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Terp Talk: Humulene

In this ongoing series, we shine a spotlight on the natural compounds that help distinguish popular cannabis strains.

Hot off our last session about caryophyllene, let’s dive into its very close “cousin” – humulene. Within cannabis (and beyond), humulene is a very prevalent terpene with a distinctively dank aroma. Strong whiff aside, humulene is rather subdued compared to other terps. Its benefits – anything but.

Humulene’s hype.

While terpenes like pinene, limonene, and myrcene often steal the show, humulene’s power lies in the way it interacts with its fellow, more prominent terpenes. Think of it as a chorus member or a stagehand; without them, the overall experience wouldn’t be as robust or successful. Likewise, humble humulene works behind the scenes to help produce a plethora of positive effects.

For starters, its presence in sage and ginger has been utilized for mood enhancement within Eastern medicine for centuries. Humulene also shows up in ginseng, sparking an energy boost, aiding in digestive support, and even acting as an appetite suppressant. In fact, some research predicts that humulene may one day be a powerhouse ingredient in weight loss support. So, if you’re trying to curb your munchies or slim down for summer, humulene might be worth seeking out.

Speaking of seasonal changes, humulene is known to lessen inflammation from pesky allergens in the air and fight off bacterial infections. Plus, it naturally repels bugs, so you can keep those pesky critters at bay as well.

Humulene at a high level.

Humulene’s most notorious claim to fame is its nose. Taking its name from the hops plant, Humulus lupulus, it’s a skunky terp that shows up prominently in – you guessed it – hop cones. If you’ve ever tried a gnarly IPA, you may have noticed an herbal, woodsy scent and a bitter bite. You can thank humulene for that refreshing (or not?) sip.

Aroma: Humulene helps give cannabis the pungent kick it’s known for. Often musky, diesel-like, and earthy, it can also have hints of citrus, ginger, and warm spices.

Flavor: Frequently found with caryophyllene, the two terpenes share a slight black pepper kick. In addition, humulene gives a crisp citrus or bitter buzz to the palate.

Effects: Because humulene mingles with other terpenes in a multitude of ways, it’s hard to pinpoint its exact effects. Generally, it provides a happy, relaxing high without deadlocking you on your couch. Unwind without the urge to reach for all the snacks!

Uses: In addition to anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and digestive benefits touched on earlier, humulene may also relieve pain and aid in healing wounds by strengthening blood vessel proteins. New cancer research shows encouraging signs of humulene’s ability to help reduce tumors, fight mutant cells, and relieve nausea associated with treatment. All in all, there are likely more exciting discoveries ahead for humulene.

Humulene contributes to the signature scent and flavor of cannabis and hoppy beers.

Which strains contain humulene?

Once attributed mostly to sativa strains, humulene shows up frequently in indica and hybrid strains as well. Again, like caryophyllene, it’s abundant in the Cookies family and Sour Diesel. You can also find humulene in Ice Cream Cake, Glue, and White Widow.

Aeriz Glue flower, sold at Marigold.