For our second edition of Terpenes Talk, we’ll explore Pinene — the second-most abundant terpene in Cream of the Crop strains. Pinene has properties quite different from myrcene, which we covered in the first edition of this column.

What Are Terpenes?

Terpenes are fragrant essential oils secreted by cannabis flower; they influence the smell, taste, and even the effect of marijuana. For a more in-depth look at this amazing component of the cannabis plant, see the first edition of Terpenes Talk. Pinene is important because it is known to counteract the short-term memory loss side effect of THC, making it part of the reason why some strains tend to give a more focused, clear-headed effect.

What is Pinene?

Pinene is one of the most commonly found terpenes in all of nature — it’s found in rosemary, orange peels, basil, parsley, conifer trees, and (of course) pine trees.

Chemically, alpha- and beta-pinene are very similar and thus have a similar effect on the human body. For the average cannabis consumer, you can generally think of alpha- and beta-pinene as belonging to the same general “pinene” terpene family. 

The aroma and taste of pinene is (you guessed it!) piney. You have probably noticed a faint pine smell in a lot of popular cannabis strains, which goes to show just how common pinene is.

Relative to many other terpenes, pinene is well-researched and has notable medicinal applications. It has been found to be an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and to open respiratory airways. It was even found to limit the growth of liver cancer cells

As mentioned above, pinene reportedly gives cannabis strains a more alert, clear-headed effect. This is because of research showing that it is a memory aid, which could counteract the unfortunate side effect of short-term memory loss that is commonly experienced by people consuming high amounts of THC.

Pinene and Cream of the Crop Strains

Nearly all of our Cream of the Crop strains contain pinene. This may influence strains toward an alert, clear-headed high; however, as we learned in the last edition of this column, one terpene alone (even at a high amount) does not necessarily tell you what effect a given strain will have. To this end, let’s compare two Cream of the Crop strains that both contain a high amount of pinene, yet produce different effects. You can find the effect label for each strain on the image below:

Banana Peel

Living up to its name, Banana Peel has an earthy, yet fruity, banana-like scent and flavor that is unmistakable. It tested at very high in beta-pinene, which is, by far, the highest of any of our strains. 

So far, the reviews of Banana Peel suggest that it is indeed a functional, clear-headed, day-time strain. Some reviews indicated that the strain is not quite so functional, which may be due to the very high THC percentage that is not fully counteracted by the pinene present in this strain. Overall, however, we were inclined to give Banana Peel a “Euphoric” effect label.

Chocolate Boysenberry

This uniquely flavored strain contains one of the highest amounts of pinene out of any of our strains, though much lower than Banana Peel.

Feedback on Chocolate Boysenberry is mixed, and for good reason. It contains a high amount of myrcene, which has a sedative effect, but even more pinene. Thus, some reviewers claimed that the strain put them to sleep, while others were highly functional. This is a classic case in which a strain has different effects on different people — and there are terpenes present to support any reviewer’s point of view, whether they believe the strain to be uplifting or better for relaxation and sleep. Given that Chocolate Boysenberry’s abundance of pinene and the opinions of our more experienced reviewers, we gave this strain a “focused” effect label.

Pinene Takeaways

  • Pinene is a well-researched terpene with several medicinally useful applications.

  • It generally appears to give strains a more focused and clear-headed effect because it may counteract the short-term memory loss effect of high doses of THC. 

  • As we learned with myrcene, the presence of pinene does not, on its own, predict the effect you will get from a strain. In high amounts, it is likely to give the effect noted above. However, if the strain has a particularly high amount of THC, or other terpenes with sedative effects are present, the effect of a strain high in pinene may be more difficult to predict.