Terpenes in Cannabis: Carene


The most abundant isomer of carene found in cannabis and other plants is delta 3 carene. This is also written as d3-carene, D3 carene, δ3-Carene, and 3-δ-Carene. Delta 3 carene is found in the essential oils of basil, bell pepper, cedar, pine (turpentine), rosemary, and of course cannabis.

Carene has a pungent sweet aroma that reminds one of a piney or cypress woodland but with citrusy notes like you would smell if you scratched the peel of a lemon or tangerine and took a whiff. Carene is said to taste lemony but without quite the sour punch of an actual lemon. It is often used as an insect repellent and an insecticide but one that smells significantly better than DEET and other synthetic insecticides. Carene does not have the side effects of DEET either.

Carene has been reported by many to have remarkable ability to reduce inflammation. For example, people who have flair ups in their joints which affects their ability to work or even walk report that taking cannabis oil with carene can get them going again in less than a day. A 1989 research study published in the journal, Die Pharmazie, proved that delta 3 carene isolated from the fruiting apex of Bupleurum gibraltaricum (an herb often used in ancient Chinese medicine) had very strong anti-inflammatory powers. They showed this by comparing the anti-inflammatory abilities of different populations of Bupleurum gibraltaricum and analyze the amount of delta 3 carene in each population. It turned out that the population highest (by far) in delta 3 carene had the most powerful anti-inflammatory powers on granuloma induced inflammation.

Carene shows great promise in promoting strong bone growth and bone remodeling after an injury or malnutrition. It seems to have great potential in reversing the effects of osteoporosis as well. In a research study publish January 2008 in the journal, Phytotherapy Research, researchers found that very low doses (up to five microliters) of delta 3 carene stimulated bone growth and mineralization. Specifically, they were able to demonstrate the active expression of alkaline phosphatase only nine days after administering alkaline phosphatase. This was an early sign of osteoblastic differentiation (bone cell generation). Furthermore, on day fifteen, the delta 3 carene stimulated the induction of calcium into the bone matrix (mineralization of the bone). Moreover, the rate of this mineralization was dependent on the dosage of delta 3 carene given. This gives hope that the fractures and bone breaks could be accelerated with delta 3 carene and help improve bone mending in older adults where bones often don’t fully mend on their own.
Although the above research study was done with mice, there are many anecdotal stories of people reporting their bones suddenly mending faster when using cannabis oil with high carene or carene oil itself. While it is always important to consider this type of evidence, it is nice to have scientific research that strongly supports these observations.

It should also be mentioned that carene, in association with terpineol, inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). This has the ability to stimulate memory and increase memory retention. This shows great promise for helping those suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease.