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Tap Into Terpenes: Learn About Linalool

Have you ever wondered why so many aromatherapy and personal care products boast lavender as a main ingredient? That’s due to the terpene linalool, which lends its unforgettable floral scent to lavender and gives this flower its purported relaxing properties. Linalool can also be found in many cannabis cultivars (strains), where it’s celebrated for its pain-relieving and neuroprotective properties. If linalool sounds like a terpene that would work well for your cannabis goals, read on to learn more about this floral, sweet terpene and how it works.

Linalool: the basics

  • Flavors: Sweet, fruity
  • Aromas: Floral, sweet, herbal
  • Effects: Stress relieving, mood elevating, neuroprotective, analgesic (pain relieving), anti-oxidative, antimicrobial[1]
  • Often found alongside: Limonene, myrcene
  • Also found in: Lavender, bay leaf, basil

Linalool is considered one of the major cannabis terpenes, although it is typically found in lower amounts than its counterparts like myrcene, limonene, and beta caryophyllene. It is thought to offer stress alleviating and mood elevating properties, which are closely associated with its use in aromatherapy, through products such as essential oil derived from lavender. Like limonene, linalool is thought to offer antimicrobial effects as well, protecting against bacteria and fungus. Finally, linalool is thought to offer anti-oxidative properties, protecting organs like heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys from damage. 

How does linalool make you feel?

Many people associate linalool with relaxation, but these effects are associated with smelling linalool, and not with consuming it with cannabis products. One animal study suggests that linalool can offer stress alleviating and mood elevating characteristics in higher dosages, modulating neurotransmitters (including serotonin and dopamine) to promote relaxation and buoyancy of mood[2]. The researchers concluded that linalool offers antidepressant-like effects. However, given the low volumes of linalool in most cannabis flower, the significance of these effects is still unclear on the human body. 

In addition, linalool has been observed to offer pain relieving qualities. One human study found that patients in a post-anesthesia care unit treated with lavender oil, which contains significant amounts of linalool, required less morphine and other pain relievers than patients in a placebo group[3]. The researchers determined that linalool and lavender aromatherapy could reduce the need for opioids in postoperative recovery.

There is some evidence that linalool could also help to mitigate neuropathic pain, which is caused by nerve damage. The neuroprotective properties of linalool were observed by researchers in several human and animal studies[4], a review of which led researchers to conclude that while these studies are promising there remains a need for clarity around dosing, method of consumption, and other external factors. 

How does linalool interact with other terpenes?

Terpenes do not exist in a vacuum and their properties are largely dependent upon the coexistence of other compounds and the levels in which these compounds are present. For example, when linalool is present in high volumes alongside other calming terpenes like myrcene or limonene, those characteristics are more likely to be emphasized. We are still learning exactly what determines how a terpene will present its clinical properties. 

If you’re interested in maximizing linalool’s properties, take a look at the other terpenes present in your chosen product. A mood alleviating experience, for example, is more likely when high levels of linalool are accompanied by equally high levels of myrcene and limonene. Even these terpene profiles, however, should be considered within the context of a product’s cannabinoid profile as well. Read more about this phenomenon, called the entourage effect, when learning about the endocannabinoid system.

What strains are high in linalool?

Linalool is commonly found in many strains of cannabis, albeit in lower volumes than other major terpenes. Therefore, linalool content of .5% by weight is considered high, whereas other terpenes like limonene or myrcene are considered significant at levels of 1% or greater. In concentrates and edibles, linalool volumes tend to top out just below 1.5%, while distillate cartridges might reach as high as 3% linalool volume by weight. 

Here’s a closer look at some strains of cannabis flower that contain naturally high levels of linalool:

  • ’92 OG: ’92 OG contains higher-than-usual levels of linalool; however, it is not the dominant terpene in this strain. Instead, the aromas and flavors of pine, spice, and wood belie heightened levels of beta caryophyllene and pinene. Consumers report ’92 OG as offering calming effects without the sleepiness associated with some other relaxing strains, a common trait of linalool.[5]
  • Copper Chem: Copper Chem is an earthy, pungent strain of cannabis that features a terpene profile prominent in myrcene, limonene, and beta caryophyllene, with linalool making a tertiary appearance as it often does. This can be identified with hints of a floral, sweet scent beneath the musk. Consumers report relaxing effects that are simultaneously mood elevating, perhaps due to the blend of myrcene, limonene, and linalool in this strain.[6]
  • Ecto Cooler: Often described as a strain that prompts relaxation and happiness, Ecto Cooler is ideal for alleviating stress and boosting mood. Consumers also report that Ecto Cooler excels at mitigating pain. Its citrus aromas and flavors alongside these reported effects suggest a combination of limonene and linalool.

Look for linalool to reduce stress and calm your mind

Research supports what many of us have experienced with a relaxing lavender-scented bath bomb or lotion: linalool is effective at reducing stress and elevating mood. Beyond putting us in an improved mental state, though, researchers have discovered this floral terpene’s impact on pain and on neuropathic pain. While we are still learning more about how linalool impacts humans, what we do know about linalool can lend itself to a balanced and relaxed cannabis consumption experience.

There’s a whole world of cannabinoid and terpene science to explore, and that’s why we at Ethos are proud to partner with Thomas Jefferson University to drive cannabis research forward, answer these outstanding questions, and apply what we learn to help more patients. While that process advances, you can stop into Ethos anytime and speak with one of our associates or pharmacists to help find the strain with the right terpene profile for your cannabis consumption goals.

Sources:

  1. Medicinal properties of terpenes found in Cannabis sativa and Humulus lupulus: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30096653/
  2. Linalool and β-pinene exert their antidepressant-like activity through the monoaminergic pathway: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25771248/
  1. Treatment with lavender aromatherapy in the post-anesthesia care unit reduces opioid requirements: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17894152/
  2. Lavender and the Nervous System https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/
  1. ’92 OG: https://www.leafly.com/strains/92-og
  2. Copper Chem: https://www.leafly.com/products/details/ilera-healthcare-copper-chem
  3. Ecto Cooler: https://www.leafly.com/strains/ecto-cooler

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