The cannabis terpene series: Exploring the therapeutic benefits of phellandrene

What is phellandrene? 

Phellandrene is a terpene that is present in cannabis and other plants, such as eucalyptus. Terpenes such as phellandrene interact with cannabinoids and other compounds in the cannabis plant to enhance its therapeutic benefits. This is known as the entourage effect.

This terpene is composed of two organic compounds, alpha-phellandrene, and beta-phellandrene, which possess slightly different molecular structures and odours. Phellandrene is a secondary terpene in cannabis, which means that it occurs in trace levels that can be difficult to detect. The scent of this unique terpene is often described as woody and minty, with predominant citrus notes.

Did you know?

Alpha and beta-phellandrene were discovered in the early 1900s. Before their discovery, the compounds were often mistaken for limonene and pinene. However, after scientists tested the compounds in eucalyptus oil, they found that phellandrene is composed of two distinct isomeric compounds, instead of just one.

phellandrene terpene

Where else can phellandrene be found?

As well as being found in some cannabis strains, this terpene has also been detected in:

  • Lavender
  • Ginger grass
  • Pine
  • Cinnamon
  • Black pepper
  • Mint


Phellandrene is often used in perfumes and colognes, especially for forest-scented fragrances, thanks to the wood-dominant nature of the terpene’s smell.

What are the health benefits of phellandrene?

Anti-inflammatory properties 

study published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology investigated the anti-inflammatory activity of phellandrene. The study suggested that alpha-phellandrene may have the potential to reduce inflammation which is beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.

Anti-microbial properties 

study published in the Journal of Essential Oil Research investigated the antimicrobial activity of phellandrene extracted from Eucalyptus. The findings indicated that phellandrene demonstrated potent antimicrobial properties against bacteria and fungi, suggesting its potential utility in combating microbial infections.

Antidepressant properties 

study investigated the effects of essential oils from Brazilian Peppertree fruits containing both phellandrene and limonene. The study involved administering either essential oil, limonene, or phellandrene isolate. All three treatment options were found to have antidepressant effects. The results of the study suggest that phellandrene may be effective in reducing the symptoms of depression, as it showed mood-boosting effects similar to those of the essential oil.

Analgesic properties

The same study also revealed that phellandrene exhibited analgesic properties by reducing pain sensitivity. Phellandrene, like other terpenes found in cannabis, may interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating pain perception, among other physiological functions.

Phellandrene cannabis strain

Prescribing the right strain of medical cannabis for you

Patients who are looking to harness the benefits of phellandrene-abundant strains can check their eligibility for medical cannabis here.

At Mamedica, our specialist doctors address the specific needs of each patient through bespoke treatment plans using a variety of cannabis-based prescription medicines (CBPMs).