Terpenes: Humulene

Posted by Sauce Warehouse on

Terpenes: Humulene

What is Humulene? 

Humulene is a terpene that is found in the essential oils of a variety of plants, including Humulus lupulus (hops) and Cannabis sativa (marijuana). This terpene has a woody, earthy aroma and is used in the brewing of beer and the production of some types of incense. 



Potential Medical Benefits of Humulene 

Humulene is also being studied for its potential medical benefits. While further research is needed, preliminary evidence suggests that Humulene may have therapeutic properties. For example, Humulene has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects in animal studies. In addition, Humulene appears to be able to modulate the pharmacokinetics of other terpenes, which could potentially make it useful as a drug delivery system.

Some studies have also shown that Humulene may be effective in treating cancer. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings. As research into the medical benefits of Humulene continues, this terpene may ultimately prove to be a valuable tool in the treatment of a variety of conditions.

Graphic listing the effects of the terpene Humulene and the plants in which it is found


Classification of Humulene 

Humulene is a monocyclic sesquiterpene that was formerly classified as  α-caryophyllene. It’s bicyclic structure consists of Furyl and Valeric acid side chains. The Furyl group makes Humulene a member of the Caryophyllene oxide class of compounds. Caryophyllene oxide is classified as a bicyclic sesquiterpene oxide. Sesquiterpenes are a large and diverse class of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are found in all plant taxonomic families, but Humulene is most commonly associated with the Humulus lupulus plant, also known as hops, which is also the plant Humulene is named after.

Both Humulene and it’s close relative, β-caryophyllene, share the same chemical formula, however, they differ in structure. Both are sesquiterpenes and are found in many of the same plants including basil, sage, and clove. They also have very similar aromas. Check out our terpene chart article to learn more about sesquiterpenes and other terpene categories.

Structures of terpenes Humulene & β-Caryophyllene

Humulene in Cannabis Strains

Humulene is commonly found in a variety of cannabis strains. It contributes to their distinct spicy, herbaceous, and subtly floral aromas.

As is the case with pinene and myrcene, humulene plays a fundamental role in the general aromatic profiles of cannabis. However, with its subtle earthy and floral notes, humulene is sometimes overshadowed by more dominant terpenes which are typically found in higher quantities. 

High Humulene Cannabis Strains

High Humulene Hemp Strains

  • Forbidden V
  • Pink Panther
  • Sour Suver Haze
  • Mustard Berry
  • Grapefruit

It is worth noting that Humulene tends to show up in higher quantities within caryophyllene-dominant cannabis strains.


Questions about Humulene, or other terpenes?  Feel free to reach out, we’d love to help!

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