Delta 3-Carene


Delta 3-carene is a tepene commonly found in plants such as cannabis, basil, rosemary and cedar. Terpenes such as delta 3-carene are organic compounds that give the plant its flavour and aroma profile as well working to deter herbivores and attract pollinators. They also have the ability increase cellular permeability and augment absorption of other compounds (1,9).


Delta 3-carene has been found in the literature to increase bone density and promote bone healing. It has been shown to significantly stimulate the activity and expression of alkaline phosphatase, an early phase marker of osteoblastic differentiation. In one paper, on day 15 of differentiation it dramatically increased the induction of calcium in a dose dependent manner. The increase in bone healing and density may be attributed to the activation of mitogen activated protein kinases and the transcript levels of osteoblast mineralization related genes such as osteopontin and type 1 collagen (2).


Other than its bone healing properties, delta 3-carene has been shown to have the ability to draw-out fluids. This effect makes delta 3-carene potentially useful in targetting excess mucus production.

Delta 3-carene at doses greater than 1g has been demonstrated to decrease sleep latency and increase sleep duration (4). At lower doses however, it does not significantly affect sleep but retains an anti-stress effect, and has been demonstrated to significantly inhibit acetylcholinesterase (5). This may make delta 3-carene an effective neuroprotective agent (6), protecting memory and cognition (7).

 Key references:

  • Increased bone density & repair (2)

  • Neuroprotective, protects memory and cognition (5, 6, 7)

  • Antihistamine (8)


1 - Gertsch J, Pertwee RG, Di Marzo V. Phytocannabinoids beyond the Cannabis plant – do they exist? Br J
Pharmacol. 2010; 160:523–9. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00745. x.
2 - Jong-Geun Jeong, Young Sup Kim, Yong Ki Min, Seong Hwan Kim. Low concentration of 3-carene stimulates
the differentiation of mouse osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 subclone 4 cells(2007) Phytotherapy Research Volume 22,
Issue 1
3 - Cavaleiro, C.Pinto, E. Goncalves, M.J. Salgueiro, L. Antifungal activity of Juniperus essential oils against
dermatophyte, Aspergillus and Candida strains (2006) Volume 100, Issue 6, p1333-1338

4 - Woo, J., Yang, H., Yoon, M., Gadhe, C. G., Pae, A. N., Cho, S., & Lee, C. J. (2019). 3-Carene, a phytoncide from pine tree has a sleep-enhancing effect by targeting the GABAA-benzodiazepine receptors. Experimental Neurobiology, 28(5), 593.

5 - Lomarat, P., Sripha, K., Phanthong, P., Kitphati, W., Thirapanmethee, K., & Bunyapraphatsara, N. (2015). In vitro biological activities of black pepper essential oil and its major components relevant to the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Thai Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences (TJPS), 39(3).

6 - Akaike, A., Takada-Takatori, Y., Kume, T., & Izumi, Y. (2010). Mechanisms of neuroprotective effects of nicotine and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors: role of α4 and α7 receptors in neuroprotection. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, 40(1-2), 211-216.

7 - Adsersen, A., Gauguin, B., Gudiksen, L., & Jäger, A. K. (2006). Screening of plants used in Danish folk medicine to treat memory dysfunction for acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 104(3), 418-422.

8 - Patra, J. K., Das, G., Bose, S., Banerjee, S., Vishnuprasad, C. N., del Pilar Rodriguez‐Torres, M., & Shin, H. S. (2020). Star anise (Illicium verum): Chemical compounds, antiviral properties, and clinical relevance. Phytotherapy Research, 34(6), 1248-1267.

9 - Carvajal-Vidal, P., Mallandrich, M., García, M. L., & Calpena, A. C. (2017). Effect of different skin penetration promoters in halobetasol propionate permeation and retention in human skin. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(11), 2475.