Cedrene Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Cendrene is a sesquiterpene with a fresh, subtly woody aroma, typically found in the essential oil of cedar. Cedrene is a versatile terpene. Essential oils containing cedrene have been tested for astringent, antispasmodic, and anti-tumor properties. Cedrene is also being used as an effective mosquito repellant.

What is cedrene?

As the root of its name would imply, cedrene is a natural ingredient in the essential oil of cedar,  also called cedarwood. The oil is typically made by distilling the wood of juniper and cypress trees and has been used for a variety of purposes for centuries. Rather than tapping into juniper and cypress trees, the ancient civilizations of the Middle East derived their oil directly from the cedar tree. Native to the mountains of the eastern Mediterranean basin, Cedrus libani is the scientific name for the cedar tree that is also the national symbol of Lebanon. The ancient Sumerians used cedarwood oil as a base for paints. The ancient Egyptians harvested the oil for various practical applications including as an insecticide. In modern times, cedarwood oil may still serve this purpose as a pesticide as well as a fragrance booster in aromatherapy candles and sprays.

Cedrene in everyday life

Wherever you have encountered cedarwood oil, whether wafting from a cologne or a dining room table, you have also experienced cedrene. Everyday personal products such as  deodorant and shampoo may contain cedarwood oil for pure aroma or for its possible antiseptic effects on the skin. In holistic medicine, cedarwood oil has a tremendous spectrum of usages.

Some holistic health practitioners claim that cedarwood oil may promote hair growth or stimulate the scalp through massage. Healing acne, relieving congestion, disinfecting wounds, and fighting restless leg syndrome are myriad ways this aromatherapy oil has been explored in alternative medicine.

Cedarwood oil's utility extends beyond the medical world to its role as an emerald clarifier and scent enhancer of furniture. However, unlike other terpenes such as caryophyllene, which is a dietary cannabinoid, cedrene as part of cedarwood oil is not safe for ingestion.

Therapeutic properties of cedrene

Much of the research on cedrene's therapeutic properties involves the terpene's presence in the oil of cedarwood and similar trees.


Although human studies are lacking, there are some proponents of cedarwood oil as an effective astringent. Like other astringents, such as apple cider vinegar and witch hazel, cedarwood oil is presented as a toner and tightener in some skin-care products. Apple cider vinegar, though, may be the preferred astringent for facial application as it is safe and even beneficial when swallowed, as opposed to toxic witch hazel and cedarwood oil.


One study found that the combination of cedrol and cedrene in plants has antibacterial and anti-tumor effects. However, these effects were not observed with cedrene alone.


When it comes to the anti-tumor potential of cedrene, two studies on essential oils containing cedrene have found promise in killing tumor cells in human tissue and have the potential to be used as a natural component in cancer-fighting medicines.  

Role of cedrene in cannabis

As an aromatherapy enricher, cedrene contributes its light, woodsy scent to the overall cannabis bouquet. Additional research on cedrene's role in cannabis would be helpful in identifying the terpene's prospective medical benefits.

Bottom line

Most commonly found in cedarwood oil, cedrene has a rich history in the Middle East and may offer remedies as an anti-tumor agent and astringent.

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.