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Of all the terpenes found in cannabis, limonene is a favorite of many. The fresh and lemony aroma of limonene is part of what makes Super Lemon Haze and Lemon Skunk taste so delicious. It’s one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis, second only to myrcene, so you have undoubtedly experienced limonene if you’re a regular cannabis consumer, particularly if you enjoy a variety of strains.
Terpenes have been the focus of attention in recent years for their effects in combination with cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Limonene, in particular, is a terpene known to boost the effects of other cannabis terpenes and compounds. In addition to being found in cannabis, limonene is found in numerous commercial products. The essential oils and aroma of limonene are familiar to anyone who has smelled cleaning solutions like Lemon Pine Sol or lemon-scented furniture polish. Limonene also is a vital ingredient in many cosmetic products. Many plants and their fruit contain it, including the peels of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits, as well as cloves, peppermint, rosemary, oregano, and juniper. In cannabis, limonene may be present in levels as high as 16 percent of the essential oil fraction.
Like other terpenes found in cannabis, limonene is known to produce a range of effects. Some people even use it as a dietary aid because it’s known to inhibit appetite. Limonene is known for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties—which is one reason it’s often found in detergents and cleaning products, in addition to its clean scent.
When consumed in cannabis, the medical applications of limonene haven’t been fully explored, but there is evidence it has a great number of potential uses. It is known to be an antidepressant because it inhibits the secretion of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) stress hormones. Other things for which limonene may provide a significant benefit include preventing and fighting cancer, boosting immunity, aiding gall bladder function and health, preventing indigestion, decreasing anxiety and insomnia, as well as preventing fatty liver and insulin resistance in diabetics. Limonene also is known to fight pain and curb inflammation, which are two conditions that often occur simultaneously. There also are indications that limonene may help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and help treat Crohn’s, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Research conducted about the health effects of limonene has occurred at the University of Arizona Cancer Center; Hamdard University, India; Unidade de Pesquisa Clinica, Brazil; Biopark Campus; and the Department of Environmental Medicine, Kochi Medical School, Japan.
Limonene is particularly abundant in sativa strains, but is also found in several indica varieties as well. While strains that have a strong citrus aroma are very likely to contain ample amounts of limonene, not all limonene strains have such obvious indications of their terpene profiles.
Strain That Contain Limonene
The following strains are known to contain significant amounts of limonene. Not surprisingly, many of these strains are known for their outstanding aromas and flavors as well. Consider one of these if you have a medical condition for which limonene may help, as well as if you are looking for a great new strain to enjoy on a recreational basis.
Kosher Kush. This hard-hitting indica strain is known for its potent levels of THC, with some samples testing at nearly 30 percent. Originally a California strain with clone-only status, Kosher Kush is now sold in seed version by DNS Genetics. As an indica strain, Kosher Kush differs from most of the other limonene-rich strains on this list, which are predominantly sativa.
Sour Diesel. Known for its pungent diesel aroma, “Sour D” is an uplifting sativa strain that proves effective for treating a range of medical conditions. As a prominent member of the “diesel family” of strains, Sour Diesel enjoys strong popularity. It is thought to result from a cross between Chemdawg ’91 and Super Skunk.
Cinex. This sativa-dominant strain is known for its mood-lifting happy effects—a clear indication of its high limonene content—as well as its pleasantly complex fruity citrus and woody skunk flavors. This strain is the result of crossing the highly regarded Cinderella 99 with Vortex. A fairly easy-to-grow strain, for a sativa, Cinex has a relatively fast finishing time in the garden, and only grows moderately tall. In the hands of a competent grower, the yield from Cinex can be quite high.
Tangie. The delightful tangerine citrus notes of this popular strain are a strong indication of its limonene content. Created by crossing California Orange with a Skunk strain, Tangie has powerful sativa effects that produce happy, uplifting euphoria. The flavor is distinctive and really does taste like sweet but slightly tart tangerines.
Super Lemon Haze. This extremely popular member of the “Haze family” of strains has a pronounced lemon flavor along with the tell-tale Hazy notes of minty pine. As would be expected from a Haze strain, the effects are strongly sativa-leaning. The clear-headed and invigorating effects, coupled with tasty and beneficial limonene no doubt contributes to its elevated status among cannabis enthusiasts.
Dirty Girl. A strong sativa strain, Dirty Girl was created by crossing Arcata Lemon Wreck (a Trainwreck hybrid) with the classic sativa Cinderella 99. Its pungent lemon aroma has a striking similarity to Lemon Pine Sol, and its flavor is lemony as well, with pleasing sweetness.
Lemon G. Not to be confused with Lemon OG Kush, Lemon G is somewhat unique, because its roots are in Ohio, which is an interesting departure from all of the West Coast, Colorado, and Amsterdam strains that dominate the market. Although its genetics lean to the sativa side, Lemon G has enough indica to provide a pleasing balance.
Gorilla Glue #4. This strain is a classic and standard strain in the cannabis industry. Gorilla Glue #4 is a sticky hybrid known for its pleasing, balanced effects. Its aroma of skunky, earthy chocolate mask the limonene content quite well. This strain is known for its lofty THC levels and low CBD content, with THC percentages ranging into the low 30s.
Liberty Haze. Although it has “haze” in its name, you would be hard-pressed to identify any presence of true Haze by aroma and flavor alone. The sativa effects, however, are clear-headed and focused, not too different from Haze. Liberty Haze has decent potency and is the result of crossing Chemdawg ;91 with G13.
Lemon Skunk. This DNA Genetics classic has pronounced lemon notes as well as a skunky presence. Plants harvested a week or two early will have more limonene content as well as lemon flavor. The effects of Lemon Skunk harvested early will also lean more to the sativa side. Allowed to fully mature, Lemon Skunk has a more balanced overall effect.
Cookies and Cream. As you might have guessed from its name, Cookies and Cream has a Girl Scout Cookies parent that was thought to have been crossed with Starfighter to produce this pleasing strain, which has a balanced effect that leans more to the indica side of its genetics than most other strain on this list. Its sweet, earthy flavors give little indication of its limonene content. This strain won first place in the hybrid category of the 2014 Denver Cannabis Cup.
Jack Herer. Every fan of sativa-dominant strains seems to love Jack Herer, which is no doubt why it ranks as one of the industry’s most popular. Created by Sensi Seeds of Amsterdam in honor of the sativa-loving marijuana actovost with the same name, there are several phenotypes of Jack Herer, most of them quite good. Known for its respectable levels of THC and low CBD, Jack Herer also contains ample amounts of limonene.
Limonene’s appealing and fresh flavors make it a vital component of a long list of sativa strains. If you prefer indica to sativa, you may have to look a little harder for a good limonene-rich strain you’ll enjoy, but you will have some good options from which to choose. With its pleasing effects and notable health benefits, limonene is a terpene to be aware of and consider when seeking a strain to smoke or grow.