Featured Terpenes (general)

What Are The Burning Points Of The Most Common Terpenes

Written by Robert Hammell

As knowledge of cannabis composition continues to increase, there is a growing emphasis on terpene analysis. These additional compounds can increase flavor, taste, and even affect various medical conditions that users may have.[1] However, one of the most pressing concerns
about terpenes is how best to maintain their concentration within any particular cannabis product. Terpenes can be sensitive to light and heat, and they all have what are called burning or boiling points.[2] These are the temperatures at which any particular terpene starts to break down. As they are some of the most sensitive compounds, it is possible that they may burn off through stages of production. By analyzing the burn points from ten of cannabis’s most common terpenes, it becomes easier to see how much potential each one has to be lost before reaching consumers.


Myrcene is one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis, and can make up as much as 65% of some strains’ terpene profiles.[3] It is characterized by its musky and earthy aroma, and due to its anti-inflammation properties is common for strains prescribed to cancer patients. Myrcene has a very high burning point and doesn’t burn off until it reaches 166 degrees Celsius (330 degrees Fahrenheit). This may be one of the reasons it is so prevalent, as it requires high heat to remove.


Limonene is the second most common terpene in cannabis, and, as the name suggests, often provides a citrus scent to various cannabis strains.[4] Similar to myrcene, it also has a very high burning point, at 177 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit). Strains with the words “lemon” or “sour” in the name tend to be high in limonene content, which is famous for its mood-elevating properties.


Linalool is a terpene commonly found in strains that are useful in a wide variety of medical maladies, including depression, cancer, and insomnia due to its strong sedative effects.[5] It is partially responsible for giving cannabis its herbal aroma, and it has the highest
burning point on the list at 198 degrees Celsius (388 degrees Fahrenheit).


Beta-Caryophyllene, which provides a spicy aroma similar to black pepper or basil, is one of the few terpenes that binds directly to cannabinoid receptors (specifically CB2 receptors).[6] This means it is a terpene that is commonly featured along with CBD products, often for anti-inflammation and antianxiety relief. Beta-Caryophyllene has a burning point of 119 degrees Celsius (246 degrees Fahrenheit).


Pinene (Alpha and Beta)
Pinene is one of the most discussed terpenes in cannabis for its vast medical applicability.[7] As the name would suggest, this terpene gives cannabis the “pine tree” type smell, and has a burning point of 156 degrees Celsius (312 degrees Fahrenheit). This terpene has been linked to
anti-inflammation, increased airflow, and possibly reducing the harmful effects of THC memory loss.


Alpha-bisabolol has strong anti-inflammatory principles and is often used to help with irritation and treat bacterial infections.[8] With a pleasant floral aroma, this terpene has a burn point of112 degrees Celsius (235 degrees Fahrenheit).


Eucalyptol is the primary terpene found in the eucalyptus, which provides a cool and minty smell.[9] It is quite rare in cannabis, as only about 0.06% of strains actually contain it. Those that do, though, have demonstrated potential as anti-inflammatory and anticancer treatments. Eucalyptol has a burn point of 49 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit), lower than water’s boiling point and the lowest on this list.


Trans-nerolidol is another flowery-smelling terpene, and it has been compared to jasmine, tea leaves, and lemongrass.[10] Certain strains like Skywalker OG and Super skunk have high concentrations of this terpene, which has a burning point of 145 degrees Celsius (293 degrees


Humulene is a terpene that is commonly found in hops.[11] It gives them and cannabis an earthy, spicy, or woody and is found in strains like White Widow or Headband. Humulene’s burning point is just past water’s boiling point at 106 degrees Celsius (228 degrees Fahrenheit).


Rounding out the list is carene, which has a sweet aroma similar to a cypress tree.[12] In terms of medical applications, there is evidence that this terpene may help with memory care, and could be useful for Alzheimer’s patients. It has a burning point of 170 degrees Celsius (338
degrees Fahrenheit).


Reference List
1. Booth, J. K., Yuen, M. M., Jancsik, S., Madilao, L. L., Page, J. E., & Bohlmann, J. (2020). Terpene Synthases and Terpene Variation in Cannabis sativa. Plant Physiology, 184(1), 130–147. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.20.00593

2. Ormeno, Elena, et al. "The relationship between terpenes and flammability of leaf litter." Forest Ecology and Management 257.2 (2009): 471-482.

3. McDougall, J. J., & McKenna, M. K. (2022). Anti-Inflammatory and Analgesic Properties of the Cannabis Terpene Myrcene in Rat Adjuvant Monoarthritis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(14), 7891. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23147891

4. Günnewich, N., Page, J. E., Köllner, T. G., Degenhardt, J., & Kutchan, T. M. (2007). Functional Expression and Characterization of Trichome-Specific (-)-Limonene Synthase and (+)-α-Pinene Synthase fromCannabis sativa. Natural Product Communications, 2(3),
1934578X0700200. https://doi.org/10.1177/1934578×0700200301

5. Weston-Green, K., Clunas, H., & Jimenez Naranjo, C. (2021). A Review of the Potential Use of Pinene and Linalool as Terpene-Based Medicines for Brain Health: Discovering Novel Therapeutics in the Flavours and Fragrances of Cannabis. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.583211

6. Johnson, Andréa, et al. "Effects of super-class cannabis terpenes beta-caryophyllene and alpha-pinene on zebrafish behavioural biomarkers." Scientific Reports 12.1 (2022): 1-15.

7. Rocha, E. D., Silva, V. E., Pereira, F. C., Jean, V. M., Souza, F. L. C., Baratto, L. C., Vieira, A. C., & Carvalho, V. M. (2020). Qualitative terpene profiling of Cannabis varieties cultivated for medical purposes. Rodriguésia, 71. https://doi.org/10.1590/2175-7860202071040

8. Gadotti, Vinicius M., Sun Huang, and Gerald W. Zamponi. "The terpenes camphene and alpha-bisabolol inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain via Cav3. 2 T-type calcium channels." Molecular brain 14.1 (2021): 1-10.

9. Li, Dongping, et al. "Analysis of Anti-Cancer and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of 25 High-THC Cannabis Extracts." Molecules 27.18 (2022): 6057.

10. Kamal, B. S., Kamal, F., & Lantela, D. E. (2018). Cannabis and the Anxiety of Fragmentation—A Systems Approach for Finding an Anxiolytic Cannabis Chemotype. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00730

11. LaVigne, Justin E., et al. "Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity." Scientific reports 11.1 (2021): 1-15. 12. Veriheal. (2023, January 9). Understanding Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effects. Cannabis Central. https://www.veriheal.com/blog/understanding-cannabis-terpenes-and-their-effects/

About the author

Robert Hammell