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April 21, 2023

What is Humulene?

Do you love to relax with an ice-cold, bitter IPA that is hoppy as hell? If so, you are a true fan of humulene, one of the more common terpenes found in cannabis!

In this post, we’ll cover all of the basics about humulene, including:

  • What humulene is
  • The pharmacology and chemical makeup of humulene
  • Sources and benefits of humulene
  • Medicinal benefits of humulene

And other cool information! So let’s get started.

What is Humulene?

Humulene—also called alpha-humulene, α-caryophyllene, or α-humulene—is a monocyclic sesquiterpene. Humulene has a distinctive, earthy aroma reminiscent of wood and citrus. Humulene is one of the most common terpenes in cannabis plants, and alongside myrcene and pinene it plays a key role in the plant’s unique smell.

Cannabis strains high in humulene can be identified by their strong herbaceous scent. Strains known for having higher levels of humulene include sativa-dominant hybrids such as Sour Diesel, Headband, GSC (formerly Girl Scout Cookies), and White Widow along with the occasional indica-dominant varieties such as OG Kush.

Hops plants with significant amounts of humulene create the trademark “hoppy” bitterness that IPAs beer are known for.

Chemical and Physical Characteristics of Humulene

Chemically, humulene consists of 15 carbon atoms (C15H24), giving it a molar mass of 204.36 g/mol. Unlike the cannabinoids or larger terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene, humulene does not interact with the CB1 or CB2 receptors. Nevertheless, this terpene is vital for its medicinal properties.


The two humulenes, alpha-humulene and beta-humulene, differ slightly in their molecular structure due to their different positions on the carbon chain. Alpha-humulene is more common than beta-humulene and occurs naturally in many plant species such as Humulus lupulus (hops) and Cordia verbenacea (bitter bush).

For more on the pharmacokinetics of humulene, see “Pharmacological and toxicological activities of α-humulene and its isomers: A systematic review,” via Science Direct.

Sources and Benefits of Humelune

Humulene is a terpene commonly found in cannabis plants, trees such as the balsam fir, hops, and other natural plant sources such as Cordia verbenacea (bitter bush) or Humulus lupulus (hop flowers). Its distinct smell stands out, even among the pungent aromas of other terpenes.

The most common source for humulene is the species Humulus lupulus, which is used extensively by brewers when making beer thanks to its ability to suppress appetite and provide a pleasant aroma when combined with other terpenes during fermentation processes.

Humulene is also found in essential oils of plants such as Cordia verbenacea (also known as “broom sage”), ginger root, ginseng root, coriander, black pepper, spearmint leaves, and even certain types of mushrooms like chaga or reishi which contain trace amounts of this compound. Commonly found in cannabis products and other plants like hops, sage, basil, and ginseng,

Each source provides unique benefits depending on what you are looking for from your product; whether it be flavor enhancement or medicinal purposes such as reducing inflammation or aiding digestion. Technically, this common terpene can be consumed orally, topically, or inhaled as an aerosol.

Humelune is a natural terpene found in cannabis, hops and other plants that has medicinal properties which can be beneficial to our health. By understanding the sources of humulene we can better understand how it works and its potential benefits for us. Examining humulene’s healing properties can shed light on its therapeutic advantages.

Health Benefits Of Humulene

Humulene is a proven analgesic with anti-inflammatory properties, which may be why some medical marijuana users looking for extra relief from their usual tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) fare seek out humulene-rich products. For example, at least some research has found that humulene treatment is about as effective as treatment with steroids such as dexamethasone.

Humulene also has antimicrobial properties, including against Staphylococcus aureus. Humelune may also serve as an appetite suppressant for those seeking weight loss or to manage food cravings more effectively.

Research indicates that alpha-humulene can confer additional protective anticancer benefits in patients taking cytostatic antitumor drugs to control tumor growth. Research also indicates that humulene increases reactive oxygen species production, which may help kill cancer cells—even more in combination with beta-caryophyllene or β-caryophyllene.

FAQs in Relation to What is Humulene

Why do people like humulene-rich strains and products?

When users write reviews about humulene-rich strains and products, they mention their woody, earthy aromas and herbal flavor profiles first. Humulene fans also often mention its anti-inflammatory effects and other benefits that may help improve health outcomes.

Does humulene get you high?

No, humulene does not get you high. It is a cannabis terpene that has an aroma similar to hops and herbs like basil and sage. Humulene is not intoxicating, although it may have some potential medicinal benefits.

What role does humulene play in the entourage effect?

The entourage effect is a synergistic amplification of therapeutic benefits that occurs when multiple cannabinoids and terpenes—including humulene—are used together. Each combination of cannabinoid molecules alongside other key bioactive components such as flavonoids, sterols, triterpenoids and terpenes like humulene delivers very specific effects.

[For more on the entourage effect and its potential role in phytomedicine, see Russo here.]

Is humulene legal?

Yes. Humulene is classified as “GRAS,” generally recognized as safe, for use as a food additive by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


Are you feeling the bitter, hoppy pull of humulene yet? It’s time to give this herbal champion another try.

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Written by Diet Smoke Staff Writers

The staff writers for Diet Smoke have been researching and writing about premium hemp-derived THC and CBD products for more than 3 years. The team has a keen understanding of the topic, remain current on all FDA and industry news, and use their expertise to generate engaging and informative content to help educate consumers on Diet Smoke’s products. Each article is fact-checked and includes sources to scientific data to ensure readers receive the most up-to-date and accurate information possible.

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Reviewed By Colby Wohlleb

Colby Wohlleb, editor of Diet Smoke, reviews and approves all content before releasing it for posting on the Diet Smoke website. As a tireless advocate for the benefits of premium hemp-derived THC and CBD products, Colby ensures that all content is accurate, engaging, and informative. He also works directly with a trusted source to ensure the purity of the products we sell and performs rigorous lab testing to ensure that Diet Smoke’s products are of the highest quality and safety standards.