hops growing on a vine

Humulene Terpene: Smell, Taste, Strains, & More

When it comes to the aromas of cannabis, humulene is one of the top contributing terpenes found in many strains. It provides an earthy-scented foundation that other terpenes can build upon to create a complete profile of scents cannabis enthusiasts enjoy both before and after their cannabis is consumed. 

In this guide, we’ll dive into this interesting terpene and talk about:

  • What is Humulene?
  • What Does Humulene Smell Like?
  • What Does Humulene Taste Like?
  • Where Else Can You Find Humulene?
  • What Strains Are High in Humulene?
  • FAQs About Humulene

What is Humulene?

Humulene has a few names—alpha-caryophyllene or α-caryophyllene and alpha humulene or α-humulene. It’s a specific type of terpene found on the flower bud, in the trichomes, and on the leaves of certain varieties of cannabis (and other) plants. 

While we know that terpenes like humulene can give marijuana a distinct aroma—in this case, woodsy, herbaceous and spicy—we also now know that terpenes can also contribute to the entourage effect.This means that humulene is one of the myriad of reasons you feel the effects you feel when consuming marijuana. It’s also why your experience may be unique to someone else’s.

Humulene is being studied for a variety of different reasons, but in human trials, we don’t have enough research to know if there are any clinical benefits to this terpene. That being said, we do know it’s been proven to be effective as an all-natural insect repellent.

Learn more about these incredible compounds in our What are Terpenes guide.

What Does Humulene Smell Like?

When you first smell the humulene terpene, you might notice the scent is familiar, especially if you’ve ever been around beer. This is because humulene was first discovered in the essential oils of the hops plant, and it gives beer its hoppy flavor. In cannabis, humulene takes a back seat to other terpenes in that strain’s profile. This is why you may not always be able to smell it even if a strain has humulene in it. 

What Does Humulene Taste Like?

In general, humulene has an earthy aroma with a slightly spicy, peppery flavor.

Where Can You Find Humulene?

In marijuana plants, you can most often find humulene in sativa strains. But humulene exists in non-cannabis plants as well.

Chances are you might even have some in your kitchen and not know it. Humulene can be found in the basil on your window sill, in the black pepper in your pepper mill, and in a variety of other herbs on your spice rack, including coriander, clove, and sage. Beyond your kitchen staples, humulene is found in plants like ginger and even in the balsam fir tree. And of course, don’t forget where we first found it: the hops plant.


What Strains are Heavy in Humulene?

Some strains of marijuana have more humulene in them than others. If you’re interested in the scent of humulene or in its effect when consumed, these strains are a good place to find it:

ATF aka Alaskan Thunder F***

Sativa-Dominant Hybrid

While no one is 100% certain where this strain actually came from, it has definitely been enjoyed by cannabis enthusiasts in Alaska for over 40 years. This sativa-leaning hybrid is popular for its mid-range potency (15.6% THC) and its rich scents and flavors, which are primarily earthy and woodsy, thanks to the linalool, myrcene, caryophyllene, and of course, humulene present in the strain.

Girl Scout Cookies or GSC

Indica-Domiant Hybrid

This strain was created in 2012 and combines OG Kush with the breeder’s F1 Durban Poison strain. GSC is an indica-dominant hybrid, but it has a strong sativa component. It contains about 2.45% humulene and a moderately high THC potency of 19%. Because of its popularity, Girl Scout Cookies is available in most dispensaries. 

Sour Diesel or Sour D or Sour Deez

Sativa-Domiant Hybrid

Sour Diesel is a sativa strain created by crossing the strains Chemdawg and Super Skunk. This strain gets its name because it smells like diesel fuel. It contains about 1% humulene.

FAQs About Humulene

Curious about humulene? Here are a few of the most common questions we get about this terpene.

Is humulene common in cannabis?
Yes, humulene is one of the top terpenes in many cannabis strains.

What does humulene do?
Humelene contributes to the entourage effect, which is the overall cannabis experience.

Where can you find humulene?
In addition to finding humulene in cannabis, this terpene is hops, basil, black pepper, coriander, clove, and sage.

Experience Humulene in Cannabis

If you’re interested in experiencing humulene, bring this list with you to your local dispensary. Chances are good that they’ll have one of these strains in stock, or they’ll be able to point you to a different strain with similar terpene profiles.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.