Alpha-Pinene, One of the Most Commonly Occurring Terpenes on Earth, Smells Like a Christmas Tree and Boasts Therapeutic Uses

Here are five evergreen-fresh strains that can lead from everything to heady, couch-locking highs to a euphoria-inducing motivation to work out.

Alpha-pinene is the most prevalent type of terpene in both nature and cannabis. It adds aroma to citrus rinds, kitchen herbs and all manner of essential oils. Alpha-pinene also perfumes our evergreen-covered pocket of the Willamette Valley, including those expired curbside Christmas trees that—if you’re anything like me—currently spark a daily desire for piney AF cultivars.

Olfactory stimulation aside, alpha-pinene boasts a robust catalog of therapeutic uses, including anti-inflammatory and tumor-reduction properties as well as antimicrobial and bronchodilation benefits. In other words, it’s a respiration-supporting fungus fighter. In addition, and possibly most appropriate for this epoch, both alpha- and beta-pinene are neuroprotectants that, as part of an entourage with cannabinoids, are an effective antidepressant for many cannabis users.

Beyond its coniferous scent, pinene can be described as stank, verdant, bracing, herbaceous, grassy or any combination of those adjectives. The smell hits differently for everyone, just like the first chest-expanding lungful of mountain air. Here are five pinene-prominent cultivars to launch your own low-stakes, evergreen-inspired explorations of the widely available terpene.

Nightmare Cookies

Despite a somewhat unfortunate name, Nightmare Cookies is a reportedly powerful, euphoric strain, and not at all a bad dream. Bred from a lineage that includes White Moonshine, Blue Dream and perennial favorite Girl Scout Cookies, Nightmare Cookies delivers a much mellower buzz than its name implies, but interested parties should still prepare for a swooning high that’s cashmere soft in the body and neon psychedelic in the head.

This hybrid has the genetics of a sativa but, most often, users report this high as a couch-locking buzz with a heady onset. The psychotropic effects are potent, so users should party with this strain in a comfort zone. Expect a dry, acrid pine nose and a sweet, herbal pine exhale.

FIND IT: Rose Budz PDX, 2410 N Mississippi Ave., 503-208-3955, rosebudzpdx.com.

Elephant Ears

A cross of Dogwalker OG and Grease Monkey, Elephant Ears is another hybrid with effects that overwhelmingly skew indica. This cultivar delivers a super-spacey, ultra-relaxing high that manages to balance giggly euphoria with cool complacency. Expect a funky pine perfume with diesel undertones and a sweet, botanical exhale.

This cultivar is known for being an effective treatment for chronic stress, pain and fatigue. Pro tip: In my own experience, after a dab of Elephant Ears, a heroic measure of munchies will creep up slowly as the heavy-lidded, wide-grinned high evaporates. Prepare your pantry accordingly.

FIND IT: Lemonnade PDX, 6218 NE Columbia Blvd., 971-279-2337.

Garlic Sherbet

Garlic Sherbet reportedly delivers a focused, energetic high that vibrates at a very mellow frequency. Users overwhelmingly describe uplifting, buzzy effects that feel well suited for activities that require a smooth, velvety energy level and a clear, rose-tinted head high. This is an exceptional wake-and-bake strain, but fair warning: This cultivar is often bred with expert-only levels of THC (typically above 25%). Expect an acerbic pine aroma with undertones of sweet berries and sour fruit.

FIND IT: Bridge City Collective, 215 SE Grand Ave., 503-477-9532, bridgecitycollective.com.

Lemon Pepper

Another buzzy, energetic cultivar lauded for the productive highs it delivers, Lemon Pepper is a cross of Lemon Cooler and Lemon Pebbles. Perfumed as expected with notes of citrus for a summery inhale, the effects are generally described as fizzy and uplifting, with an undercurrent of cool that keeps the high grounded. Chatterbox vibes and manageable euphoria are highlights and, as such, users have also reported it is an effective treatment for social anxiety. Personally, a dab of Lemon Pepper has been, on occasion, my primary workout motivation. Your results, of course, may vary

FIND IT: Potland, 503-432-8629, thepotland.co.

White Hot Guava

My personal fave from the pinene catalog is White Hot Guava, a cultivar with a nuanced, complex terp profile that, for me, delivers a tightly focused, gently energetic high (that incidentally pairs perfectly with an equally complex cup of coffee or tea). This strain’s lineage includes Guava Diesel and White Hashplant but is often cultivated as a Kush phenotype. Either way, the THC averages around 25%, making this a phenotype best suited for the stash boxes of heavier stoners. Expect a skunky-funky pine perfume and a sweet diesel exhale.

FIND IT: Serra, 220 SW 1st Ave., 971-279-5613, shopserra.com.