Linalool is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, otherwise known as a terpene. Surprisingly enough, there are at least 100 terpenes in the cannabis plant, but most of these terpenes are not well understood. If you haven’t heard of terpenes at all, that is likely because the research behind them has been limited.
Even if you’re not a regular marijuana smoker, chances are you’ve heard of THC or CBD. That’s because those are the two most well-known and well-researched compounds in the cannabis plant, also known as cannabinoids. However, as medical cannabis use continues to rise due to legalization, there has been an influx of research beginning to emerge on how terpenes and cannabinoids affect the brain. Let’s take a look at some of the research that has been done on the effects, uses and possible medical benefits of linalool.
Linalool In Plants and Everyday Life
Linalool is found in much more than just cannabis, in fact, it’s found in over 200 species of plants. Some examples are mint, cinnamon, rosewood, laurels, citrus fruits, birch trees, and even fungus. Since terpenes are a naturally occurring compound, each terpene has its own specific role in nature. Linalool is believed to act as a plant metabolite and a fragrant. It is also believed to have antimicrobial properties, which means it stunts bacteria growth on plants and flowers.
Each combination of terpenes (and the volume of the terpenes) is what creates the unique properties, smell and even taste associated with each specific plant. Some of the everyday uses of linalool include mosquito repellent, flea repellent and it’s used for its antifungal properties. It’s also an important component in the manufacturing of vitamin E.
Linalool And The Brain
Terpenes such as linalool, are just one of the many factors that exist within the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in our brains. Each plant contains a different combination of terpenes and cannabinoids that create varied effects as they react to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our ECS. To make matters more complicated, everyone’s brain reacts differently to substances. More research is needed to truly understand how each terpene affects the brain, but let us take a look at what we do know.
In a study published by Neurochemical Research, it was found that “…evaluation of Linalool showed that this compound [has] dose-dependent marked sedative effects at the Central Nervous System, including hypnotic, anticonvulsant and hypothermic properties.” These anticonvulsant and sedative effects were found when measuring the effects on glutamate binding in the Central Nervous System membrane in the rat cortex.
This would be a promising result for those suffering from seizures and could help to explain the positive medical results that have been achieved using cannabis to treat convulsions. However, it is important to note that although these are exciting research results, they were achieved by injecting or feeding rats with pure linalool. The effects of smoking cannabis strains rich in linalool have not yet been studied, and therefore cannot be accurately compared to the above research study.
Linalool and Cancer
Research regarding Linalool and cancer are in their early years, but the results have also been positive. In a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, it was found that “Linalool exhibited an anticancer effect via cancer-specific oxidative stress, and this agent has potential for application in colon cancer therapy.” These results were found when sixteen mice were xenografted with human cancer cells and given different levels of linalool as treatment. It was found that the mice that were given a high dose of linalool had a 55% reduction in the tumor cells.
In a separate study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, found that “[The] results obtained in this study demonstrated that linalool produced a cytotoxic effect, by inducing the cells to undergo apoptosis, triggering cell death…We believe that linalool offers tremendous potential for enhancing leukemia and cervical cancer treatment and provides novel starting points for future anti-cancer research.” The results of this study were achieved when human cancer cells were treated with linalool. It was then found that linalool was able to arrest cell growth and promote apoptosis (cell death) of the cancer cells. Although the cure for cancer is still out of our grasp, the studies on terpenes and other natural remedies is an encouraging step forward for cancer research.
Linalool and Alzheimer’s Disease
Linalool may also have therapeutic properties in delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. A 2016 study published in Neuropharmacology found the following results, “Together, our findings suggest that linalool reverses the histopathological hallmarks of AD [Alzheimer’s Disease] and restores cognitive and emotional functions via an anti-inflammatory effect. Thus, linalool may be an AD prevention candidate for preclinical studies.” For this study, mice were genetically introduced with a Triple–transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease and were orally treated with linalool over the course of three months. It was found that mice treated with linalool showed stronger memory and other cognitive functions while completing a maze in comparison to the control group.
Strains High in Linalool
Are you looking for strains with linalool? Try one of the following:
Amnesia Haze: Amnesia Haze has many of the great qualities that mark both indica and sativa varieties, although users may land on the more thoughtful (or even hyper-thoughtful) end of that spectrum. The high comes up almost immediately, inducing cerebral thinking and a sudden acute awareness of surroundings. In a positive set and setting, this mental sharpening can lead to a euphoric state of mind.
The combination of strong mental and physical effects makes this strain a good choice for activities that involve both mind and body, including but not limited to exercise and sex. More medically speaking, Amnesia Haze’s sense of focus can be helpful for those with attention deficit disorders who have trouble concentrating on specific tasks. On the negative side, those prone to anxiety may experience some degree of paranoia due to Amnesia Haze’s tendency to bring on a sense of frantic mind-race; as such, cannabis newcomers may want to temper initial dosage of this strain.
Lavender: Its spicy Afghani hash-like taste is smooth and comes with a powerful euphoria. Its cerebral high is followed by a swirling body stone that calms and relaxes, causing most to feel lazy. Inexperienced users may quickly fall asleep. Negative effects may include the familiar cotton mouth, dry eyes, dizziness, and paranoia.
Lavender may be used at any time of the day, but some prefer it in the evening or at night to help with insomnia. The strain is often used for pain relief due to its powerful Indica effects. It is an effective medication for stress, anxiety, and depression and is prescribed for PTSD, adult ADD/ADHD as well as obsessive-compulsive behavior. Patients also use it to fight nausea and eating disorders such as anorexia. The high CBD content, reaching as much as 1%, may also help combat seizures.
LA Confidential: Although this is a pure Indica strain, a few users find its cerebral effects bordering on the psychedelic. It may also be thought-provoking and mood-lifting. L.A. Confidential’s powerful laziness is often accompanied by sleep an hour or two after consumption. Negative effects may include cotton mouth, dry eyes, paranoia, dizziness, or headaches, especially with higher doses.
Recommended for evening and nighttime use, this strain may relieve insomnia though some find it makes them tired without actually bringing on sleep. The strong Indica effects make L.A. Confidential suitable for easing chronic aches and pains. Users often choose the strain to help them deal with stress and anxiety, and some patients use it to induce appetite or calm nausea.
Although research on the effects of smoking cannabis strains high in linalool is absent (likely due to legality issues regarding recreational and medical cannabis), the adolescent research on the medicinal value of linalool shows hopeful results. As more research emerges on the subject, we will understand more concretely how each terpene affects our bodies and brains.