Humulene is a secondary terpene found in low concentrations in the cannabis plant and its essential oil. However, humulene is the primary terpene found in the hops plants used to make beer and its aroma is what gives beer its “hoppy” smell. The scientific name for hops is Humulus lupulus and this is where humulene gets its common name. Other names for humulene used in scientific nomenclature include α-humulene and α-caryophyllene.
Although pulegone is a terpene present in relatively low concentrations in cannabis, it packs a powerful pepperminty camphorous punch! If you’ve ever walked by a large rosemary bush and accidentally brushed your arm against it as you did so, then you’ve smelled pulegone in all its glory as it is a major component of this highly fragrant herb. While you may enjoy taking deep breaths of its pleasant aroma, insects are repelled by it. For this reason, pulegone (and rosemary bushes) are often used to deter biting insects in backyards and along decks and porches. Pulegone is also a powerful insecticide that naturally occurs in most mint species, including peppermint, spearmint, and catnip (Nepeta cataria).
Geraniol is a terpene found in cannabis with a sweet very pleasant floral aroma similar to that of a rose. In fact, the perfume industry switched from using rose petal extracts to using geraniol in many perfumes because they smell so similar. Although geraniol is known to attract honey bees, it is also used as an insect repellent for mosquitos.
Early studies on geraniol showed remarkable results. Liver cancer was stopped cold in rats that received 400 micromoles of geraniol in their food daily. Mammary tumors in rodents were also halted with a similar dosage. It was also found that liver cancer in birds could be stopped by giving geraniol. Perhaps the most remarkable results of the early studies on geraniol was to show that it could stop the growth pancreatic cancer in hamsters. A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer at that time was a near death sentence because there was only a four percent survival rate within five years of being diagnosed. These terrible odds haven’t improved much today in fact. Keep in mind that geraniol is a terpene that occurs naturally in cannabis and is present in full spectrum CBD oil.