Antiviral Cannabis Terpenes

Terpenes contribute many of the therapeutic effects of cannabis, and several are suspected to have anti-viral properties! Amid the coronavirus outbreak, I wanted to share which cannabis terpenes have demonstrated antiviral effects in scientific trials.

First, it’s important to note that much of what science and medicine know about antiviral cannabis terpenes comes from studies of the same terpenes derived from non-cannabis sources, like the essential oils of other plants. In almost all cases, we don’t have data to demonstrate efficacy from cannabis. Modern marijuana, as we produce and consume it, may not deliver antiviral cannabis terpenes in significant doses, and may be completely ineffective against coronavirus and other viruses. Let’s catch a buzz and find out!

Ocimene, β-Pinene, & α-Pinene

The most compelling study measured the effectiveness of essential oils specifically on SARS-CoV-1, a close relative of coronavirus. Their findings concluded that “L. nobilis oil exerted an interesting activity against SARS-CoV. This oil was characterized by the presence of beta-ocimene, 1,8-cineole, alpha-pinene, and beta-pinene as the main constituents.” 


α-Pinene is suspected to inhibit the infectious bronchitis virus and has been shown in a separate study to be effective against the herpes simplex virus. It is also a scientifically recognized bronchodilator, meaning that it dilates the bronchi in the lungs, aiding in respiratory issues.

Limonene and β-Pinene 

Some of the strongest evidence of antiviral effectiveness is for Limonene and β-pinene. In one study, “Beta-pinenene and limonenen reduced viral infectivity by 100%. …both monoterpenes exhibited high anti-HSV-1 activity by direct interaction with free virus particles. Both tested drugs interacted with HSV-1 in a dose-dependent manner thereby inactivating viral infection.” HSV-1 refers to the Herpes Simplex Virus. 


In another study, 11 essential oils were “evaluated for anti-influenza (A/WS/33 virus) activity”. Three of the essential oils showed antiviral effectiveness against the strain of influenza. The common element of the three essential oils was Linalool. 

Strains to Find

Some strains that deliver a range of antiviral cannabis terpenes include:

  • OG Kush is high in Linalool, Pinene and Limonene.
  • Strawberry Cough may contain significant quantities of Limonene, Linalool, Ocimene, α-Pinene, and β-Pinene.
  • Orange Cookies may contain higher quantities of Limonene, Linalool, and α-Pinene.
  • Many of the Jack Herer-derived strains are high in Ocimene, Limonene, and Pinene. 
  • Several of the Lemon family of strains contain significant quantities of Ocimene, Limonene, Pinene, and Linalool. 

If you know of other strains with several of the potential antiviral cannabis terpenes, please share them in the comments.