Humulene: Health Benefits, Uses, and Best Cannabis Strains

Humulene Benefits

Even if you don’t, you’ve probably tasted beer at some point in your life, so you are familiar with its flavor and “hoppy” smell.

The flavor and aroma of all beer varieties come from the presence of humulene, a common terpene found in abundance in the hops plant (Humulus lupulus).

Humulene can be found in spices such as ginger and sage, as well as in cannabis, adding strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Let’s take a look at what humulene is and why it is important.

What Are Terpenes?

Before we get into the definition and benefits of humulene, we should discuss why this component is considered a terpene and the role of terpenes in the cannabis plant.Mr Hemp Sticker Logo

Terpenes are aromatic organic compounds naturally found in many plants.

Terpenes are produced by plant resin glands and are responsible for the taste and aroma of many plants and tree families including pine, citrus, and cannabis.

The cannabis plant has naturally high levels of terpenes.

Researchers have discovered that many healing benefits of the cannabis plant come from terpenes, slowly shifting the focus from cannabinoids to terpenes.

Each cannabis strain has its unique terpene profile—more than 200 found in various cannabis strains—that interacts with other compounds, including cannabinoids such as THC and CBD.

Their combined (synergistic) effect, also known as the “entourage effect,” on the endocannabinoid system is believed to produce more potent healing effects rather the compounds used separately.

Humulene: The Anti-Inflammatory Terpene

Humulene, also known as α-caryophyllene, offers a subtle woody, earthy, and spicy notes partly responsible for the unique scent of cannabis.

Besides its herbaceous charm, this terpene offers healing benefits that have been used in holistic Eastern medicinal practices for centuries.

Modern medicine has its insights on this terpene, as research on black pepper, ginseng, and hops have proven its powerful topical and systemic anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. It can also be found in plants such as Basil, Sage, Ginger, Clove, Ginseng, and Hops.

Humulene Benefits & Effects

  • Anti-bacterial & Antifungal Properties
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties
  • Pharmacokinetic Properties
  • Pharmacokinetic Properties
  • Repels Insects
  • Analgesic Properties

Anti-bacterial & Antifungal Properties

Known for its notable anti-bacterial properties, such as those against the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus if used in small quantities.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Humulene is mostly known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which are also the most examined ones.

One study from 2009 found that humulene showed preventative and therapeutic anti-inflammatory properties in animals.

Another study explored the effects of humulene in the release of other compounds and their interactions to fuel and trigger inflammation.

The study found that humulene’s anti-inflammatory effects are so strong that it compares them to the drug effects caused by the steroid drug dexamethasone.

Pharmacokinetic Properties

A study examined the pharmacokinetic properties of humulene in search of an explanation of the effectiveness of the terpene when used in essential oils.

The authors of the study concluded that “Alpha-humulene exhibited a rapid onset and relatively good absorption following oral and topical administration.

Taken together, these findings further contribute to an explanation of the topical and systemic anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive properties previously reported for the essential oil and for alpha-humulene obtained from Cordia verbenacea.” [1]

Pharmacokinetic Properties

Just like other terpenes found in cannabis, humulene can affect appetite.

This terpene does not stimulate the appetite but suppresses the activity in the compound’s satiety pathways, creating a less desire to eat.

This is the reason why humulene is suggested to help with weight loss.

Anti-bacterial & Antifungal Properties

Aa natural insecticide and together with its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects, it can help reduce the spread of insect-borne diseases.

Research indicated that humulene is toxic to the larvae of some varieties of mosquitos which are responsible for transmitting malaria, West Nile virus, and dengue fever. 

Analgesic Properties

The topical application of humulene as an ingredient of hops essential oil mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut oil can be powerful for fighting pain.

The topical application of this humulene-rich oil can be beneficial for relieving a headache or migraine, by massaging it into the muscles.

There are also plenty of cannabis-based topical creams and lotions to be used for their sedative effects. The anti-inflammatory effects of this terpene also play a huge role in its pain management properties.

Another way of using the sedative effect of this compound is to put essential hemp oil in a diffuser and create a little aromatherapy treatment for mild pain relief.

This method is great if you use it before heading to sleep as it allows full relaxation and a good night’s rest without muscles or joint aches.

Hemp Strains With High Levels of Humulene

High THC

This strain is one of the richest in humulene content, mainly because it is considered high oil content hemp plant with dense flowers. The Lifter strain is great for pain and offers relaxing properties.

This strain is a mix between the popular strains ACDC and ERB.The ACDC strain is known for its high resin content and strong terpenes and therefore works great for pain and inflammation.

Fragrance & Flavor of Humulene

The best way to describe the fragrance and flavor of humulene is as subtle earthy or musky with spicy undertones. This terpene is very common in nature and is responsible for the distinctive flavours of well-known herbs and products.

This terpene is classified as sesquiterpene and gives beer its refreshing taste.

Because of humulene, culinary ginger and sage have their burning bite.

Combined with pinene, which gives pine trees their refreshing smell, humulene is also responsible for the smell of the pine forest.

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