Terpenes (general)

Terpene Profile: Humulene C15H24

terpene profile
Written by Cara Wietstock

Humulene is a terpene that occurs naturally in the flowering hops plant.

This is one of the most prevalent 20 terpenes found in Cannabis. When extracted, Humulene appears in a pale yellowish-green clear liquid. It can actually make up for 40% of the essential oil extracted from the hops plant. We can actually thank humulene for the “hoppy” aroma of beer. It is the reaction of humulene to the extraction process that creates this scent. This is another sesquiterpene derived from farnesyl diphosphate (FPP). When the FPP is catalyzed by sesquiterpene synthesis enzymes humulene is formed.

There are diverse ways to synthesize this terpene in the lab. Some of these methods are the Corey synthesis, McMurray synthesis, Takahashi synthesis, and de Groot synthesis. It occurs naturally in cannabis strains like White Widow, Girl Scout Cookies, Pink Kush, Headband, Sour Diesel and Skywalker OG. Many describe the aroma of humulene as a woody scent.


α-Humulene is currently found in cannabis strains and:

  • Hops
  • Clove
  • Basil
  • Uyako
  • Tobacco
  • Pine Trees
  • Ginger
  • Sage
  • Marsh Elders
  • Chinese laurel tree
  • Sunflower fields

This terpene, like β-caryophellene, is sometimes referred to as a cannabinoid. It also works best as an anti-inflammatory when paired in a strain with β-caryophellene. This anti-inflammatory action is one of the reasons that certain strains help ease the chronic pain of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other naggingly painful illnesses. For this reason, these terpenes are commonly found in pain relief balms and salves.

A study from Planta Medica was done on this terpene. The results showed that it helped the body produce chemicals called Reactive Oxygen Species that help destroy cancer cells through aptosis. Other studies show that humulene can suppress hunger unlike many other strains that give us ultra munchies.


This terpene is being studied as an:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anticancer
  • Appetite Suppressant

Molecular Weight: 204.35628000

Boiling Point: 106 to 107 °C (223 to 225 °F; 379 to 380 K) at 5 mmHg

Density: 886 kg/m³


About the author

Cara Wietstock

Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the plant have brought her to Terpenes and Testing magazine. She now helps keep us on the cutting edge of scientific cannabis discovery as the Editor-in-Chief of the print publication.

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