Limonene – Terpenes and Cannabinoid Research

Limonene Research Dashboard


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CannaKeys has 102 studies associated with Limonene.

Here is a small sampling of Limonene studies by title:

Components of the Limonene Research Dashboard

  • Top medical conditions associated with Limonene
  • Proven effects in clinical trials for Limonene
  • Receptors associated with Limonene
  • Individual study details for Limonene

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Overview - Limonene

What is Limonene?

Limonene is the second most abundant terpene in nature after pinene.

Upon inhalation, limonene becomes rapidly bioavailable in humans.

Limonene is the precursor of perillyl alcohol, a common monoterpene found in various citrus fruits and essential oils.

Limonene is a gallstone solubilizer and a flavor and fragrance additive in food, household cleaning products, and perfumes.

Is Limonene safe?

The terpene limonene is a clear, colorless liquid and has been given GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status. However, isolated forms may cause skin irritation, severe eye irritation, and other adverse effects in a concentration dependant fashion. 

Other Names

IUPAC Name: 1-methyl-4-prop-1-en-2-ylcyclohexene


Scent Description

Lemon, citrus, orange, turpentine

Natural Sources

Citrus, juniper, lemons, limes, oranges

Cannabis Strains High in Limonene

Sour Diesel, Bruce Banner, Marionberry, OG Glue, Animal Cookies

Limonene Properties and Effects

Limonene is associated with the following properties and effects:

  1. Anti-cancer

    1. Anti-tumor (in breast cancer) (J. Chebet et al., 2021)

    2. Apoptotic (to pancreatic cancer cells) (J. Matos et al., 2008)

    3. Increased overall survival in brain cancer patients) (C. O da Fonseca et al., 2011)

  2. Anti-depressant (T Komori et al., 1995)

Anticancer activity may protect against breast and skin cancers (via inhibition of inflammation, oxidative stress, Ras-signaling, induction of a pro-apoptotic state of tumor initiation, growth, and angiogenesis, and the induction of cancer cells apoptosis by multiple pathways including increased Bax expression, release cytochrome c, activate the caspase pathway, increase the expression of p53, and reduction in tumor cyclin D1 expression, decrease the activity of Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt pathways, reduce the expression of VEGF and increase the activities of the Man-6-P / IGF2R and TGF-βIIR receptors)

Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-asthmatic (bronchial asthma), also gastroprotective of intestinal epithelial cells in induced colitis mice models.

It also may normalize peristalsis in cases of heartburn and GERD (via binding to both A2A and A2B receptors, reducing IL-5 and IL-6 levels, reducing cytokines, inhibition of TNFα, and TNFα-induced NF-κB translocation)

Potentially anti-osteoarthritic and anti-catabolic in chondrocytes may slow down cartilage destruction and osteoarthritis progression that warrants further investigation (via anti-inflammatory activity, inhibiting IL-1β-induced nitric oxide production, decreasing IL-1β-induced NF-κB, JNK, and p38 activation and the expression of inflammatory (iNOS) and catabolic (MMP-1 and MMP-13) genes, increasing the expression of anti-catabolic gene TIMP-1, increase expression of collagen I induced by IL-1β)

Antidepressant effects in preclinical studies and small-scale human studies (via normalizing neuroendocrine hormone levels and immune function, reducing serum and brain nitrite levels, and reducing the expression of IL-1β, TNF-α, and nitrite in the hippocampus, boosting serotonin and dopamine)

Anxiolytic and sedative effects (via A2A receptor-mediated regulation of dopaminergic and GABAergic activity, possible action on benzodiazepine-type receptors)

It may reduce obesity and promote weight loss.

Obese-preventive effects in high-fat diet-fed mice decreased the size of white and brown adipocytes, lowered serum triglyceride (TG) and fasting blood glucose levels, and prevented liver lipid accumulations.

In obese mice, d-limonene reduced serum TG, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) and fasting blood glucose levels and glucose tolerance, and increased serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) (via peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-α signaling and inhibiting liver X receptor (LXR)-β signaling)

Antihyperlipidemic may help with cholesterol-based gallbladder stones (via solubilizing gallstones and lowering TG levels)

Antifungal in metabolite form, perillyl alcohol (via inhibiting glyoxylate cycle in C. albicans)

Antibacterial and anti-acne effects.

Anti-biofilm effects in models of P. aeruginosa and S. aureus.

It may be synergistic with gentamicin in cases of MRSA (via superoxide anion radical-scavenging activity, affecting the expression of different levels of the biofilm-forming gene, slow toxicity against S. epidermidis and P. acnes, and reducing P. acnes-induced secretion of interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in THP-1 cells)

Last reviewed by Dr. Abraham Benavides, M.D., 05-09-2022

Limonene Receptor Binding

Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Limonene:

  1. CB1 (agonist) (N. Raz et al., 2023)

Endocannabinoidome (eCBome) and Limonene:

  1. A2A (Adenosine A2A receptor agonist) (Y. Song et al., 2021)

  2. TRPA1 (modulator) (T Kaimoto et al., 2016)

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Information on this site is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also available. Consult your physician, nutritionally oriented health care practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.