Cannabis Strains for Anxiety Limonene is the second most common terpene in nature and a prominent terpene in cannabis. The fragrance of citrus fruit peels is comprised mostly of limonene, so you’d be correct to assume that this terpene takes its name from the lemon. Limonene’s pleasant odor has made it a common additive in perfumes and food.Cannabis Strains for Anxiety.
Limonene can be safely consumed in high, naturally-occurring, amounts. However, adverse effects may be felt at doses around one gram per kilogram of body weight (around 68 grams of limonene for a 150-pound person). While this is significantly higher than what you’d find in cannabis flower or cannabis products, limonene extract can be purchased as a dietary supplement, so it’s advised that you consult a physician before adding substantial amounts of limonene to your diet.
Limonene is formed from geranyl pyrophosphate, the precursor to the cannabinoids. Once limonene is produced, it either stays in cannabis as limonene or gets converted to the other cannabis terpenes.Cannabis Strains for Anxiety.
As with many terpenes, plants produce limonene to help protect them against harmful microbes, and its antibacterial and antioxidant effects have been well-documented. But beyond its abilities to protect the plant, it also has an impact on brain function that scientists are working to better understand for the treatment of a variety of ailments—namely anxiety and other mental health disorders.Cannabis Strains for Anxiety.
The Potential Benefits of Limonene on Anxiety, Depression, and Stress
Studies have found that both orally consumed limonene and inhaledlimonene vapor reduces anxiety in lab mice. Similarly, limonene also reduced obsessive compulsive disorder-like behavior (OCD). However, limonene’s effectiveness seems to depend on mouse strain or type of anxiety test administered, perhaps indicating that its anxiety-reducing effects may work in some but not others.
Limonene may also have antidepressant qualities. Few human studies have been conducted on limonene’s antidepressant effects, but one small study of 12 hospitalized patients with depression revealed promising results. Limonene vapor inhalation reduced the need for antidepressant medication in 9 of the patients, normalized stress hormone levels, and improved immune function.
It remains unclear how limonene achieves these therapeutic effects. Inhalation of limonene vapor increases serotonin and dopamine levels in key regions of the brain that are associated with anxiety, depression, and OCD. At this point, it’s unclear how limonene boosts these brain chemical levels. Does limonene merely stimulate the brain’s olfactory system, or is it directly affecting brain cells, themselves? The actual mechanism is an area for future research, but it’s likely some combination of both stimulating the olfactory system and direct cellular action.
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Indicas vs. Sativas: Which Strains Have More Limonene?
Do indicas or sativas tend to have higher levels of limonene than the other? To investigate this, we looked at thousands of cannabis laboratory measurements and compared how limonene levels are distributed across cannabis flower products labelled as indica, hybrid, and sativa.Cannabis Strains for Anxiety.
On average, strains labelled as sativa tend to have higher levels of limonene, although there are plenty of strains labelled as indica and hybrid that have high levels of limonene. In fact, in this data set, the strain with the highest limonene levels on average was labelled as Hindu Kush, which is an indica (see below).Cannabis Strains for Anxiety.
As with other cannabis terpenes, most samples contain less than 0.5% limonene by dry weight, but it’s possible that strains can have more than this. Flower samples with 1% or more limonene by dry weight are quite rare.Cannabis Strains for Anxiety.
Which Cannabis Strains Tend to Have the Most Limonene?
As with most terpenes, precise levels of limonene often vary a lot between strains and across samples of a single strain. For example, the strain Dirty Girl tends to have relatively high levels of limonene, but individual samples can be quite variable. Some samples display limonene levels as low as 20% of all measured terpenes, while others test at 40% or more (i.e. limonene represents 40% or more of measured terpenes).Cannabis Strains for Anxiety.