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limonene molecule diagram

Limonene - The Citrus Terpene

Limonene is one of the more widely known, sought-after terpenes when referencing cannabis, and it also happens to be one of my favorites. The most common places to find Limonene would usually be in the rinds of fruits like grapefruits, oranges, lemons and other citrusy foods. If you’ve ever opened a bag of pot, and been damn near knocked over by a potent, citrusy aroma, chances are you were smelling a cultivar high in Limonene.

glass of citrus juice surrounded by sliced citrus fruits on a stone background with scattered ice cubes
Limonene has been extracted from the rinds of citrus fruits and used medicinally for centuries.

Not only does this terpene smell sensational, it has some remarkable medicinal effects as well. Here is a quick breakdown of Limonene, its sources and some of its benefits:

Limonene is a chemical found in the rind of citrus fruits, including lemons, limes, and oranges. It is especially concentrated in orange peels, comprising around 97% of this rind’s essential oils.

Limonene is often referred to as d-limonene, which is its main chemical form.

Limonene is one of the most common terpenes found in nature, and may offer several health benefits. It has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-stress, and possibly disease-preventing properties.

Source: Healthline
thc-a citrique diamonds on a glass dab tool on a fiery red background
Limonene is the most abundant terpene in these Citrique diamonds by Nektr Extracts .

I recently took a course where we studied the various prominent terpenes found in cannabis, and I was intrigued, but not entirely surprised to find that smoking or ingesting cannabis isn’t even necessary to experience the medicinal effects of terpenes. You only have to plunge your face into a bag of Lemon Sour Diesel, and feel the rush of energy and euphoria ripple through your senses to understand what I’m talking about. The aroma of the terpenes alone is all you need to begin to feel these effects.  


mans hands peeling an orange with a paring knife on a wodden cutting board
Orange rinds essential oils are made up of 97% limonene.


Given the anti-stress properties and the energetic effects one experiences from Limonene, it makes sense why most daytime cultivars have high concentrations of this terpene. Some people would even say that hunting for cultivars high in Limonene for daytime use, instead of relying on the age-old indica/ sativa narrative, could be more beneficial, and could lead to better experiences with cannabis. Hopefully this helps you in the search for your perfect cultivar!

Tom Stevens

Author Tom Stevens

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