Welcome back to another installment of terpenes 101 — our series of blogs designed to educate you about the many medicinal benefits of cannabis terpenes. Today, we’ve set our sights on the floral Bisabolol. Want to know why Bisabolol is one of the skincare industry’s favorite terps? We’ll get into that and more later in the article. But first, here’s some helpful info about terpenes in general!
What Are Terpenes?
Let’s start with the basics. It seems like everyone in the cannabis industry is talking about terpenes, but what exactly are they?
Terpenes are tiny aromatic molecules that almost all plants possess. All the good smells you associate with nature come directly from terpenes. The relaxing scent of a crisp pine forest? That’s terpenes. The sharp, tangy odor of a freshly peeled orange? Also terpenes. The floral fragrance emitted from a field of lavender? You guessed it — terpenes! Plants originally developed these pungent molecules as a result of evolution. Sweet-smelling saccharine terps help vegetation attract pollinators, while bitter terpenes ward off potential herbivorous predators.
Do Terpenes Get You High?
But what’s any of this got to do with cannabis? Do terpenes get you stoned? While most plants have unique terpene profiles, cannabis, in particular, is chock full of these compounds. This variable terpene composition accounts for marijuana’s notoriously complex aroma and is also why there is so much variance between individual strains in terms of smells and flavors. Skilled cultivators can breed plants with the most desirable terpene profiles by manipulating genetics. Terpenes are non-intoxicating, meaning they don’t make you high. However, the entourage effect theory suggests that they influence how other cannabis compounds, like THC or CBD, may affect the human brain and body.
It turns out terpenes may do more than just smell nice. New research suggests that these molecules may have immense medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Some of the most common curative properties of terpenes include:
- Anti cancer
Additionally, due to the entourage effect, these therapeutic properties may be even more effective when combined with cannabinoids like THC and CBD.
What Is Bisabolol?
If you’re a regular tea drinker, then you’re already likely with the calming and soothing effects of today’s terpene. Bisabolol, also sometimes known as alpha bisabolol, is a floral terpene primarily found in the plant chamomile. Bisabolol also shows up in the Brazilian candeia tree, and trace amounts of the terp can be found in cannabis.
Bisabolol is a terpene with tons of practical applications. For centuries, people have incorporated bisabolol into traditional folk medicine by using the chamomile plant in healing teas, tinctures, and tonics. More recently, the cosmetic and skincare industries have utilized the terpene as an active ingredient in a smorgasbord of various creams and serums.
But what does modern science have to say about bisabolol's effects?
One 2014 study published by Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology found that bisabolol stunted the production of inflammation-causing chemicals and reduced skin inflammation when administered to mice.
A 2018 study in Frontiers in Plant Science found that the bisabolol-rich candeia tree possesses antimicrobial properties that may make it useful in wound dressing.
For fans of a nighttime cup of chamomile tea, these relaxing effects likely won’t come as a surprise. In 2017, researchers found that mice given bisabolol exhibited signs of decreased anxiety. Scientists speculate this anti-anxiety effect may be linked to GABA receptors in the brain. Finally, another 2018 study found that bisabolol may help reduce gastrointestinal distress and damage linked to certain pharmaceutical side effects.
Unlike some other cannabis terpenes, bisabolol usually only appears in cannabis in trace amounts — often in such percentages so small they even don’t merit being listed in a strain’s official terpene profile. However, those interested in higher bisabolol strains can try another avenue. Cannabis with a more floral aroma tends to have higher bisabolol percentages, which can help consumers identify bisabolol strains.
To make things even easiest, we’ve compiled some of our favorite floral strains below:
Lavender: An indica dominant strain that’s great for bedtime. Lavender typically also contains high percentages of linalool and myrcene.
ACDC: This CBD-rich strain contains little-to-no THC, but is a favorite among the medical cannabis community.
Headband: One of the most beloved hybrid strains in the game, Headband is an excellent choice for recreational users who want a balanced high. OG Kush: This infamous strain has spawned dozens of West Coast cannabis varieties, and has been a staple among cannabis users since the ‘90s. It also tends to have a surprisingly high level of bisabolol.
Do you have a favorite bisabolol-rich strain? Let us know your go-to on Twitter!