What Is Alpha-Humulene?

Alpha-humulene is a terpene produced by the cannabis plant that is found in some of our flower strains. This terpene is also commonly referred to as just humulene. Another scientific name for this terpene is alpha-caryophyllene because its molecular structure is closely related to beta-caryophyllene. When humulene and caryophyllene are used together, it is believed to be an effective remedy for inflammation. Humulene on its own has been found to help with cancer, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, and pain. The aroma of humulene is earthy, woody, and herbal, and it is known for giving beer its “hoppy” smell. Alpha-humulene is found in a variety of plants and is an important part of their aroma and therapeutic benefits.

Hops Cone

Where is Alpha-Humulene Found?

The name of this terpene is derived from the hops plant, Humulus lupulus, which makes sense because humulene is commonly found in the cone flower of hops. The hops plant is in the hemp family (Cannabacea), and is related to cannabis. Every variety of hops has a different terpene profile, but they commonly contain humulene and other terpenes present in cannabis such as beta-myrcene, beta-caryophyllene, and linalool. In addition to hops, you can find humulene in sage, cloves, ginseng, coriander, as well as balsam fir. Some of the plants used for Traditional Chinese Medicine and herbal medicine also contain humulene, which has a various therapeutic uses.

Sage Plant

Potential Therapeutic Benefits

Antibacterial and Anti-Biofilm

Biofilms are slimy membranes produced by microorganisms and there is a biofilm in your gut that helps the passage of nutrients. A microorganism called Bacteroides fragilis is responsible for inflammatory bowel disease and it can effect the biofilm. Researchers conducted a study on the antibacterial and antibiofilm effects of alpha-humulene and found it was effective at inhibiting growth of Bacteroides fragilis cells and biofilms.


To learn more about the anti-cancer properties of alpha-humulene, a study was done using cells of hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer. The study found that alpha-humulene was effective at slowing cancer cell growth and it enhanced cancer cell death. Another study tested anti-cancer effects of alpha-humulene in combination with beta-caryophyllene on human tumor cells. The results found that beta-caryophyllene significantly increased the anticancer activity of alpha-humulene.


A study done with the essential oil from a wild sage plant found in Brazil found that alpha-humulene had anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties when used topically and systemically. Another study done with the essential oil from the same wild sage plant found that humulene and caryophyllene together worked effectively as an anti-inflammatory. Lastly, a study done on mice found that alpha-humulene showed anti-inflammatory properties taken both orally and through inhalation.

Strains with Alpha-Humulene

If you’re interested in using a cannabis strain that contains alpha-humulene, check out our menu for available options. The terpenes testing is listed in the strain description for flower, vape, and concentrate products.

Orange Kush Cake
LA Kush Cake
Star Mints


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  • Chen, H., Yuan, J., Hao, J., Wen, Y., Lv, Y., Chen, L., & Yang, X. (2019). Α-humulene inhibits hepatocellular carcinoma cell proliferation and induces apoptosis through the inhibition of Akt signaling. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 134, 110830. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2019.110830
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