top of page

Super Class Terpenes: Alpha-pinene

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

This article is brought to you by the new Higher Learning LV Core Cannabis course.


Welcome to homework assignment 1.27 of the Core Cannabis Lite Track from Higher Learning LV. When you complete this assignment, simply click the link at the bottom of the article to return to the master page for this training track.


An October 2022 study entitled "Effects of Super-class Cannabis Terpenes Beta-caryophyllene and Alpha-pinene on Zebrafish Behavioral Biomarkers" that was published in the journal Scientific Reports suggested the existence of a special subclass of terpenes that it dubbed super class terpenes.

"There are more than fifty cannabis terpenes most commonly found in North American cannabis strains, eight of which predominate to form a 'Terpene Super Class,'" explained the study.

The eight super class terpenes identified by this pinnacle study include alpha-pinene, beta-caryophyllene (BCP), humulene, limonene, linalool, myrcene, ocimene, and terpinolene. Higher Learning LV investigates each of these important terpenes in our Super Class Terpenes series.

  • Read our exclusive summary of this peer-reviewed research study here.

  • Listen to the C3 Podcast episode regarding this study here.

"More than fifty cannabis terpenes are commonly found in North American cannabis strains, eight of which predominate to form a 'Terpene Super Class.'"


Alpha-pinene Overview

Alpha-pinene holds the distinction of being the most common terpene on earth. It is produced by hundreds of botanical species beyond cannabis (more than 400, actually), including basil, big sagebrush, camphorweed, conifers, dill, eucalyptus, frankincense, juniper, orange peels, parsley, pine nuts, rosemary, sage, and spruce.

In cannabis cultivars, the effects of alpha-pinene are often influenced and muted by myrcene, one of the most common terpenes produced by cannabis.

This distinctive terpene delivers an aroma that is fragrant and raw, with a fresh and musky body. As its name suggests, alpha-pinene produces a piney fragrance—with notes of turpentine. Its flavor has been described as "woody, dry, and resinous."

Alpha-pinene's boiling point is 314° F—an example of how terpenes are among the most volatile molecules in nature that break down at relatively low temperatures.

PubChem from the U.S. National Library of Medicine describes this compound as "a clear colorless liquid with a turpentine odor." Alpha-pinene's boiling point (the temperature at which vaporization occurs) is 314° F—an example of how terpenes are among the most volatile and delicate molecules in nature and that they break down at relatively low temperatures. "Less dense than water and insoluble in water [as are all terpenes and cannabinoids]. Vapors are heavier than air. Used as a solvent." reports PubChem.

Alpha-pinene's potential medicinal benefits include antibacterial, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antibiotic efficacy. It is commonly used to treat pain, inflammation, and anxiety and may offer efficacy for neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease.

To see the Fast Facts and Research Studies sections that have been removed from this no-cost training asset, enroll in Core Cannabis.


Return to the Core Cannabis Lite Track master page.

🎧 Like what you just read? Listen and learn with our highly educational weekly Cannabis Commerce + Chemistry Podcast. At under 30 minutes per episode, it helps industry professionals stay current on trending topics.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page