Terpenes: Part 7 – Pinene

October 2021 by Sandy Yanez

When thinking of pine, you may think of a Christmas tree, but my mind travels towards the towering pines of the rugged northwest. Have you ever walked into a pine forest and taken a deep breath, feeling your lungs expand while inhaling the beautiful fresh pine scent? That is the power and aroma of the terpene pinene (pie-neen).

Welcome to part 7 of the terpenes series, here I will be going over the benefits of Pinene. You can check out the last segment on Linalool here.


What is Pinene?

Terpenes, like pinene, are aromatic compounds found in the resin glands of plants and flowers. Their use is steeped in ancient traditions, where they were commonly used in religious rituals, ceremonies, and as medicine.

In nature, there are two isomers of pinene that occur naturally, alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. The two are identical except for a single molecule; this accounts for their different features and actions. Both monoterpenes provide the characteristic aromas of the conifer family but with slightly different undertones. A-pinene has that fresh pine scent, whereas b-pinene has more of a woody pine aroma.

A and b-pinene are frequently found together in a racemic or balanced combination like in rosemary but can be found separately. For instance, a-pinene can be found in higher concentrations in pine and conifer trees specifically, juniper, but also sassafras, bergamot, and even orange peels. Whereas hops, cumin, dill, parsley, and basil have an abundance of b-pinene. Both are found in cannabis, where a-pinene is generally slightly higher.

Terpenes have medicinal benefits

There are 30,000 identified terpenes in the world, and in cannabis, there are over 200 identified terpenes. Why is this important in cannabis?

Terpenes such as pinene play a crucial role in determining the therapeutic effects of different cannabis strains. They can enhance the positive effects of cannabinoids and reduce the incidence of experiencing adverse reactions.

This synergistic interaction is known as “the entourage effect” and explains why whole flowers and full-spectrum extracts are considered superior to isolated compounds in the cannabis space.


Examples of the Entourage Effect and pinene

  • CBD or CBN and Pinene can block inflammation and has a broad spectrum of antibiotic properties.
  • THC and pinene promote bronchial dilation, opening airways at low exposure levels to help conditions like asthma or COPD and increases alertness.
  • Alpha-pinene can also counteract THC-induced anxiety or short-term memory loss


What dose research say about pinene?

  • Anti-inflammatory – Studies from 2011 and 2015 report pinene exhibits multiple powerful anti-inflammatory properties capable of delivering relief to consumers with cancer, multiple sclerosis, Chrohn’s disease, and several other conditions.
  • Anticancer – Studies from 2013 and 2015 published findings that pinene reduced the size of cancerous tumors and shows promise as an effective cancer fighter.
  • Antimicrobial – Molecules, a Swiss scientific journal published that both alpha and beta- pinene have the ability to fight a harmful yeast fungus found in the gut flora, Candida Albicans. This powerful terpene is commonly used as a topical antiseptic, making it potentially effective in treating bacterial and viral infections.
  • Antidepressant – Studies suggest that pinene appears to produce effects on mood similar to the way antidepressants work. The study suggests this uplifted mood may be due to the synergistic effects of pinene and linalool.
  • Respiratory – Another study published in the Swiss scientific journal, Molecules, tested pinene’s ability to fight viral activity in cells. This study established pinene’s ability to fight bronchitis and act as a bronchodilator. This, in conjunction with pinene’s anti-inflammatory properties, are reported to aid those affected by respiratory issues such as asthma.
  • Neuroprotective – A 2017 study published in the journal Evidence-based Complementarity and Alternative Medicine concluded that pinene may be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, amnesia, cognitive dysfunction, and overall memory loss.

Pinene may enhance your mood by delivering energizing and uplifting effects. Even though pinene can cross the blood-brain-barrier – no, pinene will not get you high because it does not bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain like THC does. For that reason, it is said that terpenes and other cannabinoids are psychoactive — because they indirectly affect your mood and behavior — but they aren’t intoxicating.



Terpenes such as pinene play an important role in determining the therapeutic effects of different cannabis strains. They can enhance the positive effects of cannabinoids and reduce the incidence of experiencing adverse reactions.

Research continues to reveal new information about the properties of the more than 200 terpenes found in the various strains of the cannabis plant. Numerous studies have shown that the major terpenes have considerable healing properties and how those properties play out in synergy with the other terpenes and cannabinoids that give each strain its unique chemical profile.


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