Terpenes occur everywhere in the natural world, giving many plants their distinctive characteristics. But today we’ll focus in on a single terpene—terpinolene—and the qualities it gives our favorite all-natural product: The cannabis plant!
What Does Terpinolene Smell and Taste Like?
Terpinolene sounds an awful lot like another terpene, terpineol. But while that terpene occurs in abundance in the cannabis (and many other) plants, terpinolene may be the most elusive terpene of all. Though it’s found in many strains of cannabis—we’ll share a few in a moment—it typically only appears in very small quantities. Still, when it does show up, it adds a lot.
Terpinolene is often described as having a complex, citrusy, floral and piney aroma, not too dissimilar from the superficially similar terpineol. But above all, terpinolene has an intriguingly “fresh” scent associated with it, one reason it’s often used as an additive in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumery. Elsewhere in the natural world, it appears in cumin, nutmeg, lilac flowers, and the tea tree.
What Does Terpinolene Do For Us?
Again, as with terpineol, the fact that Terpinolene occurs in tea tree is a hint to its antibacterial properties. Research published in 2015 examines the role the terpene—as well as other natural extracts and oils—can play in fighting some common (but dangerous) bacteria including Salmonella and E. coli.
Like several other terpenes, terpinolene may play a role in combating insectile pests. According to a 2009 study, the terpene may help drive away both mosquitoes and boll weevils.