Terpenes (general)

Terpenes: Limonene

terpene profile
Written by Cara Wietstock

This colorless liquid hydrocarbon can be classified as a cyclic terpene and is used as a renewables-based solvent in cleaning products. The limonene terpene has a piney, turpentine-like odor and is found in all citrus fruits.

Molecular Mass: 136.238 g/mol

Density: 841 kg/m³

Melting Point: -90 °C

Boiling Point: 348.8°F

This terpene is a chiral molecule that is obtained commercially from citrus fruits through centrifugal separation or steam distillation. Limonene is a relatively stable terpene that can be distilled without decomposition, but it will crack to form isoprene at higher temperatures. It will oxidize easily in moist air and form limonene oxide, carvone, and carveol. Most commonly limonene is used in cosmetics but it is also a prominent ingredient in the food industry and even some medicines. The food industry finds this flavoring agent attractive because of the flavor profile’s ability to mask alkaloids. It can even be used as a botanical insecticide, the terpene is one of the big ones that already has prominent uses in various industries.

Limonene is found in:

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • All Citrus Fruit Rinds & Pulp

D-Limonene is is easily absorbed by the human digestive tract and the oil is spread throughout the body mostly to fatty tissues like the liver, the brain, white adipose tissue, and breast tissue. There have been some studies on D-Limonene related to its possible anticancer properties, in one a few late stage patients with advanced breast and colon cancer were able to hold off the disease for about six extra months. The terpene is also a selective activator of the adenosine A(2A) receptor on cell membranes, these cells are vital for the nervous system. A lack of activation in these cells is associated with insomnia, anxiety, and impaired dopamine transmission. Just inhaling the aromas of d-Limonene can have effective anti-anxiety effects.

Various studies have shown this terpene to be:

  • Antifungal
  • Antianxiety
  • Antidepressant
  • Anticancer
  • Weight management aide
  • Antibacterial
  • Stress Relieving
  • Improved Absorption
  • Anti-nausea


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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