What is Alpha-Pinene: Benefits and Effects of This Terpene


You may have come across something about terpenes while searching for information about medical marijuana. If you don’t know what terpenes are, there’s no need to worry – most people don’t.

Terpenes aren’t specific to cannabis. All plants have terpenes. They are present in the essential oils of all plants and flowers, as aromatic hydrocarbons. Some insects have them too. They only recently became popular in medicine, especially when it comes to cannabis.

Research has shown that there are hundreds of terpenes, but only a few have medicinal benefits. The benefits they off vary even more.

Here, we will talk about one of the most common terpenes found in cannabis, which is alpha-pinene.

What Is Alpha-Pinene?

chemistry of alpha-pinene

Alpha-pinene is a colorless and organic oil. It’s also called pinene or conveyed with the Greek alpha symbol in some places. It gives off the aroma of a pine forest – fresh and earthy. It smells like pines because it is, in fact, part of what gives conifers like pines their scent.

Alpha-pinene is also present in many common herbs, such as:

  • Dill
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Citrus fruits

It is, by far, the most encountered natural terpene. It’s also one found most often in marijuana and has some of the best therapeutic effects.

What Does Alpha-Pinene Treat?

The most well-known use for alpha-pinene (and its close sibling, beta-pinene) is as an anti-inflammatory agent. It’s beneficial for soothing symptoms of diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s, and most forms of arthritis, as shown in Maria Miguel’s 2010 study of essential oils.

That’s not all it can be used for, though. This terpene also can be beneficial in the following ways:

  • It can combat or minimize the adverse effects of THC: THC can cause unwanted anxiety or affect short-term memory in some cases. Alpha-pinene works against this. It targets specific enzymes in the brain and inhibits their activity, which can help your memory.
  • It can also work harmoniously with THC: THC is one of the ingredients that gives medical cannabis its medicinal properties, so you can’t combat everything THC has to offer. Working with THC, alpha-pinene can help conditions such as asthma by opening up the airways.
  • It can act as an antibiotic: It can work alongside CBD and CBN, two other active components of medical marijuana, to create a variety of antibiotic properties.
  • Research has also indicated extra benefits, which are still under examination: Some common benefits are euphoria, helping oily skin, increasing alertness, and recently anti-cancer properties.

With all the significant benefits, it’s clear that alpha-pinene is one powerful medical aid.

Strains with Alpha-Pinene and What to Know

Some strains have more pinene content than others. Some of the most popular are:

  • Blue Dream: Smelling strongly of blueberries, you might not think it has a lot of pinenes. However hard you may find it to sense it, it’s undoubtedly there. This strain is excellent for a gentle euphoria and some creative inspiration.
  • OG Kush: This one smells a lot more like pine, combined with a citrus scent. This one also includes some other well-known (and common) terpenes such as limonene and myrcene.
  • Jack Herer: This strain is well known for its mood, appetite, and attention boosting properties. It is a significant source of alpha-pinenes.

They’re not only present in flowers. They’re also in essential oils, as used in aromatherapy. You can also ingest it, put it on your skin, or diffuse it (the typical aromatherapy method). Either way, you get some benefits from pinene.


It’s important to remember that pinene’s effects can be altered or influenced by other terpenes and cannabinoids. Some, like myrcene, can dampen effects – when combined, it may not create as strong of a focus. If you are looking for a specific outcome, pay attention to the entire make-up of the strain you’re considering. That’s why lab-tested alpha-pinene products are the best option.

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