What is Humulene: Benefits, Effects and Strains of This Terpene


Of the thousands of terpenes found in all plants, flowers, insects, and fungi, only a couple hundred are present in cannabis. Even less are found in large enough amounts to have any real effects or benefits. Research on these few terpenes has shown that they can have significant implications for medical marijuana.

Initially, researchers believed terpenes were merely the source of a plant’s smell. The scent of a plant is a useful defense against predators. However, as we come to learn more about cannabis and the uses of plants in medicine, terpenes have been shown to have substantive medicinal power.

In medical cannabis, in particular, certain terpenes work with active ingredients in marijuana like THC and CBD to boost the medicinal strength. The boost creates “entourage effect”.

Every terpene has different benefits. A prevalent type is humulene, which is primarily known for its anti-inflammatory power.

So, why should you know about this terpene? You might benefit from its unique effects.

What Is Humulene?

Humulene has also been called alpha humulene or alpha caryophyllene, in some research. It was found originally in hops, a member of the hemp plant family that gives beer its flavor. It can often give cannabis a beer-like “hoppy” scent, too, if other terpenes don’t overpower it.

Outside of hops, it is a little less bitter. Its aroma is woody or earthy, with spicy notes. You can find it in many common herbs, like black pepper, clove, basil, sage, and coriander. With cannabis, it’s mainly present in Sativa.

What Can Humulene Treat?

Humulene is a “jack of all trades” of terpenes, but its primary use is as an anti-inflammatory aid. It’s so potent that some researchers have compared it to dexamethasone, one of WHO’s most essential medicines. It’s also great at fighting bacteria and helping reduce the growth of tumors. Unlike many other strains, it acts as an appetite suppressant.

Currently, its most common applications are for:

  • It can mitigate pain. Humulene is a powerful pain reliever because it works as a depressant.
  • It may help heal infections. Humulene has strong anti-bacterial properties, and it has been a favorite to use against staph infections. It’s still very prevalent in folk and holistic medicines.
  • It can alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia and arthritis. These conditions involve inflammation in critical areas, so of course, humulene’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties are perfect.
  • It may facilitate weight loss. When used alongside other chemicals already present in cannabis, it can be a potent appetite suppressant and promote weight loss.
  • It may slow down cancer. Humulene helps the production of reactive oxygen species, which aid in the destruction of cancerous cells.
  • It can treat Dengue fever, Malaria, and viruses from third-stage larvae. Humulene works to kill fungus and other pests that are responsible for many third-world diseases.

Strains with Humulene and What to Know

Close up image of one of Humulene strain bud

Humulene-infused strains are less common than many others, but they’re still popular. Some of the better-known ones include:

  • Sour Diesel: Also called Sour D, this is a Sativa strain that smells a lot like diesel fuel. However, its potent energizing effects are excellent for pain relief, stress relief, and depression.
  • GSC: A hybrid strain that promotes full-body relaxation, GSC is best for nausea relief and severe pain relief.
  • Headband: The strain smells like a strange combination of citrus and fuel. It has a long-lasting, relaxing effect that’s great for easing pain or stress.
  • Pink Kush: Instead of Sativa, this is an indica dominant strain that is wildly potent. Full of humulene and some other terpenes, it’s well known for its power. Only a tiny amount is necessary for pain relief, weight loss, and help with insomnia.
  • White Widow: Also known for its myrcene content, this hybrid is great for energy and creativity.


Humulene can be effective when smoked, used topically, or even in aerosol form. It is present in many balms for inflammation. When used with other terpenes, it can work wonders for pain and stress. Just make sure you know what’s in your cannabis before you buy it.

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