In Cannabis terpinolene represents one the big eight “Terpene Super Classes”, alongside with myrcene, ocimene, limonene, α-pinene, humulene, linalool, and β-caryophyllene (BCP) and its presence is generally typical of sativa strains.
Plants that contain Terpinolene
Terpinolene is the major component found in Parsnip oil (Pastinaca Sativa) and one of the main ingredients of many other essential oils, including that of Cannabis, Juniper, Mint and other members of Lamiaceae family, Myristica (Nutmeg), oranges, Rosemary and Sage. It is also a component of pine and Tea Tree oil.
The flavour and aroma profile of Terpinolene
Terpinolene emanates a sweet pine and fresh lemony peel fragrance with spicy and woody undertones and a slightly sweet citrus flavour.
From the chemical point of view, terpinolene is a cyclic monoterpene (Figure 1). It appears as a slightly whitish to light amber coloured liquid or oil and is usually moderately soluble to insoluble in water.
Industrial uses for Terpinolene
Terpinolene is frequently used as a solvent for resins in the manufacturing of plastics and synthetic resins. It is also used as a flavouring agent in foods and as a fragrance for many commercial products like detergents, soaps, and perfumes.
Medicinal properties of Terpinolene
From the medical point of view, terpinolene has shown a variety of effects:
- Cancer: in cells treated with sage or rosemary extract, terpinolene was found to reduce the expression levels of the protein kinase AKT (which mediates cell proliferation and survival signals, and contributes to cancer progression) thus inhibiting cell proliferation 48 hours after the herbal treatments. Furthermore, at very high dosing (>50 mg/L), terpinolene demonstrated an antiproliferative effect against neuroblastoma.
- Antioxidant in the prevention of Coronary Artery Disease: Terpinolene, in association with two antioxidant agents – vitamin E (Alpha-Tocopherol) and Beta Carotene – has demonstrated to prevent the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol (“low-density lipoprotein (LDL) – cholesterol, or LDL-C) and the fatty components of bad cholesterol undergo changes resulting in the formation of fatty deposits or plaques (Atherosclerosis).
- Sedative: According to a 2013 study on mice, the sedative effect attributed to terpinolene may be due to its structural characteristics. Another study showed that such an effect might be attributable to cholinesterase inhibition in the presence of THC. The route of administration though olfactory stimulation may play a further role in the expression of terpinolene sedative activity.
- Antifungal: terpinolene has also shown antifungal and larvicidal activities.
- Anti-inflammatory: probably via 5-HT2A receptors