Terpene Tuesday: Everything You Need to Know About Linalool Flavor, Fragrance, and Benefits
Have you ever wondered why luxury spa, pillow, and mattress companies adorn their marketing materials with fields of lavender? What is it about this purple flower that makes a bubble bath or a yoga studio so much more soothing? Your nose knows: It’s the scent, and that comes from a unique terpene called linalool.
While the word might seem new, linalool is one of the world’s oldest-known plant-based sedatives. Linalool occurs naturally in numerous botanicals and spices, including hemp, cannabis, lavender, jasmine, thyme, and rosewood. And it’s no coincidence that these ingredients overlap with your favorite candles or bath crystals.
Humans zoned in on the calming and therapeutic powers of linalool thousands of years ago and have since added it to items like essential oils, household cleaners, and pretty much every personal care product you can imagine.
Due to linalool’s natural abundance, we decided to dive into the field of lavender-scented bliss to give you the rundown on this magical cannabis terpene. Here we offer you a guide to linalool’s wellness benefits and how it affects your favorite hemp and cannabis strains.
What Do Terpenes Like Linalool Do?
Why do so many different plants produce calming terpenes like linalool? Don’t worry; your herb garden isn’t stressed out. The potent aroma of terpenes like linalool deters predators and insect pests while attracting good pollinators like bees and butterflies. Linalool also has antimicrobial properties that help protect plants from diseases, which translates to therapeutic uses for humans, such as antibiotics, traditional medicines, and sedatives.
But why does the smell of lavender help you relax? It turns out your brain links your sense of smell to memory and emotion, which is why aromatic terpenes like linalool can hold a significant influence over your mood and general psyche. Linalool also releases serotonin, the “happiness hormone,” which can help you feel calmer and sleep better.
Linalool Terpenes and the Entourage Effect
Just as we all have #squadgoals, cannabis has the “entourage effect,” a term that refers to how cannabinoids and terpenes team up to create each strain’s unique traits.
In the past, people thought extracting cannabinoids such as THC was the best way to reap the benefits of this healing plant. However, the research behind the entourage effect begs to differ, claiming that the harmonious sum of terpenes and cannabinoids is greater than the value of its individual parts.
For example, when CBD interacts with linalool and limonene (another terpene), they combine to fight acne, treat other skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, and reduce anxiety. In another example, you may have a strain that combines linalool, THC, and cannabinol (CBN). When working together, these compounds enhance the strain’s soothing effects to help you sleep better.
Thus, true efficacy relies on the terpene/cannabinoid combinations rather than any individual compound.
- Studies show linalool in essential plant oils has numerous positive effects, working against several bacteria and fungi, relieving pain, and reducing inflammation.
- A study on the pharmacological effects of linalool found it showed promise for clinical applications in pain relief, as a sedative, and for anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antibacterial uses.
- Linalool showed antidepressant-like activity in this recent study on mice.
- A 2016 study suggested that linalool can potentially treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Science Direct published a study that linalool’s anti-inflammatory effects can repair lung damage caused by tobacco use.
- A study in the Obesity Therapy journal found that lavender aromatherapy worked as a natural pain reliever, helping patients use less morphine after surgery.
Do Terpenes Like Linalool Get You High?
Terpenes do not get you high. At the same time, THC doesn’t work alone. Remember that entourage effect we mentioned? It’s the combination of multiple cannabinoids and terpenes working together that give cannabis strains different effects.
While terpenes like linalool don’t have any psychoactive properties on their own, they do have the potential to boost different aspects of how you feel when you ingest hemp or cannabis. That said, studies show that linalool leaves your body quickly and doesn’t accumulate in your fatty tissues, so this terpene is unlikely to alter your cognitive state radically.
Sources of Linalool
Even if you haven’t decked out your bathroom in lavender candles and facial cleansers, linalool is so prolific and widespread that the average person consumes about 2 grams of it each year. Here are some familiar sources of linalool in your diet, household products, and the plant kingdom:
- Lavender, of course! But linalool also occurs naturally in more than 200 flowers and spices, such as coriander, mint, cinnamon, and rosewood. Linalool even appears in some fungi.
- Because of its stable and non-discoloring characteristics, you’ll see linalool in large quantities in soap and detergent products.
- Manufacturers add linalool to a wide range of floral and non-floral fragrances, especially perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, and essential oils.
- Linalool shows up in the flavors of many fruits and as a natural component of many essential oils. Several beverage brands use linalool as an all-natural flavoring.
- Linalool appears in many types of food, including hard and soft candies, chewing gum, ice creams, gelatin puddings, condiment relishes, baked goods, and even meat products.
- You’ll even find linalool in anti-pest products, especially related to pet care, including sprays and shampoos.
What Cannabis Strains Have the Most Linalool?
If you’re looking for a cannabis strain with a more prominent level of linalool, sniff one out that highlights lavender and floral notes. A few strains that usually test higher in linalool include:
- Amnesia Haze: This uplifting and energizing strain has an earthy, citrusy flavor and works best for stress and fatigue.
- Lavender (or Lavender Kush): A powerful relaxant, this strain is excellent for managing pain and stress.
- LA Confidential: This popular variety is known for psychedelic and super-calming effects that work well for stress, insomnia, and acute pain. The flavor is smooth and piney.
- Granddaddy Purple (or GDP): Purple Urkle lends this potent indica hybrid its grape and berry aroma, and Big Bud provides its dense bud structure. It’s known to combat various issues, including stress, insomnia, pain, and lack of appetite.
- Do-Si-Dos (or Dosi): Lime-green and lavender leaves make this indica-dominant hybrid a feast for the eyes, with a sweet and funky flavor. The quick buzz hits you first, followed by relaxation.
- Scooby Snacks: Another indica-forward hybrid, the purple buds pack a punch with cerebral effects that stimulate, then bring on bliss and restful sleep.
- Zkittlez: A mix of Grape Ape and Grapefruit strains give this strain a candy-like flavor, with hints of tropical fruit. The results leave you focused and alert while also calm and relaxed.
Reported Linalool Benefits
Linalool, a natural sedative, has multiple reported health benefits, including:
- Rest and relaxation: Linalool increases adenosine, a sedating hormone that helps us fall asleep and is famous for its calming and relaxing effects.
- Anxiety and depression: Mice displayed lower levels of stress and depression-like behaviors when exposed to linalool.
- Stress relief: Studies show linalool activates the body’s parasympathetic response (also known as the “rest and digest” system), which regulates stress levels in the immune system.
- Pain: Linalool eases pain in several ways.
As a result, linalool is gaining popularity with athletes who want to optimize recovery times.
- Epilepsy: Linalool blocks receptors for glutamate, a brain chemical that can lead to epilepsy in excess.
- Alzheimer’s disease: Studies point to linalool as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s because it can reduce the plaques responsible for brain degeneration.
The Bottom Line
Linalool has been helping humans sleep better for centuries, and today you can find this floral terpene in everything from your favorite cannabis strains to your kitchen cleaner and the basil topping on your pizza. Linalool is immensely beneficial, but you won’t find it in every cannabis variety you buy. You may need to seek it out. That’s why it’s so important to read the Certificate of Analysis (COA) before you make your next purchase.
Every cannabis product worth your hard-earned dollar should come with a Certificate of Analysis, or COA, from a verified testing laboratory. All COAs should list the entire cannabinoid contents and safety information. The best brands will go a step further to include the terpene profile as well. So, be sure to ask your budtender about which brands test for terpenes and look for a product that meets your needs.