Terpenes are compounds present in cannabis resin that are responsible for their characteristic aroma.

As explained in other posts, some are more concentrated than others, and humulene is one of the main terpenes in cannabis.

In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about this terpene.

What is humulene?

Humulene is one of the more than 200 terpenes in the cannabis plant and, despite a lower concentration in the composition of cannabis compared to limonene or myrcene, it remains one of the main ones.

Technically, humulene is classified as α-caryophyllene, a sesquiterpene first discovered in the essential oil extracted from the hop plant (Humulus lupulus), hence its name.

It is an isomer of β-caryophyllene, i.e. it is composed of the same elements, in the same proportions, both share the same chemical formula but their molecular structure will be different. Also, many plants based on β-caryophyllene produce humulene, such as basil, sage, cloves and many varieties of cannabis. Besides, both will have similar aromas.

This terpene, so common in the plant kingdom, is partly responsible for the fragrance of beer since it is present in considerable quantities in hops. In addition, this terpene present in the resin of the cannabis heads is part of the plant’s defense system since the smell of terpenes will repel insects and function as an antifungal and antibacterial product.

What does the scent of humulene smell like?

Humulene is responsible for the woody, earthy and pungent notes of the beer. It is also, along with other terpenes, responsible for the special smells of many cannabis strains.

So if we wanted to define the scent of humulene exactly, we could say it resembles that spicy touch of ginger and ginseng. Like myrcene or pinene, this sesquiterpene is a fundamental part of the aromatic profile of cannabis. However, because of its small amounts, it is usually not the predominant odor, but rather an earthy nuance that contrasts within seconds of a puff.

The therapeutic properties of humulene

Humulene has been used for hundreds of years in traditional medicine for its multiple therapeutic properties. A compound whose antibacterial action will not only protect the plant against various pathogens but will also help in the treatment of various diseases in humans.

A 2006 study indicates that, in small quantities, humulene would help fight Staphylococcus aureus, which is responsible for various infections.

While more research is still needed, another 2016 study concluded that humulene, along with other terpenes and cannabinoids, may help eliminate cancer cells.

Another study claims that humulene, found in basil essential oils, may help activate the body’s tumor-fighting mechanisms. This terpene is also said to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and appetite suppressant, and therefore useful in the fight against obesity.

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