active against the golden staph bacteria, aka bacterium Staphylococcus aureus, after being administered in small quantities. Golden staph is actually present in our bodies at all times, however, when exposed, this bacteria can host nasty disease and infections, so Humulene helps with the prevention of such undesirable issues.
Studies on Humulene derived from the CordiaVerbenaceae plant, which is the tropical black sage plant, has also shown intriguing powers in pharmacokinetics. Pharmacokinetics is closely related to how the human body manages to successfully absorb, distribute, metabolize, and most importantly, excrete drugs.
Considering the promising anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antibacterial properties of Humulene, it does sound like a beautiful terpene to take the best advantage of while consuming your favorite cannabis strains. As far as the weight loss promoting benefits of Humulene are concerned, this terpene is believed to speed up weight loss most effectively when combined with a particular cannabinoid, namely THCV, which is found only in minor quantities in some cannabis strains (mainly Sativas) like the landrace Jamaican strain Lamb’s Bread.
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Cannabis Strains High in Humulene
So, how about some strains one may choose to grow and/or simply consume by opting for readily-available cannabis flowers sold at dispensaries with a mind to enjoy a decent dose of Humulene? As discussed above, Humulene is generally present in many cannabis varieties, and even strains that are known to be high in Humulene tend to contain fairly moderate amounts of this terpene, for it merely isn’t produced in large quantities by cannabis plants.
Anyway, there are, indeed, different ganja varieties that carry higher levels of Humulene as opposed to others, and we have compiled some of our team’s personal favorites in this category below.
Stemming from the mecca of cannabis cultivation, the heart of Northern California, OG Kush is one of the most widely consumed strains all across the globe. The reasons for OG Kush’ massive following are actually quite simple. This strain possesses an unparalleled balance of Indica to Sativa genetics, split at 50% – 50%, and this balance is definitely not merely visible in the physical characteristics of OG Kush cannabis plants but through the myriad of effects experienced upon consuming this legendary, all-time favorite.
The hints of pine and delectable citrus notes disclose the presence of yet two other notorious terpenes in which OG Kush plants are abundant, namely Pinene and Limonene. Altogether with high levels of Humulene, the synergies between active cannabinoids and terpenes are greatly enhanced, allowing for OG Kush users to sink in a sense of high that combines creativity and motivation with sublime relaxation into a state of pain and stress-free deliberation.
OG Kush cannabis plants can offer fantastic yields, and even though not the easiest strain to cultivate, it will definitely repay for every single effort you spent on nurturing this amazing cannabis variety.
Another list of top X cannabis strains, another opportunity to get to learn more about her royal beauty, White Widow. Even the most novice cannabis users, growers, and enthusiasts have heard of this infamous strain, for it has firmly positioned itself on the very pantheon of legendary cannabis varieties. Probably one of the best strains for prepping homemade cannabis products, such as edibles or weed tincture, among many others, White Widow is praised for her high resinous content.
Radiating earthy, piney aromas, White Widow’s delectable blend of fragrances and flavors is partially due to the high content of Humulene. Thanks to the above-normal levels of CBD, the high that comes from consuming White Widow is generally prevented from feeling way too intense and overwhelming, but that is not to say one should expect anything less but top potency from medicating or entertaining with this ultra-famous hybrid strain.
On top of that, White Widow cannabis ladies are fairly easy to grow, even for beginners, and this combination of highly desirable qualities has turned White Widow into one of the most beloved strains of all times.
Unsurprisingly, another of the cult-classic cannabis varieties that have established a super solid reputation among recreational and medical users alike, Girl Scout Cookies (aka GSC), also happens to be high in Humulene. The result of people’s tremendous love and interest in both White Widow and Girl Scout Cookies has resulted in inspiring dedicated breeders to create the long-expected love child of these cannabis varieties: White Cookies, which also contains above the average levels of Humulene.
Another Humulene rich strain that we have grown from seed with amazingly satisfying results upon harvesting is yet another fabled superhero: Sour Diesel.
The Effects of Cannabis Terpene Humulene: Final Notes
It might be surprising to find out that the very effectiveness of many of the herbal medicines used from ancient through modern times is greatly due to the Humulene content. In ancient Chinese apothecaries, remedies were notably high in Humulene. Interestingly, once hops are steeped, a substantial amount of Humulene is released, and the steeped concoction is widely treasured for its sedative properties. When in concert with the rest of the active cannabinoids and terpenes found in various amounts in different cannabis strains, Humulene brings about its own, vital action on our bodies’ endogenous cannabinoid system.
As both pepper and ginseng contain Humulene, steeping these highly aromatic and healing plants can also be a great way to prepare natural antibiotics. Ultimately, for those who want to reap the best of the effects of Humulene, it might be a wonderful idea to indulge in a cup of gingerroot tea while taking few puffs of a Humulene rich strain. Of course, terp sauce made by using a simple rosin press device to extract all those cannatastic juices from your proudly homegrown cannabis flowers is also a beautiful idea.
And while there is so much more yet to be discovered about the multiple beneficial effects and uses of Humulene, we are already pretty sure that cannabis enthusiasts possess an in-depth understanding of what Humulene cannabis terpene. Humulene is all about peace, love, and health, in every meaningful way, for this is the very essence of the magic and culture behind consuming cannabis with utmost respect for the green medication generously provided for the well-being of mankind by the most grandeur yet most humble and all-natural pharmacy in the world, the pharmacy of Mother Nature.