Cannabis Terpenes 101: Delta 3 Carene

byMichael Warford5 minutes

When it comes to cannabis, most people know the plant’s two main active compounds: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But cannabis is an extremely complex plant and contains a lot more than just CBD and THC. Some other active ingredients in cannabis are called terpenes, and they give each marijuana strain its unique taste and smell.

Terpenes have important therapeutic benefits, too, which can be easy to overlook given the amount of attention paid to CBD, THC and other cannabinoids. So, to give terpenes the spotlight they deserve, we’re taking a closer look at cannabis’s many fascinating terpenes.

Here, we’ll focus on one shown to fight inflammation and support bone health: delta 3 carene.

A Closer Look at Cannabis Terpenes

Terpenes are organic compounds located in the oils of all plants, and they’re what give plants their distinctive smell and taste. It’s thanks to terpenes that your nose can smell the difference between a rose and a pineapple.


There are tens of thousands of different terpenes, and scientists have identified more than 100 terpenes in the cannabis plant alone. In marijuana, terpenes are found in the glandular trichomes, which occur on female cannabis plants. These trichomes are easy to identify: They look like hair, fuzz or growth on cannabis flowers or leaves.

In many plants, terpenes are a way of attracting certain animals and warning away others. For humans, terpenes do a lot more than simply allowing our senses to distinguish one plant from the next. They often carry their own medicinal benefits, and in the case of marijuana, they help provide advantages alongside other parts of the cannabis plant.

Delta 3 Carene in Cannabis Produces an Earthy Aroma

Even if you’re new to cannabis, chances are you’ve already encountered delta 3 carene. This terpene is found in a number of well-known plants, including:

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Pine
  • Bell pepper
  • Cedar

A unique feature of delta 3 carene is that its scent and flavour sometimes seem curiously mismatched. While it has an earthy, woodland aroma that’s similar to cedar or fir needles, its taste is far sweeter and more citrusy. And thanks to its pleasant aroma, the perfume industry uses delta 3 carene often.

Delta 3 Carene’s Health Benefits

Scientific evidence suggests delta 3 carene holds a number of health benefits. While more research certainly needs to be done, the studies that have been published so far are very promising:

One study from 2007 conducted on mice found that delta 3 carene may help promote the development of bone formation in people with bone disorders. Specifically, higher delta 3 carene dosages helped boost bone cell generation and stimulated mineralization of the bone.

The researchers noted that adding delta 3 carene to someone’s diet could potentially “have a beneficial effect on bone health.” This means that delta 3 carene could be helpful for folks suffering from bone-related health conditions, such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Meanwhile, in a 2006 study, researchers found that an oil composed of a mix of pinene, which is another terpene also found in cannabis, and delta 3 carene showed antifungal benefits. According to the researchers, the delta 3 carene “was shown to be a fundamental compound” for the oil’s antifungal properties.


Then, a study from 1989 analyzed essential oils that were extracted from plants collected in Granada, Spain, and revealed delta 3 carene’s potential anti-inflammatory benefits. As in the more recent 2006 study, the oils studied contained a mixture of pinene and delta 3 carene. While all of the oils proved effective at treating inflammation, the researchers found that oils especially high in delta 3 carene were particularly useful against acute inflammation.

For those suffering from intense inflammation like a sprained ankle, cut or sore throat, this study suggests that delta 3 carene may provide relief.


Also, an interesting point worth mentioning is that delta 3 carene is responsible for the dry mouth and eyes that many people experience after consuming cannabis. While dry mouth and eyes aren’t exactly a health benefit in most peoples’ minds, it can help if you’re suffering from a runny nose or heavy perspiration.

Which Cannabis Strains Contain the Most Delta 3 Carene?

If you’re looking for a strain that’s high in delta 3 carene, your best choices are:

  • Skunk #1: True to its name, this strain has the earthy aroma that characterizes delta 3 carene. Skunk #1 is a versatile cannabis strain equally good for passing around with a group of friends or for a bit of mid-afternoon relaxation. Skunk #1 also stimulates appetite and reduces nausea.
  • Super Lemon Haze: Delta 3 carene’s citrusy flavour is on full display in this marijuana strain. Super Lemon Haze’s high tends to start off mellow before imparting a burst of energy. This cannabis strain is a great choice to address migraines, sinus pressure relief, depression and chronic fatigue.
  • Super Silver Haze: This is an award-winning marijuana strain with an unmistakable earthy aroma and citrusy taste, thanks to the delta 3 carene. Super Silver Haze is ideal if you’re looking for a calm, euphoric high and a boost of creative energy. People also often turn to Super Silver Haze for pain relief.

Keep in mind when choosing cannabis products that delta 3 carene and other terpenes play a key role in cannabis’s so-called entourage effect. This means they may amplify the effects of other compounds in cannabis, like THC and CBD. In other words, you can thank terpenes, and specifically delta 3 carene for helping you get the full benefits of cannabis whenever you enjoy any of the above strains.

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