What is Limonene?
Limonene is a monoterpenoid and one of two major compounds formed from pinene. As the name suggests, varieties high in limonene have strong citrusy smells like oranges, lemons and limes. Strains high in limonene promote a general uplift in mood and attitude. This citrusy terpene is the major constituent in citrus fruit rinds, rosemary, juniper and peppermint, as well as in several pine needle oils. Limonene is highly absorbed by inhalation and quickly appears in the bloodstream. Clinical studies have shown that it assists in the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and other body tissue.
What is D-Limonene?
The terpene d-limonene, more commonly known as limonene, is one of the most abundant terpenes found in cannabis. As its name implies, it’s also found in high concentrations in citrus peels such as oranges and lemons. It is “generally recognized as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And limonene is a common additive in cosmetics, food, and cleaning products.
Improves cholesterol and blood sugar
Multiple health benefits of limonene have been supported by research. A 2013 study examined the effects of limonene on mice who were fed a high-fat diet. The study found limonene decreased the size of fat cells, lowered triglyceride levels, and lowered bad (LDL) cholesterol. Limonene also lowered fasting blood sugar levels and prevented fat from accumulating in the livers of the mice.
An anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
In a 2017 study, scientists administered limonene to rats with a chemically-induced ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the large intestine). The results suggested disease activity and damage to the lining of the large intestine were greatly reduced by limonene. In addition to the anti-inflammatory effects on the large intestine, disease-suppressing antioxidant levels in the blood had increased.
Helps skin heal
Research also indicates limonene can help with skin healing. A 2014 animal study examined the effects of limonene on chemically-induced skin lesions in mice. The study found that limonene demonstrated “significant anti-inflammatory effects” on skin inflammation and wound healing.
Without proper nutrition, adequate physical activity, and stress avoidance or reduction, healthy aging is much less likely. A study published in 2014 examined the effects of limonene on stress reduction in rodents. Researchers found that rats administered limonene by mouth displayed fewer signs of stress and maintained better activity. The study concluded in addition to its anti-inflammatory effects, limonene as a dietary supplement appears to be beneficial in stress reduction.
Ongoing research on terpenes continues to reveal more about the ways these important cannabis compounds work with the body to promote health. This research is also revealing the therapeutic properties of limonene and its ability to support the effectiveness of other key cannabis compounds.
Yu L et al; D-limonene exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in an ulcerative colitis rat model via regulation of iNOS, COX-2, PGE2 and ERK signaling pathways; Molecular Medicine Reports; 2017 Apr; 15(4): 2339-2346.
Jing L et al; Preventive and ameliorating effects of citrus D-limonene on dyslipidemia and hyperglycemia in mice with high-fat diet-induced obesity; European Journal of Pharmacology; 2013 Sep; 715(1-3): 46-55.
d’Alessio P et al; Skin repair properties of d-Limonene and perillyl alcohol in murine models; Anti-inflammatory and Anti-allergy Agents in Medicinal Chemistry; 2014 Mar; 13(1): 29-35.
d’Alessio P et al; Anti-stress effects of d-limonene and its metabolite perillyl alcohol; Rejuvenation Research; 2014 Apr; 17(2): 145-149.
Dr. Wright Penniman M.D. is a board certified family physician with 15 years of clinical experience and 4 years of experience as a medical director with a major health insurance company.
Article written by Dr. Wright Penniman M.D.
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