Have you ever noticed that some cannabis strains have a distinctive Christmas tree-like scent? Or perhaps, you take a whiff and immediately feel like you are taking a relaxing hike in the woods. The pine scent and flavor in cannabis comes from a terpene called pinene. Terpenes are aromatic and flavorful compounds that play a variety of natural roles in plants. They can attract pollinators, dissuade herbivores, and defend plants against pathogens. Humans have also found many uses for plant terpenes such as flavoring agents, perfumes, cleaning products, and natural medicine.

Pinene Benefits and Properties

Pinene is not unique to cannabis. It is also found in pine trees, juniper, sage, rosemary, and many other plants [1, 3, 4]. It is known for its distinctive pine aroma and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In recent years, pinene has gained attention for its potential therapeutic properties and has been the subject of numerous studies. It is thought that pinene may have benefits for inflammation, breathing, memory, pain relief, insect repellant, and antimicrobial properties.

There are two varieties of pinene- alpha-pinene and beta-pinene. Alpha-pinene is most common in nature and has a pronounced pine aroma. Beta-pinene is less abundant and has more of a fresh pine scent that is more subtle. Many cannabis users feel that high pinene cannabis strains promote focus [3]. It has also been suggested that pinene can mediate the memory impairment effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and may alleviate symptoms of overconsumption of THC by reducing intoxication. Pinene, along with other terpenes, may also interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and mimic the behavior of cannabinoids or act in synergy with them [2].

High-Pinene Cannabis Strains

If your interest in high-pinene cannabis strains has been piqued, here is a list of some varieties to look for at your local dispensary:

  1. Blue Dream

If you’re a cannabis enthusiast, you’ve likely heard of Blue Dream. Blue Dream is a sativa-dominant hybrid of Blueberry and Haze that offers a balanced and euphoric experience. It is a favorite among both recreational and medicinal users and is also suitable for both novice and experienced users. When you crack open a nug of Blue Dream, you’re greeted by a burst of sweet, berry-like aroma with hints of earthiness. It’s a scent that’s both enticing and invigorating thanks to a combination of the dominant terpenes myrcene, pinene, and caryophyllene. When smoked or vaporized, it delivers a smooth, sweet, and fruity flavor with a subtle herbal undertone. Blue Dream’s effects are where this strain truly shines. It offers a well-balanced high that’s perfect for any time of day. The onset is marked by a euphoric cerebral rush that’s creative and uplifting. It’s the kind of high that can boost your mood, spark motivation, and enhance focus. Blue Dream also contains enough indica to provide a gentle body relaxation that complements the cerebral effects.

  • Big Bud OG

The Big Bud OG cannabis strain is an indica variety that supports deep relaxation with a powerful body high. It is known for its big sticky buds and has a notable history. Big Bud OG is one of the few legacy cannabis strains originating in the US. In the 1980’s it was brought to the Netherlands to ensure its genetics could survive the US War on Drugs. Big Bud OG is a three-way cross of the strains Afghani, Northern Lights, and Skunk #1 (or Haze, it has been re-bred). Big Bud OG buds are densely packed with resinous and extremely sticky trichomes. It has a dank, earthy aroma and a flavor with hints of fruit, sweetness, and spice. If you are looking for the perfect cannabis strain to encourage sleep and tension relief, Big Bud OG is a great choice.

  • Northern Lights

Northern Lights is a cannabis strain that has been around since the mid-80s, so it comes in a huge variety of phenotypes (Northern Lights #1, #2, #3, #5, F2, and so on). These phenotypes have the same core genetics but slightly different characteristics are expressed. Northern Lights is considered to be a pure indica cross of Afghani x Thai landraces. It is known for offering a balanced mind and body high with overall relaxation and euphoria. Northern Lights differs from Afghani-derived Kush strains because it has this balance and is not heavily sedating. The average THC in Northern Lights is typically under 20% THC, so it is suitable for both novice and experienced cannabis users. Northern Lights has a distinct pine scent accompanied by flavor notes of earth and spice. Its dominant terpenes are myrcene, caryophyllene, and pinene. This classic strain is one that every cannabis user should experience at least once.

  • Limoncello

The Limoncello cannabis strain is a zesty and citrusy sativa-dominant hybrid of Original Lemonade and Cherry Pie. This strain has gained popularity for its uplifting effects and delectable taste. Upon opening a container of Limoncello, you’re instantly greeted by an invigorating aroma that is dominated by lemon and lime notes. It is reminiscent of the famous Italian lemon liqueur after which it’s named. The taste of Limoncello mirrors its aroma beautifully. When smoked or vaporized, it delivers a burst of sweet, tangy citrus flavors. While you might expect limonene to be a dominant terpene, pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene are actually the most abundant. Limoncello’s effects offer an uplifting and energizing high that’s perfect for daytime use. Users often report feeling a boost in mood and creativity shortly after consumption.  In addition to its motivating sativa effects, Limoncello also offers a balance of bodily relaxation that tempers its cerebral stimulation.

  • Himalayan Gold

Himalayan Gold is a landrace cannabis strain that originates in the Himalayan regions bordering Nepal and Northern India. This indica landrace does not have the typical effects you’d expect. While its high is tranquil, relaxing, and body-focused, it also offers mental clarity and is not overly sedative. The Himalayan Gold experience is both mellow and uplifting. Some would describe the flavor as a blend of tar, menthol, and tree fruit that culminates in earthiness and spice with a hint of sweetness. Pinene, terpinolene, and myrcene are the dominant terpenes in the Himalayan Gold terpene profile.

  • Diamond OG

The cannabis strain Diamond OG is either a cross of OG Kush with an unknown strain or a phenotype of OG Kush itself. It is a deeply relaxing indica-dominant hybrid, known for its crystalline appearance and robust aroma. The name Diamond OG aptly describes the appearance of this strain. Its buds are densely packed and glisten with a dense layer of trichomes, creating the impression of a diamond-encrusted treasure. These crystals burst with a pungent aroma of pine and earth and release flavors with undertones of citrus, spice, and wood. With such a sensory combination, it comes as no surprise that pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene dominate the Diamond OG terpene profile. The effects of the Diamond OG strain are typical of a powerful indica. It offers deep relaxation, a concentrated body high, and mild euphoria.

High Pinene Strains for Medical Marijuana

While smoking high-pinene cannabis strains is not likely to impart all of the terpene’s suspected benefits, these strains may be appropriate for certain medical marijuana applications. If you are interested in pinene cannabis for health benefits, be sure to consult with a medical marijuana doctor who can evaluate your condition and advise on the best course of treatment.

References

  1. Allenspach, M., & Steuer, C. (2021). α-Pinene: A never-ending story. Phytochemistry, 190, 112857.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031942221002065

  1. LaVigne, J. E., Hecksel, R., Keresztes, A., & Streicher, J. M. (2021). Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 1-15.

https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1038/s41598-021-87740-8.pdf

  1. Lewis, M. A., Russo, E. B., & Smith, K. M. (2018). Pharmacological foundations of cannabis chemovars. Planta medica, 84(04), 225-233.

https://www.thieme-connect.com/products/ejournals/html/10.1055/s-0043-122240

  1. Russo, E. B., & Marcu, J. (2017). Cannabis pharmacology: the usual suspects and a few promising leads. Advances in pharmacology, 80, 67-134.

http://ethanrusso.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Russo-Marcu-Cannabis-Pharmacology-The-Usual-Suspects-and-a-Few-Promising-Leads-Adv-Pharmacol-2017-1.pdf

Sabine Downer
Author: Sabine Downer