(888) 908-0143
English Spanish

Limonene is a Terpene You Need to Know About in Ohio

limonene is a terpene you need to know about

The number of people in our country experiencing stress and its effects on their mental and physical well-being is growing. Up to 77% of all Americans experience physical symptoms related to stress; 73% report psychological consequences of increased tension.

According to the American Psychological Association, the COVID-19 health emergency (and post-pandemic recovery) have had a negative impact on Americans. Nearly 1 in 5 adults reported that their mental health was worse than it was in previous years.

Can medical cannabis actually help with stress? Some compounds present in medical cannabis have been noted to exercise a positive impact on how our bodies deal with stress, enabling us to live more positive lives; one of these compounds is the terpene limonene.

How much do you know about limonene and how terpenes play a role in helping to achieve relief from symptoms of stress, fatigue, and anxiety? Chances are, if you have purchased a strain with a lemon scent or flavor, you’ve already experienced some of the good things that medical cannabis with limonene can provide.

The Health Costs of High Stress

stress response

Many people don’t think of stress as a health risk or even a medical condition. Life can be stressful at work, at home, or within your social groups. But there is a difference between circumstantial stress (which passes in time) and living in a state of constant stress. And chronic stress can cause a cascade of health problems if it is not addressed.

Think of stress as an added boost of rocket fuel. When you are stressed, your body enters into a hormonal state of “fight or flight,” which is a survival mechanism. Our early ancestors used the adrenalin boost to outrun predators or other dangers. While we don’t have to worry about a mammoth running after us today, other modern stressors trigger the same physiological response in our bodies.

Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline provide a short energy boost. But they are only designed to be used intermittently (or rarely) by the body. When you are triggered by stressful circumstances or events, your body continues to elevate the levels of stress hormones. And over time, chronic stress can have a detrimental impact on your health.

Chronic unresolved stress can lead to life-threatening conditions like cardiovascular disease and compromise the immune system response of the human body. That means individuals who experience chronic stress are more likely to suffer from viral and bacterial infections as they are immunocompromised.

Mental health problems can be caused by chronic stress as well. If you have an existing mental health disorder, long periods of stress can make symptoms worse. Chronic stress can significantly disrupt healthy sleep patterns and contribute to chronic insomnia. Patients may also be at a higher risk of substance abuse, tobacco use, and unhealthy weight gain if they use stimulants to combat feelings of fatigue caused by chronic stress.

You may be eating well, exercising, and sleeping regularly, and still experience some adverse health effects caused by chronic stress. This is why many people choose doctor-supervised medical cannabis to help with symptoms and promote relaxation.

Common Symptoms of Chronic Stress

Humans respond to stress in many ways, displaying physical and emotional changes that can affect how we interact with our loved ones, co-workers, and those we come into contact with on a daily basis. Signs of stress include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tension
  • Upset stomach
  • Irritability
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Feeling nervous
  • Lack of energy
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

When our bodies are subjected to stress, we can experience any one of these or a number of other symptoms. Our response to stress is rarely, if ever, limited to one symptom; nervousness, for example, can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, tooth grinding, abdominal upset, and headaches.

The hypothalamus, located in the brain, is responsible for releasing hormones in response to a real or imagined threat to our safety; this is known as the flight or fight response. When this reaction is stimulated too often or for long periods of time, changes can occur that affect our mental or physical health.

The results of extended stress include strokes, ulcers, insomnia, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, heartburn, alterations in the menstrual cycle, erectile dysfunction, increased blood sugar, and an altered immune response.

What Are Terpenes?

limonene strains

You may have noticed that spending time outdoors makes you feel really good. Whether you are paddleboarding on the water, swimming in a pool, or just out walking surrounded by trees and natural plants. Getting outside does your body (and brain) good.

If you feel your mood and energy improve, you are not imagining it. That is the effect that plant compounds like terpenes can have on our bodies. Terpenes are organic compounds present in every type of plant, including herbs, fruits and vegetables, flowers, wild grasses, trees and leaves, and of course, cannabis.

What can change the psychoactive effects of a strain of cannabis is the unique combination of major and minor cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes types. Cannabis terpenes play an important role in achieving some of the medicinal benefits of cannabis compounds.

Think of terpenes as natural chemical compounds and essential oils that work together with cannabinoids. And depending on which cannabinoids and terpenes are present determines things like feelings of drowsiness or alertness and focus, mental calmness, pain relieving properties, and more. The medicinal properties of cannabis terpenes may offer therapeutic benefits.

What are the Health Benefits of Terpenes?

When you visit a medical cannabis dispensary, you may see some information online (or in the shop) about specific strains. Those descriptions may say things like “can help with chronic pain” or another symptom that patients struggle with.

Terpenes in cannabis are where the credit should go for many of the physiological and psychoactive properties you can experience when consuming cannabis. Different terpenes in cannabis can have varied effects, but overall, here are some of the wellness benefits that terpenes can provide:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relieving properties
  • Anxiety and stress relief
  • Antimicrobial (can help fight microbial infections)
  • Antifungal (may help reduce fungi and other pathogens in the human body)

If you are a medical cannabis patient, it is important to log the different strains of cannabis and terpenes that you use. And take some notes on how the specific major (THC or CBD) and minor (CBG, CBN, etc.) cannabinoids worked for you, including the natural ratios of terpenes in cannabis.

When you start to evaluate which strains work best for your needs, you may see some familiar combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids. And that can help you stick to strains that provide the best results for your wellness goals.

Where Do You Find Limonene?


Remember when we talked about how terpenes are present in virtually every type of plant on Earth? Cannabis produces terpenes as well because it’s a plant. The essential oils extracted from certain strains of cannabis include terpenes, which are then processed into medical marijuana products for patients. Or left unrefined as cannabis bud, where permitted by state cannabis programs.

Even if you have never tried medical cannabis before, you have definitely ingested some limonene in other types of herbs or fruits. Even if you do not detect the aromatic compounds of limonene, it is still present in many different types of plant foods.

For example, you can find dietary limonene by eating the following:

  • Citrus fruits such as lime, lemon, tangerines, and grapefruits.
  • Non-citrus fruits like cranberries, plums, apples, pears, and cherries.
  • Fresh herbs like dill, fennel, rosemary, peppermint, cilantro, and some types of basil.
  • Vegetables including carrots and celery.

The concentration of limonene varies depending on the plant compounds in the fruit, vegetable, or edible herb. And some foods have high limonene content only if they are ripened. Cannabis cultivars with high limonene content may have an uplifting emotional effect and help reduce symptoms of anxiety.

How Limonene Moderates the Stress Response

Our bodies have the remarkable ability to regulate essential systems in response to a real or perceived threat such as fire, assault, injury, or disease. This regulation occurs in the region of the brain known as the HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal) axis; the process influences motivation, mood, memory, appetite, pain, body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion.

When exposed to prolonged stressors, the HPA response can cause an increase in tension-related symptoms.  Lengthy exposure to stress or anxiety can lead to an imbalance in the body’s systems. Anxiety and depression are associated with a deficiency in several neurotransmitters, chemicals that transfer information from one nerve cell to another throughout the nervous system. These chemicals include serotonin and dopamine.

In a 2013 study, limonene was found to not only increase the availability of serotonin but to decrease anxiety-related symptoms. It has also been found to affect adenosine receptors, which in turn triggers the increased release of dopamine. Dopamine and serotonin are stress-reducing chemicals transmitted through the nervous system.

Serotonin works on emotional processing, while dopamine is associated with the pleasurable feelings we get from eating a good meal or spending time in an activity we enjoy.  Because of the connection between anxiety and depression, researchers have suggested it can be helpful for both conditions.

The side effects of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications can be unpleasant, and because of this, many people choose not to use pharmaceutical drugs to treat their conditions. These can include nausea, dry mouth, difficulty sleeping, drowsiness, agitation and irritability, increased appetite, and weight gain – in fact, many of the side effects of the medications prescribed for anxiety and depression are the same as those caused by chronic stress.

In contrast, limonene has very few negative effects, including the following:

  • interference with drugs metabolized by the liver (notably those working on Cytochrome P450 2C9 [CYP2C9]).
  • it can cause a skin rash and itching, often in people allergic to turpentine
  • eye irritation.
  • GI upset if taken in large quantities.

Limonene is effective when used in aromatherapy, smoked, vaped, or orally. It has a relatively low boiling/vaporization temperature of 350.6°F or 177°C; this should be considered when deciding what route will best benefit your situation.

Limonene and the Endocannabinoid Entourage Effect



According to current research, limonene is the second most abundant terpene in nature. As with many beneficial substances, limonene is produced in the trichomes or flowers of the cannabis plant. It is found in a variety of strains as well as citrus fruits, pine, juniper, rosemary, celery, fennel, caraway, and mint.

There are two varieties of limonene: d-limonene has a distinct citrusy odor, while l-limonene smells rather like turpentine. Limonene is used in commercial food flavorings, cosmetics, fragrances, and cleaning products, along with being popular for its use in aromatherapy.

As part of the entourage effect, limonene interacts with several cannabinoids, including CBD-A, CBC-A, THC-A, CBG, and CBC; it also functions alongside other terpenes, such as beta-caryophyllene and linalool, to positively impact the effect of cannabis strains containing these terpenes as well as limonene.

Limonene has been found in some clinical studies to increase the permeability of cell membranes, or how easily substances pass into and out of the cell wall, which could contribute to this effect. One of limonene’s significant properties can be reducing the anxiety that can be produced by THC as well as producing a feeling of well-being.

Several studies have shown limonene’s stress-relieving properties. Not only can it help reduce stress and anxiety, but as far back as 1955, 9 of the 15 patients treated with limonene showed a decrease in their need for antidepressant medication, an increase in immune system functioning, and a normalization of their stress hormone levels.

What Strains are High in Limonene?

limonene terpene

Aside from potential antifungal properties and the uplifting effects that limonene can have, it is aromatic and pleasantly flavored. Unless you dislike citrus flavors, in which case, a medical cannabis strain that has high limonene content shouldn’t be at the top of your list.

Sativas tend to contain more limonene than hybrids or Indicas, though there are varieties of each that have high levels of this important terpene. Because there are so many potential health benefits that patients can experience consuming medical marijuana with limonene, the strains are usually easy to find.

Some of the most well-known strains with high limonene terpene profiles include:

Hindu Kush

This iconic strain originates in Pakistan and is very common and also popular among medical cannabis patients in the United States. Hindu Kush is one of the few pure Indica strains that have a high limonene profile combined with high levels of THC. Patients commonly use this strain during the evening to help with pain, insomnia, and chronic stress. Hindu Kush also has a 1% average cannabigerol (CBG) content.

Cookies and Cream

One of the more popular medical cannabis strains, Cookies, and Cream, is commonly used during the daytime. The strain is considered a well-balanced hybrid, as it is 50% Indica and 50% Sativa. It has the benefit of two high concentrations of terpenes, including caryophyllene and limonene.

It is a sweet-tasting strain that can provide an emotional “pick-me-up” and temporary relief from stress. Cookies and Cream has an average of 20% THC potency.

Gorilla Glue 4 (GG4)

This hybrid strain is a cross between Sour Dubb and Chocolate Diesel. Gorilla Glue 4 is 37% Sativa and 63% Indica and is considered a potent strain with a high 20% THC content. Glue is the operative word in describing this strain; it can ‘glue’ you to the couch with sedative effects. If stress is keeping you up at night, this may be a strain to consider trying.

Gorilla Glue 4 is easy to find, and most dispensaries carry it. It is one of the medical cannabis strains that have three terpenes; myrcene, limonene, and caryophyllene. This strong Indica strain can also stimulate appetite, which is helpful for patients that struggle to eat.

Emerald Jack

This strain is a Sativa dominant (30% Indica) type of cannabis, with an average THC level of 20% to 24%. Emerald Jack can make people feel emotionally uplifted, where you know you have some stressful things you were thinking about…but you just can’t remember what they were.

Emerald Jack was developed from the legendary Jack Herer strain and Emerald OG. This strain is predominantly used during the daytime, as it can make people feel energetic and creative. Emerald Jack has a very high limonene content, with lesser amounts of two other terpenes; caryophyllene and myrcene.

Liberty Haze

Patients who use Liberty Haze love the bonus 2% CBD content of this strain. It was developed by combining genetics from Chemdawg and G13 strains. The average THC content for Liberty Haze is between 15% and 21%, and it is an evenly balanced hybrid of 50% Sativa and 50% Indica.

The major terpene content in Liberty Haze is limonene. The strain is believed to cause effects like euphoria, happiness, laughter, and pain-relieving effects. Some patients have shared that Liberty Haze is also a good choice for people who suffer from IBS or nausea.

Lemon G

With a name like Lemon G, it’s not hard to guess that limonene is the prominent terpene. In fact, if you are searching for new strains, if you see the word lemon in the name, you’ll know you’re getting a high limonene terpene content.

Lemon G is 70% Sativa and 30% Indica, with 23% THC content. This strain is more commonly used during the daytime because it can cause feelings of euphoria, creativity, and high energy. Some patients share that Lemon G can be effective for anxiety and chronic stress.


Depending on where you live, this strain may be hard to find. But Cinex is popular with people who want to cognitively “check out” from symptoms of stress or anxiety. It was developed from Cinderella 99 and Vortex cannabis strains.

Cinex is a 60% Sativa and 40% Indica hybrid strain of cannabis. The average THC level of Cinex is 15% to 25%. Because of the high Sativa aspects of the strain, many people share that they do not feel sedated after taking it. Instead, they can feel happy, relaxed, and calm (but still alert). Limonene is the highest concentration of terpene in this strain.


On the lowest end of the psychoactive spectrum is the cannabis strain Argyle. It averages 2% THC and 1% CBD, and it is a popular medical cannabis strain for many reasons. The low THC content can result in less impairment, but the equal ratio of CBD can help with inflammation and symptoms.

Argyle is 80% Indica and 20% Sativa, and patients describe effects including euphoria, creativity, and waves of energy. Many patients suffering from chronic stress and pain from muscle spasms or sports injuries enjoy Argyle for medicinal use. Limonene is the dominant terpene in this strain.


If you are looking for a high-limonene medical cannabis strain, start by researching online. All dispensaries have easy-to-use websites to research different strains. Or use a trusted online directory like Weedmaps or Leafly to search by strain online and find a local dispensary that carries it.


DocMJ is the Cannabis Healthcare Provider Patients Trust

We hope you enjoyed learning about terpenes and medical marijuana, as well as strains with anti-anxiety properties. DocMJ provides telemedicine cannabis healthcare services in Ohio and other states. Visit our homepage to schedule your appointment today.



  • Telemedicine appointments Available
  • 100% Money Back If not Approved
  • Risk-Free! 100% Refund if you do not qualify
  • Monthly Payment Plan