October 12, 2020 3 min read

There are over 200 recognized terpenes found in cannabis, and Limonene is the second most abundant, next only to myrcene.

Limonene is not necessarily found in every cannabis strain, but can be found in at least trace amounts in most strains.

Aside from cannabis, it is commonly found in citrus fruits. Research is limited, but some evidence suggests that limonene may have various anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cardioprotective applications.

Like other terpenes, limonene may play a role in the entourage effect of whole-plant hemp and cannabis products. The theory suggests that there is synergistic activity between THC, CBD and other cannabis compounds. The entourage effect theory may be the reason that many people find full spectrum CBD to be more effective than CBD isolate.

Table of Contents
Limonene Aroma
Where Can You Find Limonene Besides Cannabis?
Limonene Effects and Benefits

Key Takeaways

Limonene is the second most common terpene found in cannabis, but it can also be found in a variety of plants, and is most commonly found in the peels of citrus fruits.

Research involving limonene's benefits is limited mostly to animal studies, but it may have potential as an anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, antioxidant, anxiolytic, and heart disease preventing supplement. More research is needed to confirm limonene's benefits.

Research regarding cannabis' entourage effect suggests that limonene is an important part of the synergy between cannabis compounds, which means that it may be an important part of the CBD user’s experience.

Full spectrum CBD products often contain various terpenes, including limonene, which may help explain why many users experience enhanced benefits from these CBD formulations.

Limonene Aroma

An arrangement of citrus fruits that are each a rich source of limonene.

Like all terpenes, limonene helps give cannabis it’s aroma. Limonene is known for its bright, lemony aroma with hints of earthy pine.

Where Can You Find Limonene Besides Cannabis?

Limonene is the prominent terpene found in many citrus fruits, like lemon, mandarin, lime, grapefruit, orange, and juniper.

Limonene Effects and Benefits

Terpene research is limited, but there are a few preliminary studies that help us understand limonene's health potential.

Here’s what we know:

  • One study suggests that limonene may have chemopreventive effects against tumors in animal trials, and that it may be useful for reducing inflammation.
  • Another study confirmed that limonene may help reduce inflammation through reducing nitric oxide production, which may make it useful for slowing osteoarthritis progression.
  • Limonene's was found to potentially have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that decreases inflammation and damage to the colon in rat models with ulcerative colitis, but more research is needed. 
  • Research found that consuming limonene-rich citrus peel may reduce the risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Another animal study found that limonene supplementation may reduce the growth of tumors by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • When given to rats suffering from high fat diet-induced obesity, researchers found that limonene may reduce triglycerides, fat accumulation in the liver, and bad cholesterol, meaning it may help lower the risk of heart disease.
  • As an aromatherapy agent, limonene has been shown to potentially reduce stress and anxiety in animal models.


  1. “Limonene suppresses lipopolysaccharide-induced production of nitric oxide, prostaglandin E2, and pro-inflammatory cytokines in RAW 264.7 macrophages” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20625233/
  2. “Evaluation of the anti-inflammatory, anti-catabolic and pro-anabolic effects of E-caryophyllene, myrcene and limonene in a cell model of osteoarthritis” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25622554/
  3. “D-limonene exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in an ulcerative colitis rat model via regulation of iNOS, COX-2, PGE2 and ERK signaling pathways” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28260017/
  4. “Citrus peel use is associated with reduced risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11142088/
  5. “D-Limonene modulates inflammation, oxidative stress and Ras-ERK pathway to inhibit murine skin tumorigenesis” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22318307/
  6. “Preventive and ameliorating effects of citrus D-limonene on dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia in mice with high-fat diet-induced obesity” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23838456/
  7. “Anxiolytic-like activity and GC-MS analysis of (R)-(+)-limonene fragrance, a natural compound found in foods and plants” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22995322/

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