Terpinene

Updated: May 7

Terpenes are one of the three major families of wellness molecules produced by cannabis/hemp/marijuana. As one of the most common types of chemical in nature, more than 40,000 varieties of terpenes exist, with the most common in cannabis being myrcene.



Collectively, the 200 terpenes contained in the cannabis species genome (only a small subset of which manifests in an individual chemotype or sample of the plant) offer a wide range of medical properties to the humans who consume them, including antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammation, antianxiety, antidepression, antifungal, neuroprotective, anticancer, and analgesic (pain reducing) properties (among many others).


Terpinene is a minor terpene that has demonstrated antibacterial and antioxidant medicinal efficacy. This monoterpene is produced by betel, cannabis, cardamom, eucalyptus, juniper, marjoram, peppermint, tea tree, and verbena.

Terpinene is a minor terpene that has demonstrated antibacterial and antioxidant medicinal efficacy. This monoterpene is produced by betel, cannabis, cardamom, eucalyptus, juniper, marjoram, peppermint, tea tree, and verbena.


In isolation, terpinene emits an aroma that is piney with heavy notes of smoke and wood. It delivers a spicy flavor. Terpinene is the primary chemical component of tea tree oil.

The terpinene molecule


The medicinal benefits of terpinene are many, including antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant effects. It has also been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth and to serve as a sleep aid (of value to those suffering social anxiety and anxiety-related conditions such a Post-traumatic Stress Disorder).


Terpinene is produced in volume at the industrial level via conversion from alpha-pinene (the most common terpene in nature, it is produced by 400+ plant species) via the method of acid-catalyzed rearrangement.

Terpinene is produced in volume at the industrial level via conversion from alpha-pinene (the most common terpene in nature, it is produced by 400+ plant species) via the method of acid-catalyzed rearrangement.


This terpene is actually a small family of related compounds involving four analogs (α-terpinene, β-terpinene, γ-terpinene, and δ-terpinene). These molecular analogs are so similar that they possess the same molecular formula and differ only in the position of their carbon-carbon double bonds.

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α-terpinene is found in natural sources and produced by many plant species, including hemp. β-terpinene has no known natural source, but can be derived from the terpene sabinene. The other two analogs occur naturally and are commonly categorized not as analogs of terpinene, but as the terpene terpinolene (see Terpinolene below). While naturally occurring, α-terpinene can also be derived from α-pinene (see Pinene).


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