What is Linalool? What Does This Cannabis Terpene Do?

Linalool is one of many different terpenes naturally found within plants, insects and essential oils.

In nature, these compounds have several purposes,  including attracting or repelling predators or pollinators, aiding in reproduction, and providing protection against the elements.

Within cannabis, linalool is one of the most abundant terpenes out of more than 150 different varieties, providing cannabis strains with their unique aroma, flavour and supposed effects. Terpenes are a critical component of consuming cannabis, but not many know what they are, where they come from, or their reported effects.

This article is part of a series on cannabis terpenes and is designed to highlight one of cannabis’ most aromatic terpenes, linalool.

What is Linalool?

linalool terpene chart
linalool, terpene chart

Linalool is a naturally occurring monoterpene, a class of terpenes that serves as building blocks for other terpenes. In cannabis, crystal-like structures known as glandular trichomes are responsible for terpene production.

Aside from appearing in cannabis, this terpene is also used as a fragrance enhancer in soaps, perfume, and cosmetic products. It also regularly appears as a component of aromatherapy as lavender oil and as an ingredient in food and beverages.  Outside of cannabis, lavender flowers produce linalool naturally. Mint, cinnamon and rosewood also contain linalool.

Linalool has an aromatic, floral-like aroma with a hint of spiciness. In addition to being present in cannabis, it’s also found in over 200 types of plants. This terpene is so ubiquitous that two grams of linalool are consumed each year through food alone, even by those who don’t consume cannabis.

In addition to providing different cannabis strains with their unique aroma and flavour profile, research suggests that terpenes can exhibit some pharmacological effects. 

When combined with other terpenes and THC and CBD, a reaction known as the entourage effect may promote relaxation, stress relief, and other psychoactive effects. The entourage effect has some scientific basis backing for it, but research regarding its effects is inconclusive.

What are the Reported Effects of Linalool?

Within the plant kingdom, the natural properties of linalool have made it an effective pesticide. Research has shown that this terpene can ward off cockroaches, fleas and fruit flies, among many others.

In humans, linalool’s effects remain inconclusive. Scientific trials conducted on mice suggested its potential as an anti-inflammatory when the terpene helped reduce inflammation in the lungs. In another scientific trial conducted on mice, researchers discovered that linalool reversed neuropathological and behavioural impairments in mice with Alzheimer’s.

In addition to its potential as an anti-inflammatory, this terpene could also have potential as an analgesic.

By reducing the strength of acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter responsible for muscle contraction, linalool may be able to provide anesthetic-like effects by weakening the spinal cord’s ability to transmit pain signals.

Linalool’s fragrant aroma has also been said to provide calming and sedative effects, but this claim remains inconclusive in humans. In a 2018 study carried out by Kagoshima University, researchers exposed mice to linalool vapour. They found that it had an anxiolytic effect when the mice could smell the vapour containing linalool.

Conversely, the set of mice who could not smell the terpene linalool due to destroyed olfactory senses did not experience the calming, anxiolytic effects.

Research surrounding linalool’s potential as a therapeutic chemical is promising. Still, researchers note that “similar studies are […] needed to establish the targets, safety and efficacy of linalool administered via different routes, before a move to human trials.”

As such, cannabis terpenes can effectively be used to help consumers decide on a terpene profile to fit their taste preferences, but consumers should not use theme them to elicit specific therapeutic or medicinal effects.

Flowery Benefits?

Present in lavender, mint, and many other natural sources in nature, linalool is just one of many terpenes influencing the flavour and aroma of our favourite cannabis strains. Producing an aromatic and floral aroma, you can find this terpene as a major component in many indica and sativa strains available today.

However, as with the supposed differences and effects that indica and sativa strains can deliver, more research is needed before scientists can say anything certain about the effects of linalool as a terpene. 

Please note that this content on linalool and terpenes is intended to act as entertainment and a general educative aid and is not intended to act as or substitute healthcare advice from a professional healthcare service or qualified healthcare provider. If you have any questions or concerns, please consult your physician or a qualified healthcare provider.

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