Humulene: An Aromatic Terpene For Arthritis, Appetite Suppression & More

Written by BlackbirdGo April 30, 2018
The Plant

While there are roughly 100 different terpenes in any given strain of cannabis, these compounds are rarely exclusive to just the cannabis plant. Humulene, for example, was recognized decades ago in the essential oils of other plants as well.

Humulene is a terpene that is most commonly associated with hops. Aside from hops, it can be found in other plants including pine trees, tobacco, and sunflower seeds. And of course, cannabis.

Humulene characteristics

The most distinct characteristic of humulene is its aroma. Many aromatic plants get their scents from this terpene including pine trees, tobacco, and ginseng.

Experts believe that the distinct aroma of beer is almost solely derived from humulene. That's because it makes up to 40% of the terpene content in hops.

One of the closest relatives to hops is cannabis. This is part of the reason their chemical makeups are so similar and why both have such strong aromas.

In terms of its chemical makeup, this terpene is an isomer of beta-caryophyllene, a terpene that we’ve covered previously. As a result, it is often found with caryophyllene, particularly in aromatic plants like cannabis.

The biggest difference between is that beta-caryophyllene is often classified as both a terpene and cannabinoid. Humulene, on the other hand, acts only as a terpene.

Medical uses of humulene

Aside from the strong aroma, the other defining characteristic is its medical application.

Plenty of research has been conducted on the anti-inflammatory properties of humulene, which has clear medicinal value. Because this terpene is often found with beta-caryophyllene, the two often work together as anti-inflammatory agents. The result is much more effective than either terpene on their own.

Research is starting to be conducted on the anorectic (appetite suppressing) properties of the terpene. Combined with THC, the effects of the anorectic can be boosted, helping to promote weight loss.

Humulene’s effect on cancer is also undergoing research. It is suspected to increase the rate of production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS can cause the death of cancerous cells when used correctly, and, in conjunction with beta-caryophyllene, these effects can be amplified.

Research is also being conducted on this terpene as a pain suppressant as well as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent.

Perhaps the best use of humulene for medicinal purposes is its role in the entourage effect. While terpenes work well alone, they help to amplify other terpenes and cannabinoids when used together, enhancing the desired effect of the various compounds.

Who could benefit from humulene

People suffering from arthritis should find an immediate use for humulene. The proven anti-inflammatory properties should help ease the pain caused by arthritis, as well as any other ailment that’s connected with inflammation.

Humulene is also good for suppressing appetites. There are various reasons why someone would want to suppress their appetite, and, to get this result through cannabis use, careful attention should be paid to the makeup of the strain being used, as some cannabis can induce appetites.

Anyone who has cancerous cells may also get an added benefit from humulene. However, humulene’s interaction with cancerous tumors is not as well researched, as it is possible ROS can worsen tumors.

Because of the entourage effect theory, anyone wanting one of the many medicinal benefits of cannabis can benefit from humulene since it could make any effect more potent. Since humulene doesn’t act as a cannabinoid, it’s possible to get humulene in non-psychoactive strains of cannabis.