Molecular Mass: 204.35106 g/mol
Boiling Point: 198 °C (388 °F)
Vapor Pressure: 0.01 mmHg ( 25 °C)
LD50 (Lethal Dose): Unknown (Compare to Nicotine: for rats – 50 mg/kg, for humans – 0.5-1 mg/kg)
Humulene is one of the predominant terpenes in Humulus Lupulus, common hops, from which it gets its name; it’s also found in cannabis, sage, and ginseng. Humulene is also commonly called Î±-humulene or Î±-caryophyllene. While humulene is related to Î²-caryophyllene it is a different isomer with distinct properties, and it has yet to be recognized as a dietary cannabinoid. Like caryophyllene, humulene is a sesquiterpene made of three isoprene units, but it does not contain a cyclobutane ring.
Humulene is like most other cannabinoids and terpenes in that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and an analgesic. It also displays anti-cancer properties. Humulene is unique because, like THCv, it acts as an appetite suppressant, making it promising for weight loss treatments.
Analgesic: Relieves pain.
Antibacterial: Slows bacterial growth.
Anti-inflammatory: Reduces inflammation systemically.
Anti-Proliferative: Inhibits cancer cell growth.
Anorectic: Appetite suppressant, promotes weight loss.
Currently Being Studied For
Anti-Bacterial: The anti-bacterial properties of humulene have long been known and used in folk medicines but little research has been done to verify the claims. This 2006 study looked at the essential oil of balsam fir trees and found that humulene was one of the compounds in the oil which fought bacterial infections.
Anti-Inflammatory: This 2007 study found that the anti-inflammatory properties of humulene were comparable to dexamethasone, a steroidal anti-inflammatory. A 2008 study from Brazil found that humulene possessed both topical and systemic anti-inflammatory properties, and also found it to be an antinociceptive, meaning it also has analgesic properties. This 2009 study looked closer at the anti-inflammatory properties of humulene and found them to be quite notable and present when taken either orally or by aerosol. When this research is taken as a whole, humulene seems to be a powerful anti-inflammatory in all forms tested, whether topical or internal.
Cancer: The anti-cancer properties of humulene were first highlighted in this 2003 study, which suggests it may have to due with humulene’s ability to produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). ROS have various roles in cancer, contributing to the death of cancer cells through apoptosis at some levels; although at other levels ROS can actually increase the growth rate of tumors. Both ROS maximizing and ROS minimizing approaches have been developed and are commonly used, though ROS maximizing strategies seem to be more common. A wonderful demonstration of the entourage effect can be seen in this 2007 study, which showed that Î²-caryophylleneÂ potentiates the anti-cancer effects of humulene.
Interleukin-8 Secretion: In this 2004 study, humulene was shown to increase the rate of Interleukin-8 (IL-8) secretion. IL-8 is a chemokine (a signaling protein) secreted by human cells which has various functionsÂ in the body. One major role of IL-8 is promoting angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the process where blood cells split to form new ones, and is also is a core component in cancer, specially the transition from benign to malignant tumors. The greater the level of angiogenesis, the faster the cancer grows, so generally angiogenesis is inhibited to fight cancer. It is possible that these effects on angiogenesis are tied in to humulene’s ability to promote ROS production, which also has effects on angiogenesis. More research is required to know for certain.