The Almighty Terpenes? We're talking Unstoppable Mono here Folks!

Mono reminds me of high school and kissing. The plague of mono and reputation being destroyed, isolation and shaming. But this isn’t high school, fortunately.

Nope. We are talking about a class of terpenes in cannabis (and all plants and some animals) known as monoterpenes. The last entry talked about the chemistry of monoterpenes. Basically, the chemical structure of all terpenes is a multiple of C5H8 molecules. For instance, limonene has the structure C10H16. Myrcene’s, found in hops as well as cannabis, the structure is C10H16. It is the double C5H8 structure that identifies monoterpenes.

Monoterpene Benefits

Monoterpenes have numerous benefits to humans. They can dry up mucus membranes and support the immune system. And if that is not enough, monoterpenes have antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and antiviral properties as well. Several members of the category powerfully interrupt the immune response (assisting in stopping cytokine storms) and can soothe sore muscles. Essential oils like rosemary or sweet marjoram aid blood flow to sore muscles getting nutrients to them faster.

Nor is that all they do. They are also great air purifiers and deodorizers. In addition, citrus smells provide an uplifting emotional response in humans. They can repel insects and, depending on your mood, attract or repel pests.

Major Monoterpenes

The three major monoterpenes found in cannabis are pinene, myrcene, and limonene. Pinene is used to reduce anxiety, pain management, and to control inflammation. Myrcene is the source of “couch lock” when it is found in greater than 0.5% levels. Myrcene aids in controlling inflammation and has antibiotic and analgesic effects. Limonene’s citrus smell alleviates stress, boosts your mood, and flavors foods.


Pinene is a fragrant oil secreted by cannabis trichomes. Even though it originally developed by plants as an adaptive protection against predators, pinene offers us humans a variety of potential benefits. And, fun fact: pinene can also be found in conifer trees, orange peels, turpentine, pine needles, rosemary, dill, basil, and parsley.

The following uses of pinene are currently being investigated:


Myrcene has a Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde disposition. When it is found in quantities greater than 0.5% total terpene, is has a strong sedative effect. It is the source, along with THC, of the infamous or famous, if you have insomnia, couch lock…that desire to curl up on the couch and go to sleep during Silence of the Lambs for example.

Some of the potential benefits of myrcene:

  • Improve sleep

  • Reduce pain

  • Promote relaxation

  • Enhance mood

  • Relieve anxiety

  • Relieve Stress

  • Strengthen the immune system

However, when it is found in less than 0.5%, its evil twin appears. By retreating into the background, myrcene lets those energizing terpenes take center stage.


Limonene is produced in cannabis' resin glands, and usually associated with fruity, citrus aromas. It is found in common household items such as fruit rinds, cosmetics, and cleaning products.

Studies indicate limonene's potential in the following applications:

  • Elevated mood

  • Stress relief

  • Antifungal properties

  • Antibacterial properties

  • May help relieve heartburn and gastric reflux

  • Improves absorption of other terpenes and chemicals by way of the skin, mucous membranes, and digestive tract


Wojtunik-Kulesza, K., Kasprzak, K., Oniszczuk, T., and Oniszczuk, A. (2019). Natural Monoterpenes: Much More than Only a Scent. Chemistry & Biodiversity. 16. 10.1002/cbdv.201900434. Retrieved on July 9, 2021 from

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