carene Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Delta-3-carene is a bicyclic monoterpene found in cannabis with a pungent, sweet-citrus aroma. It is most often valued for its anti-inflammatory and bone-strengthening properties.

What is carene?

Occurring naturally in turpentine, rosemary, and cedar, carene is used as a raw material in various personal products. These include cosmetics, perfumes, and aromatherapy products. Though its presence in these products, as well as cannabis, appears to be largely beneficial, overexposure to carene may irritate the skin, eyes, and lungs.

Carene in everyday life

There's a good chance that you've crossed paths with carene right at your breakfast table. The terpene can be found in the popular morning staples of orange juice and grapefruit juice. This is because the citrusy element in carene's scent also extends to its flavor, which some describe as tasting like fresh pineapple. As a flavor enhancer, carene mixtures may be enjoyed with salads or as an infusion in tea or mineral water. You have also likely encountered carene's sweet aroma if you've ever spritzed on a citrus perfume or cologne. Any citrus peel oil you can imagine, from mandarin to kumquat, likely has a healthy dose of carene as well.

Carene as a potential irritant

Carene has been investigated much more thoroughly as an irritant than as a medicinal substance. As a component of wood dust in industrial settings, carene has been found to cause lung inflammation. High exposure to carene has also been found to irritate the skin and eyes, and may cause chronic pulmonary impairment.

Therapeutic properties of carene

Though further research is needed to identify all of carene's medicinal properties, the terpene has shown the most promise in fighting inflammation and contributing to bone health.   


Carene may be beneficial in the reduction of edema, an inflammatory condition that occurs when the body retains too much water. Edema is a common threat to patients with congestive heart failure and liver failure. Sedentary individuals without the ability to exercise (and thus regulate the circulatory system) also may suffer from edema.

Bone strengthener

In animal and cell-culture models, carene has shown potential to increase improve bone health by increasing mineralization (the incorporation of calcium into bones). Scientists from the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technology discovered that when essential oils containing carene were incorporated into the diets of animals, bone health improved. Scientists remain interested in further studying carene for its potential application as an osteoporosis medication.

Role of carene in cannabis

Arjan's Ultra Haze #2, Super Silver Haze, and Lemon Haze are among the varieties of cannabis that contain carene.The terpene's aromatic profile, which includes both woody and tangy elements, is a likely contributor to the earthy-citrus flavors and aromas typical of these strains.

Bottom line

Whether used in conjunction with cannabis for enjoyment, healing, or both, the range of carene's possible is yet to be fully uncovered. These benefits may be both aesthetic, with the terpene's pleasing aroma, and practical in reducing inflammation and improving bone health. Carene isn't one of the most prominent terpenes found in cannabis, but it's contribution to the physiological effects of the plant make it a significant terpene for further research.

Major contributions from Dr. Adie Rae.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on June 20, 2022.