What is Linalool? – Cannabis Terpene

by | Jun 13, 2023 | Tech and Science | 0 comments

Terpenes, the aromatic compounds present in cannabis, were traditionally believed to enhance the plant’s aroma and flavor. However, recent research has highlighted their role in the “entourage effect,” enhancing the physiological advantages of cannabis compared to isolated cannabinoids. Terpenes, including linalool, found in lavender, basil, and indica strains, have been extensively studied for their therapeutic benefits in aromatherapy and their interaction with cannabinoids in the body and brain. This versatile terpene offers numerous therapeutic potentials, making it highly sought after by cannabis enthusiasts.

The Aroma of Linalool:

The aroma of linalool, a common terpene found in cannabis and various other plants, is not exclusive to the cannabis plant. With its distinctive lavender scent and a touch of spiciness, linalool can be detected in more than 200 plant species. Surprisingly, even individuals who don’t use cannabis consume approximately two grams of linalool annually through everyday foods, including fruits and spices. Fortunately, the consumption of linalool in these quantities poses minimal risk of adverse effects.

Aside from its aromatic qualities, linalool has the potential to offer additional benefits. The sense of smell is closely connected to the brain’s emotional and memory centers, implying a cause-and-effect relationship between the pleasant floral scent of linalool (cause) and a relaxed and improved mood (effect). Although the olfactory sensation likely plays a role, recent research indicates that terpenes, including linalool, can directly impact brain function by influencing the behavior of brain cells.

Cannabis Strains Containing Linalool:

While linalool is not commonly found in high concentrations in cannabis strains, there are a few strains where it plays a significant role, either as the primary, secondary, or tertiary terpene. However, linalool typically ranks lower in a strain’s terpene profile compared to more abundant terpenes like myrcene and limonene.

Cannabis strains rich in linalool are often associated with indica-dominant genetics, known for their relaxing effects on both the mind and body. These effects may include feelings of tranquility, sleepiness, and an increased appetite, commonly referred to as the “munchies.”

Here are some cannabis strains that feature linalool:

  1. Mazar I Sharif
  2. Do-Si-Dos
  3. Wedding Mints #13
  4. Scooby Snacks
  5. Zkittlez

Linalool, found in numerous plants including cannabis, possesses various beneficial properties:

  1. Antimicrobial: Linalool exhibits antimicrobial properties that help protect plants from insects. This characteristic also suggests potential therapeutic applications in combating harmful bacteria and may have served as an early antibiotic, although its historical use in this capacity is uncertain.
  2. Sedative and Muscle Relaxation: Linalool has been utilized in traditional medicine as a sedative and muscle relaxer. Its calming properties make it useful for promoting relaxation and relieving muscle tension. It has also demonstrated anticonvulsant and anti-epileptic effects.
  3. Anxiety and Depression Reduction: Research on mice exposed to linalool vapors has shown a decrease in anxiety levels and reduced depression-like behaviors. Human studies using lavender essential oil, which contains linalool as its main compound, have also demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing anxiety levels based on participant ratings.
  4. Stress Relief and Immune Support: Linalool has been found to enhance the immune system’s resilience against the negative impacts of stress. Stress-induced shifts in white blood cell distribution, such as decreased lymphocytes and increased neutrophils, were prevented in animal studies through linalool administration. It is suggested that linalool’s activation of the parasympathetic response, responsible for promoting relaxation and digestion, may contribute to this protective effect.

Linalool Effects

Linalool affects the brain through various mechanisms, which contribute to its behavioral and therapeutic effects:

  1. Blocking Glutamate Receptors: Linalool has been found to block the receptors for glutamate, the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. This may explain its potential anti-epileptic properties in certain forms of epilepsy.
  2. Enhancing Sedative Effects: Linalool can enhance the effects of sedatives like pentobarbital, potentially contributing to its sedative and calming properties.
  3. Muscle Relaxation and Pain Relief: Linalool reduces the signaling strength of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in muscle contraction. This muscle-relaxing effect may contribute to its therapeutic benefits. Linalool also reduces the excitability of cells in the spinal cord that transmit pain signals, providing potential pain relief. It can elevate adenosine levels, an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which further contributes to its pain-relieving effects.

These effects make linalool beneficial in pain therapy. For example, a study involving obese patients who underwent gastric banding surgery found that inhaling linalool-rich lavender oil vapor reduced the need for postoperative opioid medication. The group exposed to lavender oil had lower rates of opioid use and required less morphine compared to the control group, suggesting that linalool can reduce the need for opioid-based pain treatment after surgery.

Linalool and Alzheimer Disease

Linalool shows promise as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease due to its ability to reduce and regulate the production of inflammatory proteins in the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive and debilitating condition characterized by the accumulation of brain plaques and cellular tangles, resulting in memory and cognitive impairment.

In a notable 2016 study using a genetic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, linalool was found to reverse behavioral and cognitive impairments associated with the disease. Additionally, it decreased the number of brain plaques and cellular tangles, which contribute to brain degeneration.

While further research is needed and there are challenges to overcome before linalool can be used as a clinical treatment for Alzheimer’s, these findings are promising. Moreover, previous studies highlighting linalool’s benefits in reducing pain, anxiety, and depression emphasize the importance of continued investigation into the therapeutic potential of linalool and other terpenes found in cannabis.

Enrico Bratta

Enrico Bratta

Medical cannabis professional based in Phuket, Thailand.


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Enrico Bratta

Medical cannabis professional based in Phuket, Thailand.