Have you ever wondered what gives the flowers their naturally sweet scent? Or why splitting open a citrus fruit fills the air with a sharp and tangy aroma? Or why you can smell the bitterness of a freshly poured IPA before the beer ever touches your lips? All these fragrances and more are the products of tiny little molecules called terpenes.
All plants produce terpenes, but cannabis, in particular, is chock-full of these smelly compounds. Let’s take a look at one of our favorite terpenes — linalool.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are the reason your spice cabinet is so fragrant. If, on the advice of the age-old expression, you stop to smell the roses, what you’re really stopping to smell is the flower’s terpenes.
Often, you see terpenes in the context of cannabis. That is because cannabis is so rich with them! Think about the smell of marijuana. It’s instantly recognizable to anyone who’s ever used it, but it’s also complex and can be difficult to describe.
There’s an earthy quality—a skunkyness and almost petrol-like quality balanced by notes of fruit and fresh pine needles. Not all cannabis smells exactly the same either. Different strains have varied compositions of terpenes, which make up what’s called a terpene profile. Today, more and more cannabis cultivators are breeding their plants specifically to create a more desirable terpene profile.
Terpenes smell nice, but they all serve an evolutionary purpose. Originally, plants developed these aromatic compounds to help ensure the survival of the species. Peppery terpenes like caryophyllene help to discourage omnivorous predators from chowing down. Conversely, sweet terpenes like linalool attract pollinators which will help the plant reproduce.
In recent years, we’ve learned that terpenes may have some therapeutic benefits for humans as well.
What Do Terpenes Do For The Body?
Certain scientific studies suggest that terpenes may also be beneficial to our health. Certain terpenes possess anti-inflammatory properties which could be useful to those suffering from chronic pain. Some terpenes, like myrcene, have a sedating quality that is useful for insomnia patients or people who just want some help unwinding after a long day. Other terpenes may help to fight fungal infections, and some research suggests that certain terpenes even have anti-cancer potential.
On their own, terpenes have an exciting amount of therapeutic potential, but they really start to shine when used in conjunction with cannabinoids. Both types of compounds work together to enhance their individual effects through a process called the entourage effect.
Benefits Of Linalool
Linalool, one of the most prominent terpenes in cannabis, can also be found in lavender, perfumes, and over 200 different types of plants. Its floral aroma and undertones of saccharine sweetness make linalool one of the most used terpenes in the development of artificial smells, and it makes it easily recognizable in your cannabis flower.
For years, people have associated linalool and lavender with relaxation. It’s why brands of bath bombs or Epsom salts almost always have a lavender scented option. According to some studies, there may be some scientific evidence to corroborate the folk medicine trope.
Using rodent models, researchers found that linalool had anxiety-reducing effects comparable to diazepam but without decreased motor function. Other animal studies have found that linalool helps protect the body against potential damage from stress.
Linalool has also been shown to possess anti-microbial properties, which could be useful in fighting infections, and may even help treat dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
What Products Contain Linalool?
Linalool can be found on its own in the form of essential oil, added to a beauty product, or in full-spectrum cannabis.
Some strains with high linalool content include Amnesia Haze, OG Shark, and Lavender. E1011 Labs’ stelo™ Uplift and Relief are also rich in linalool, alongside other curative terpenes and cannabinoids.
The Future Of Linalool
The research into terpenes as medicinal agents is still in its infancy, but preliminary studies are incredibly promising. With such a wide array of potential benefits, it’s only a matter of time before more clinical trials unlock even more about linalool and other terpenes.