Terpene Spotlight: Pinene

Pinene is the most common terpene found in the plant world, possibly because it’s a natural insect repellant. (Although it doesn’t repel all insects — olive flies use it as an aphrodisiac.) Unsurprisingly, it has a very piney aroma, making it easy to identify.

Medicine Box // December 7, 2016

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.” – John Muir

“The gelotophyllis grows in Bactria and along the Borysthenes. If this be taken in myrrh and wine all kinds of phantoms beset the mind, causing laughter which persists until the kernels of pine nuts are taken with pepper and honey in palm wine.” – Pliny the Elder

Pinene is the most common terpene found in the plant world, possibly because it’s a natural insect repellant. (Although it doesn’t repel all insects — olive flies use it as an aphrodisiac.) Unsurprisingly, it has a very piney aroma, making it easy to identify. As the quote from Pliny shows, people have been using pinene for centuries. There’s anecdotal evidence that it can ease a high that’s too intense and relieve the paranoia some people experience when using cannabis. On its own, pinene has been shown to increase alertness, focus, and energy, but those effects can be diminished or canceled out by the presence of myrcene.


Therapeutic Uses of Pinene

Cannabis Strains High in Pinene

  • Blue Dream
  • ChemDawg
  • Jack Herer
  • Dutch Treat
  • Romulan
  • Island Sweet Skunk
  • OG Kush
  • Strawberry Cough
  • Bubba Kush
  • Trainwreck

Other Sources of Pinene

  • Conifer trees and pine needles
  • Pine nuts
  • Orange peels
  • Rosemary
  • Dill
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Black pepper.

Pinene as a Functional Ingredient

It is possible to make a healthy alternative to the sugar and carbohydrate-laden energy bars that line grocery store shelves. You can pair Sour Diesel, a high energy Sativa, with the energy-rich nuts and seeds. It can also be added pinene-rich black pepper to the bars you made to balance out the flavor profile and give it that uplifting boost that pinene offers. The healthy fats from the nuts and seeds combined with the cannabis and the pinene make it a great snack.

They can kill pain, promote alertness, and keep you going for several hours at stretch.

Image credit: Martha Stewart

Pine Nut Cookies with Rosemary

From Martha Stewart.


  • 3 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, plus more for topping cookies
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Finely chop rosemary in a food processor. Add pine nuts; pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in 2 cups flour, the baking soda, ginger, and salt; set aside.
  2. Put butter and granulated sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Mix in oil. Reduce speed to low. Mix in flour mixture. Add cream; mix until well combined, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg, then remaining 1/4 cup flour.
  3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls, and space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with fingers, and top each with a pine nut. Sprinkle with sanding sugar.
  4. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, about 13 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on sheets on wire racks. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.

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