We talk about terpenes a lot here. You know, the aromatic oils that give different strains their distinctive flavor profiles and even help fight pain. If you’re an expert smoker, you may even recognize individual terpenes, like the resinous pinene or the peppery caryophyllene.
Today, we’re going to introduce you to a terpene that may smell and taste familiar, especially if you enjoy beer, It’s called humulene, and it’s one of the most fascinating. Because not only does it contribute a distinctive earthy aroma, but it may play a role in helping our bodies absorb medicines, and even fight cancerous tumors!
The Terpene Humulene: How Does It Affect Our Bodies?
If you’ve ever sniffed a subtle but woodsy aroma in beer or certain strains of cannabis, there’s a good chance you’re detecting the presence of humulene. In addition to being one of the most important terpenes found in cannabis, you can find it in sage, cinnamon, juniper, and many other plants.
We love the scent of humulene, which you can find in Girl Scout Cookies (GSC), Sour Diesel, Buba Kush, and many other popular strains. But that pleasing earthy aroma aside, researchers are learning that humulene imparts some intriguing and potentially very useful medicinal properties too.
For centuries, traditional folk doctors have used substances like balsam fir oil that are high in humulene to soothe tired muscles and support healthy respiratory function. No surprise that modern research supports those early physicians; now we know that humulene demonstrates powerful antimicrobial effects. One study even found that it was effective against the Staphylococcus aureus bacterium, one of the nastiest bugs around. Other studies show that humulene is an effective anti-inflammatory; one found that it was as effective as the steroid dexamethasone.
That’s not the end of the story. While you’ve probably noticed that cannabis often stimulates the appetite—yes, the munchies are most definitely real—humulene tends to have the opposite effect. Some researchers hope that its appetite-suppressing qualities might lead to safer and more effective weight-loss treatments.
The Terpene Humulene: Cannabis-Based Cancer-Fighter?
Even more exciting, some researchers hold out hope that humulene may have a role to play against cancer, one of the medical world’s greatest challenges. Here’s what’s known thus far.
Several terpenes have been cited for their ability to shrink the growth of tumors, and humulene is no exception. One 2003 study found that the terpene was effective in shrinking tumors; a 2016 paper came to much the same result. That study also noted that humulene acts as an analgesic or pain-fighting compound. Because cancer-related pain is notoriously difficult to address, some researchers hope that such cannabis-derived therapies could do “double duty” as part of a coordinated strategy of pain management.
Let’s be clear here: It’s still way too early to suggest that cannabis and its terpenes can cure cancer. But we believe that these clinical studies give real cause for cautious optimism. The notion that our favorite plant might contribute an all-natural remedy for one of the world’s most insidious diseases is incredibly exciting. We’ll keep an eye on this story and update it as needed!
Looking for some humulene-rich strains and cannabis products? Shop our Sherman Oaks dispensary menu.