All About Limonene: d-Limonene, l-Limonene, and Pseudolimonene


Today's Terpene: Limonene

While you may be researching Limonene for a variety of reasons, every single person reading this is actually much more familiar with Limonene than they may realize. Limonene is not just a terpene in cannabis, but is the main terpene constituent in the essential oils of citrus fruit. The vast majority of d-Limonene available commercially is extracted from oranges during the production of orange juice. As a matter of fact, many food grade terpenes like d-Limonene are considered a byproduct of other manufacturing processes. The terpenes in citrus fruit are intentionally removed from the pulp and water that we drink in our morning glass of OJ. 

Limonene terpene formula

While many prefer Limonene in their cannabis or hemp oils, it is also used for a remarkably wide range of other applications. One of the number one uses of Limonene commercially is as a renewable cleaning solvent. That's right, Limonene is remarkable natural alternative to harsh cleaning chemicals and can be used to remove sticky resins or adhesives. The sticky residue left after removing tape or a sticker from something can be wiped off with a drop of Limonene and a rag. Perhaps even more interestingly, pure d-Limonene makes for a wonderful "Terp Cleaner" for dirty smoking accessories (Limonene Cleaner Coming Soon). Just as you would with isopropyl alcohol, pour some Limonene and hot water in a dirty piece and with some rinsing and agitation you will see the tar and resin fall right off the glass before your very eyes. The best part? Your piece smells like fresh cut grapefruit after rather than alcohol. Limonene has always been a remarkable solvent for cannabis resins, so much so that we have even explored it's use as an extraction solvent over traditional solvents like butane, ethanol, or propane.

So What is Limonene?

Limonene is a monoterpene and is a major constituent in a wide variety of plant essential oils. Cannabis derived Limonene has been explored in multiple forms. Dextro-limonene, or d-Limonene, is the main form we see it in and is known for a very vibrant, fresh grapefruit smell. Alternatively, laevo-Limonene, or l-Limonene for short, is less-common but can be found in unique cuts and is a major component of Sour Diesel terpenes. L-Limonene is essentially the same chemical as d-Limonene, but this alternate isomer surprisingly smells vastly different than it's counterpart. Limonene is usually though of as citrusy but l-Limonene exhibits an almost piney, turpentine aroma with an ever-so-subtle lemon undertone. While most terpene isomers have just subtle differences in aromas, these two forms of Limonene are totally different smells. Lastly, psuedolimonene is perhaps the most uncommon of the Limonenes that have been observed in cannabis. This chemical is so rare in the plant that most testing facilities do not even have analytical standards to test for it. It may exist in more strains than we are currently aware of for this reason. Pseudolimonene has been linked to a number of skunk strains but only in very low PPM's.

d Limonene is naturally found in lemons

Limonene Effects and Benefits: 

Limonene is believed to promote mental clarity and boost mood, but this is only a theory. The aromatherapy industry has long touted the benefits of Limonene and it is even used by many as a nutritional supplement. However, due to the limited research for these uses of Limonene, we strongly urge readers to do further research before buying Limonene or other terpene products. From an aromatherapy standpoint, the best and most cost-effective source of limonene would be something like blood orange essential oil. In an oil diffuser, orange oils add a pleasant and welcoming citrus aroma. We also carry the limonene terpene isolate in both the d-limonene and l-limonene forms for those looking to add limonene to their own strains. There are many cannabis strains that are high in Limonene, with Sour Diesel, Lemon Pound Cake, Lemon Tree, Tangie, and Mimosa being some of our top picks!