Humulene : A Cannabis Terpene


Humulene is best known for being the first terpene discovered in hops

Hops, the plant we make beer from, also just so happens to be a member of the hemp plant family. Its science name is “Humulus lupulus,” and now you know where we get the name for the terpene humulene. Besides hops, humulene is a widespread terpene in the plant kingdom, also found in:

  • Cloves
  • Sage
  • Basil
  • Black pepper
  • Ginseng
  • Pine trees
  • Marsh elders – several species
  • Tobacco
  • Spearmint
  • Sunflowers

Between cannabis, hops, and tobacco, that’s three recreational plants we consume that all have humulene. Might there be something special about it?

Flavor and aroma:

Humulene is one of the major components of the signature aroma of cannabis. It has a spicy, herby aroma with a hint of floral notes. Its flavor is best described as earthy, but it tends to be wide-spread in cannabis strains and yet usually thinly concentrated, so it doesn’t lend a very pronouncing effect to the taste.

What it does:

When it comes to the high, humulene doesn’t seem to contribute anything specific one way or the other. However, its psychoactive effects would be hard to separate from THC since nearly every cannabis strain has some of both.

Thanks to its long-standing reputation from the hops family, effects of humulene are widely studied and established. Known medical aspects of humulene include:

Without a doubt, the long history of hops cultivation starting in the year 736 has given hops and humulene a deep tradition in folk medicine. You can find hops and humulene recommended for just about anything, but very little of it is proven.

Where to find it:

As noted above, humulene is so widespread that a list of strains lacking it would be shorter. However, the following strains have the highest concentrations of humulene:

  • Death Star
  • Headband
  • Thin Mint GSC
  • Original Glue
  • Candyland
  • White Widow
  • Girl Scout Cookies
  • Sour Diesel
  • Pink Kush
  • Skywalker OG

You could just about throw a dart at any strain with another terpene you like and get some humulene in it too.

Fun facts:

Humulene also plays an important role in the natural defenses of the cannabis plant. It is contained in the trichomes of the plant, which aids in repelling pests and fungus.

Humulene has an identical chemical formula to another cannabis terpene, caryophyllene. The difference is in molecular structure (which is still more significant than most people would suspect).



Freelance author and researcher for twenty years, a career spanning two-thirds the age of the World Wide Web itself. Passionate about finding the truth and informing the public. Investigative research for the purpose of consumer awareness. Avid cannabis enthusiast and geek of many talents and interests.

View Comments

  • The subtle earthy, woody, and spicy notes that give hoppy beers their distinct taste and aroma are also partly responsible for giving cannabis its unique scent. Both hops and cannabis share a common terpene : humulene.

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