Cannabis Science

Alpha-pinene Terpene Effects

woman rolling a blunt

You’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered why weed smells like it does. Compounds called terpenes are responsible for the smell. Many terpenes are found in weed, and each weed plant has a varying amount of each terpene. One of the more popular terpenes is alpha-pinene. Here’s what you need to know about alpha-pinene terpene effects. 

Photo: Unsplash

What Does Pinene Smell Like?

Did you know that pinene is the most abundant terpene in nature? So, chances are you’ve smelled the pleasant aroma of pinene before. DeBacco University says that there are two isomers of pinene, alpha-pinene, and beta-pinene. 

This terpene provides a strong pine aroma, like pine needles. The beta isomer, according to DeBacco University, smells more like rosemary and basil.  

If you’re wondering where you can find pinene outside of weed, well, according to Lab Effects, besides pine and conifer trees, you can find this terpene in rosemary and orange peels. 

You’ve probably smelled pinene in several products you may use such as household cleaners, turpentine, and perfumes. 

Alpha-pinene Effects

Now you know what it smells like, what are the alpha-pinene terpene effects? Well, according to Healthline, pinene may, “help boost memory, reduce pain, and ease some of the not-so-pleasant symptoms of THC, such as nausea and coordination problems.”

In addition to that, Lab Effects say that some of the effects of alpha-pinene are:

  • Improve cognitive function and memory
  • Increase focus and alertness
  • Reduce anxiety

These effects are similar to the effect of linalool another common terpene in weed. Linalool, just like alpha-pinene may reduce anxiety and depression. 

It’s believed that alpha-pinene is able to carry out these effects because it’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier. According to a 2021 review, there are a number of potential neurotransmitters that it targets such as GABAA  and ChAT. 

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This review also mentioned another effect that no other source mentioned, sedation. Yes, this terpene may help with insomnia just like linalool. 

Benefits of alpha-pinene

Alpha-pinene has tons of other potential benefits. While there is not a lot of research about what this terpene does in weed, it’s believed that it does have some positive effects due to its presence. 

The 2021 review says, “α-pinene and β-pinene are the prominent terpenes in many C. sativa L. chemovars. For example, one study reported average α-pinene and β-pinene concentrations of 15 and 21% across 17 hemp varieties.”

Therapeutic Potential of α- and β-Pinene: A Miracle Gift of Nature lists some of the potential effects and benefits. For example, they mentioned that alpha-pinene is said to have antitumor antimalarial effects and cause antibiotic resistance modulation. In addition to that it can be:

  • Anticoagulant 
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Analgesic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antioxidant

Other sources have mentioned other benefits. DeBacco University lists pinene as a bronchodilator which means it improves airflow to the lungs and therefore could help asthma. However, we doubt you’ll get that benefit by firing up a blunt since smoke is known to irritate the lungs.

Terpene Guide to Pinene

Interestingly, the 2021 review we mentioned earlier agrees that this terpene relieves pain, to be more specific it mentioned migraine and neuropathic pain. Interestingly, marijuana is believed to help with both neuropathic pain and migraines. Could this terpene be part of the reason? Maybe!

Besides neuropathic pain and migraines, alpha-pinene may be able to help with other conditions. The 2021 review says that even though well-designed clinical trials are lacking, existing data suggest that pinene (and linalool) can help with the treatment of:

  • Stroke
  • Ischemia
  • Cognitive impairment (relevant to Alzheimer’s disease and aging)
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Weed Strains with Alpha Pinene

If you’re looking to feel the effects of alpha-pinene in your bong, blunt, or vape, you can opt for some strains high in pinene. Ethos Cannabis says, “You may find that strains high in pinene support an energetic, euphoric, or creative cannabis experience.”

Here are some weed strains with alpha pine according to Lab Effects and DeBacco University:

  • Jack Herer
  • Dutch Treat
  • OG Kush
  • Blue Dream
  • ChemDawg
  • Trainwreck
  • Romulan
  • Island Sweet Skunk
  • Strawberry Cough
  • Bubba Kush
  • Big Smooth
  • Cannatonic
  • Cotton Candy Kush
  • Kosher Tangie
  • Remedy
  • Jack Herer
  • God’s Gift


The alpha-pinene terpene effects are plentiful and mostly positive as far as we can tell. Not only does this terpene provide effects such as reducing pain and improving focus and memory. It’s believed that these effects are possible because of the terpene’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. If you smoke a blunt with a weed strain high in this terpene, chances are you’ll get an uplifting high. There are tons of strains high in alpha-pinene such as OG Kush. We recommend getting your marijuana product from a trusted source for safety reasons and to ensure you’re getting what you paid for in terms of terpene content. There is so much potential with this terpene in the medical field and we’re looking forward to seeing more research. 


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].