The Potent Potential of Linalool

linalool oil and leaves
Anna Ok/shutterstock

Dr. Jeffery Chen, head of the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative calls cannabis a "gateway herb" because he believes understanding the compounds found in cannabis is creating a gateway to a better understanding of other plant-based therapies and treatments for many diseases and ailments affecting the population today. Linalool, a terpene found in cannabis, is one such compound which has shown incredible potential in therapeutic applications.

As research continues, more than 400 compounds found in the varieties of cannabis sativa, researchers and medical professionals are gaining an in-depth understanding of how these compounds work not only by themselves but in conjunction with each other as well.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are the chemicals produced within cannabis, and other plants, which provide the flavors and aromas we typically associate with specific plants. However, these tiny molecules do more than provide scent. Scientific research is showing terpenes interact with the receptors in our bodies much the same way cannabinoids do and can provide a wide-range of medical and health benefits.

Terpenes can also be attributed to the rising popularity of essential oils, as terpenes are the active ingredient in this form of alternative therapy.

The terpene profile of cannabis will vary from strain to strain. In fact, based on the "Entourage Effect," the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids is responsible for the indica or sativa effects typically associated with specific strains.

Some terpenes are more common than others. The most common terpenes include myrcene, limonene, pinene, and humulene. Linalool, a minor terpene, is commonly found in strains of cannabis and hemp, but generally in smaller quantities than the significant terpenes.

Traits of Linalool

As mentioned, while terpenes are commonly found in the various strains of cannabis and hemp, many other plants produce terpenes, too. Although linalool is most widely associated with lavender, it can be found in more than 200 different plants including citrus fruits, cinnamon, and even fungus.

Linalool has a distinctive smell of French Lavender with subtle, spicy undertones; while it's flavor can be described as floral, sweet, and spicy with a hint of citrus or tropical appeal. These distinct characteristics make linalool a common additive in foods and cosmetics, so common it is estimated the average person consumes about 2 grams of linalool per year just through diet alone.

Benefits of Linalool

Linalool is not a restricted substance, and much research has been done on the therapeutic properties of this plant-derived healer, highlighting how it may have far-reaching health potential. Some of the possible health benefits include:

Anti-Inflammatory

A 2002 study published in the Journal of Phytomedicine found the following

"results obtained indicate that linalool and the corresponding acetate play a major role in the anti-inflammatory activity displayed by the essential oils containing them, and provide further evidence suggesting that linalool and linalyl acetate-producing species are potent anti-inflammatory agents.

Because of its potent anti-inflammatory capabilities, linalool may be useful at helping with ailments such as Crohn's disease, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, auto-immune disorders, and more.

Anti-Convulsant

Studies suggest linalool may be more effective at treating seizures and epilepsy than some pharmaceuticals. In 2010, a study on mice showed linalool reducing seizure activity more effectively than other substances.

As an anticonvulsant, linalool may be useful for ailments causing spasms and seizures such as traumatic brain injury, Parkinson's disease, or even certain forms of epilepsy.

Anti-Anxiety

Lavender is well-known for its ability to relax and calm, this is largely due to its high concentration of linalool. Another study published in 2010 in the Journal of Phytomedicine suggests linalool is quite effective for relaxation and calming anxiety.

Linalool can help relax multiple forms of chronic and social anxiety and may help with specific symptoms of PTSD, as well.

Pain Reliever

The analgesic properties of linalool are starting to gain more attention with the spread of the opiate epidemic in the United States. This review published in 2013 showed lavender aromatherapy could reduce the demand for opioids in some patients, treat migraines, and even reduce spinal pain.

Pain is one of the most common reasons for doctor visits today, so as an analgesic, linalool can help with arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and other pain-inducing disorders.]

In addition to the health benefits, linalool is also commonly used as a pesticide, as well as an organic anti-microbial.

Strains Containing Linalool

cannabis in red glass bowlWhile many cannabis strains will contain trace amounts of linalool, some strains typically produce more than others. However, it is important to note, the only way to know the terpene content of any plant is to refer to test results.

Terpene production in plants can vary greatly depending on the growing environment. Nutrient and lighting deficiencies can affect terpene production, so although some strains may be associated with a certain terpene and cannabinoid profile, ultimately the quality of the strain is dependent on how well the strain is grown.

The following strains (when grown appropriately) may have higher concentrations of linalool:

Amnesia Haze

Not as intimidating as the name sounds, this strain is energetic, uplifting, and usually quite potent. This lemony, citrus-scented strain is recommended to alleviate stress and depression, as well as, daytime use for reducing pain and fatigue. Be aware, as a potent sativa strain, new users and those with chronic anxiety may want to keep doses low to start.

Lavender

Naturally with a name like lavender, it comes as no surprise this strain is high in linalool. This strain's pungent floral aroma is indicative of the terpene's iconic scent. Also called Lavender Kush, this strain is a relaxing, body numbing indica perfect for stress, insomnia, and pain.

LA Confidential

Another powerful indica strain, LA Confidential can calm the mind, relax the body, and induce much-needed sleep. Recommended for stress, insomnia, and depression, this strain generally has a sweet, piney aroma with floral undertones.

Strawberry Satori

This strain was specifically bred to contain high levels of linalool as a potential treatment for anxiety and PTSD. As a sativa-leaning hybrid, this strain is a cross between Satori and Strawberry Cough. Again, as a daytime strain, Strawberry Satori can help calm anxiety, reduce stress, and fight fatigue.

Tangie Biscotti

A hybrid cross between Tangie and an unknown Cookies variety produces high levels of both myrcene and linalool. A sweet, citrusy flavor and aroma provide an uplifting euphoria capable of battling headaches, stress, pain, and depression in a single bound.

Violet Delight

This indica-dominant hybrid has the distinct aroma of violets, which is a direct correlation to the high linalool content. Predominantly recommended for stress and depression, this strain can also induce appetite, so be prepared with healthy snacks!

 

Although there is still much to be learned, modern technology and research are explaining the science behind ayurvedic remedies, such as plant-based essential oils and tinctures that have been used by humans for thousands of years. As with most the compounds found in cannabis, more research is necessary to determine the full impact of this natural healing compound, but the studies thus far are presenting a world of opportunities for the terpene, Linalool.

With continued research, linalool and any number of the 400 compounds found in cannabis may present therapeutic potential in a myriad of diseases and ailments affecting the human population.