Cannabis Terpenes and Their Effect on Appetite and Metabolism

July 22, 2023

Did you know that cannabis plants have some hidden advantages that most people don't know about? That's because research on this plant used to be restricted, but things are changing now. Our ancestors actually used cannabis for its health benefits, and it turns out it can be really good for our bodies and minds.

Cannabis has more than a hundred different chemical compounds, and about 60 of them are called cannabinoids. These chemicals interact with our body's own endocannabinoid system, which helps with healing and fighting diseases. So, cannabis can actually be used as medicine!

Now, there's this group of compounds in cannabis called terpenes, and they're the reason why cannabis has that distinct smell. But guess what? Terpenes might have some medicinal properties too! Let's dig a little deeper and see how they can affect our appetite and metabolism.

Understanding Terpenes

Terpenes are the natural chemicals responsible for the flavors and smells of plants, including the cannabis plant. They are produced in special cells called Glandular Trichomes within the cannabis plant. You'll find the highest amount of terpenes in the unfertilized female flowers of cannabis, but their levels gradually decrease as the plant matures.

Interestingly, terpenes are not just found in cannabis; they are also present in essential oils from different plants like conifers and citrus trees. Even certain insects like termites and swallowtail butterflies have terpenes in them! The good news is that these compounds are considered safe for us to consume, and they are listed on the FDA's "generally recognized as safe" list. You can check this list if you want to learn more about specific terpenes.


Terpenes work in a similar way to compounds like CBD in our bodies. They attach to specific receptors and can have positive effects on us. When using cannabis for medicinal reasons, strains that have more CBD are often preferred over ones with high levels of THC.

Terpenes can dissolve in fats and can actually improve our mood. They can increase the activity of norepinephrine, which is a chemical that helps us feel more alert and focused. They can also enhance the effects of gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps reduce anxiety, and boost dopamine activity, which can make us feel good.

You might know that THC can make people feel hungry, but some terpenes in cannabis have the opposite effect, they can actually decrease appetite. One of these compounds is THCV, which acts as an appetite suppressant. Another terpene called "Humulene" is also known to limit hunger.

There are over 200 different types of terpenes in the cannabis plant. In the next part, we'll talk about some of these terpenes and what they can do.

Terpene Effect on Appetite

According to a study, individuals who regularly use cannabis tend to have a lower body weight compared to non-users. While there could be multiple reasons for this, certain terpenes have shown potential in benefiting appetite and metabolism. If you are looking to lose weight, here are a few terpenes worth considering:

  • Humulene is a natural terpene with earthy characteristics that can be highly beneficial as an appetite suppressant. It plays a role in weight loss by reducing hunger pangs. Additionally, humulene has been found to possess other potential properties such as anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, anti-bacterial, and anti-tumor effects. Apart from cannabis Sativa strains, humulene is naturally present in clove and basil. As a sesquiterpene, it is often combined with B-caryophyllene to create a potent anti-inflammatory remedy. 

Related article: How to avoid munchies while high? 7 Helpful Tips & 9 healthy Munchies

  • Limonene, a fruity and citrusy terpene, emits a pleasant aroma reminiscent of oranges and lemons. It is considered non-toxic and does not produce adverse effects on the body. This citrus-scented terpene possesses anti-bacterial properties, effectively inhibiting the growth of bacteria and fungi. Additionally, limonene is abundant in antioxidants, making it suitable for addressing obesity concerns and supporting weight loss. Furthermore, it has been associated with immunity enhancement, improved gallbladder health, anticancer effects, and reduced anxiety levels. 

  • Camphene is a type of scent that smells like camphor. It can be found in natural sources like rosemary, lavender, ginger, and citronella. Camphene is mostly found in cannabis indica strains and has properties that can fight bacteria and reduce inflammation. It may also be helpful for managing cardiovascular diseases. Studies  show that camphene can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body, making it a potential option for improving lipid levels.

Terpenes and Metabolism

When the body is in balance, it functions properly. As mentioned earlier, terpenes activate receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the human body called CB1 and CB2. The ECS is important for supporting the immune system, regulating brain signaling, and maintaining functions like heart rate, temperature, and breathing. Studies have shown that the ECS also helps regulate food intake and energy metabolism.

When our body's endocannabinoid system (ECS) doesn't produce enough natural substances, it needs help. Terpenes or CBD from cannabis can support the ECS in producing the necessary hormones. When the ECS is imbalanced, it disrupts the body's balance, which affects our metabolism and makes it weaker.

Related article: 4 Reasons Why I Exercise While High

Terpenes found in cannabis bind to these receptors and offer significant benefits to human health. These chemicals have an impact on the body's balance, known as homeostasis. By influencing the endocannabinoid system (ECS) or neuroendocrine system, terpenes help the body produce the required hormones to maintain its balance.

Different terpenes have different benefits. Apart from limonene, camphene, and humulene, there are other terpenes like myrcene (reduces inflammation), alpha bisabolol (fights bacteria), borneol (helps with sleep problems), linalool (improves brain function), terpineol (cleanses toxins), and more. The pineapple express, a type of cannabis that is high in Sativa, can provide energy and potentially help with chronic pain, depression, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

In summary, terpenes are essential for the body to maintain balance and improve metabolism. A simple way to naturally intake terpenes is by taking a walk in a local forest or park and enjoying the aromas through aromatherapy.

Get Your Weekly Dose of Green

Subscribe for Exclusive Cannabis News, Weekly Deals, and the Industry's Latest Tech and Innovations!