Citrus Fruits, Olive Oil, Chinese Bayberry
Sweet, Citrus, Woody, Herbaceous
Alertness, Elevated Mood
This is the 14th installment in our weekly series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes,” published every Monday. For more information, read the introduction to this series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes: A Guide For Medical Marijuana Patients.”
Valencene gets its name from the place it’s most commonly found, Valencia oranges. Its sweet, citrusy aromas and flavors can be reminiscent of oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and occasionally of fresh herbs or freshly cut wood. The fragrant sesquiterpene is responsible for familiar citrus aromas frequently found in a variety of cannabis strains including Sour Diesel, Tangie and Agent Orange.
Mood elevation and euphoria are typical effects of cannabis strains high in valencene, and the terpene also promotes cognitive function and aids with alertness.
While it’s not as popular or as well-researched as limonene, another terpene commonly found in citrus fruits, researchers are taking an active interest in valencene, as it has demonstrated interesting potential in the field of medicine. The molecule has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties and anti-allergic activity. It also has the potential to combat sun damage to the skin and can improve the effectiveness of certain chemotherapy drugs.
A 2017 paper published within the journal Molecules documents a study that tested the effects of numerous terpenes found within the essential oil of Myrica rubra on the efficacy of the chemotherapy drug Doxorubicin. The essential oil of this plant includes the terpenes caryophyllene, humulene, trans-nerolidol, and valencene. The terpenes tested in this study were found to improve the drug’s efficacy in both sensitive and partly resistant cancer cell lines.
A 2016 paper published within the Journal of Natural Products reports on the skin-protecting properties of valencene. UV rays from the sun can cause inflammation and pigment changes due to the depth of penetration of the skin. This can lead to skin wrinkling and melanogenesis. The researchers tested valencene melanoma cells and found that the terpene may have therapeutic effects on UV-induced photoaging.
A 2011 paper published within the journal Archives of Pharmacal Research discusses the anti-allergic activity of terpenes found within the rhizomes of the plant species Cyperus rotundus, including valencene. It was found that these terpenes, with valencene displaying the highest inhibitory effects, exhibited anti-allergic effects in mice.
One aspect that appears to have been particularly well-studied is its potential as an insecticide. It’s one of the building blocks of nootkatone, an insecticide that is so safe that it’s an approved food additive. On its own, it kills mosquitos and repels ticks at a rate that is actually slightly more effective than DEET.
Other sources of valencene include Chinese, bayberry, citrus fruits, olive oil, and of course, Valencia oranges. The terpene is commonly used in the manufacture of cleaning and pest control products, and due to its aromatic profile it is also used in the formulation of cosmetics, and personal care products.
Understanding individual terpene characteristics can play a key factor in selecting the ideal strain. Whether inhaled or used aromatically or topically, valencene can be a key component in the broad spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids that maximize the therapeutic effects cannabis may provide. Feel free to email us to assist with any questions you may have.