Linalool: The Fragrant, Analgesiac Terpene That Relieves Stress

[Editor’s Note: Linalool is one of the 50 or 60 terpenes found in various strains of cannabis. There’s real research on linalool and that’s important. However, we need research on the effect of linalool combined with all the THCs in cannabis plants.]

Linalool is one of 200 terpenes produced by thousands of plants in nature, including the cannabis herb. Considered a major (primary) terpene, this special molecule offers medicinal efficacy to not only humans but all mammals. Without this particular terpene, there would be no scent of lavender.

For years, terpenes were considered to add little more than a revealingly pungent odor to the smoked flowers or the cannabis herb (which is, technically, also a vegetable). Both research and anecdotal evidence have revealed, however, that terpenes offer considerable benefits for human health and wellness, including their aggregate ability to deliver three primary efficacies: Anti-inflammation, analgesia (painkilling), and anti-cancer.

The linalool terpene of cannabis, which provides a floral, herbal, sweet scent, is also produced by numerous fruits. This terpene is commonly used in aromatherapy and meditation to induce relaxation and relieve stress. Like limonene, it is employed as an industrial pesticide against mosquitoes and roaches. Beyond its role as a major terpene in cannabis, linalool is produced by basil, bay leaf, fungi (some varieties), and lavender.

The Details on Linalool

Similar to all major terpenes found in cannabis, linalool provides many benefits to lifestyle users and patients alike. It acts as an anti-inflammatory (a characteristic of nearly all terpenes), is an analgesic, anti-depressant, and anti-convulsant (helpful for those with seizure disorders, such as epilepsy and Dravet Syndrome). Like myrcene, linalool is also a sedative.

Due to its analgesic properties, linalool is used as a treatment following gastric band surgery. One study revealed that this molecule, when inhaled, resulted in study participants consuming significantly less morphine to treat their pain.

The Research

The three most promising applications of this terpene are its role as an anti-cancer agent, its ability to prevent seizures, and its anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties. Multiple studies have proven it to possess anti-cancer properties, most notably for liver cancer and lymphoma.

A study conducted in 2010 entitled “Anticonvulsant Activity of the Linalool Enantiomers” and published in the journal Natural Product Communications revealed that linalool is an effective anti-convulsant and that “Pretreatment of mice with linalool increased the latency of convulsions significantly.”

A 2008 study entitled “Antiproliferative Effects of Essential Oils and Their Major Constituents in Human Renal Adenocarcinoma” that was published in the journal Cell Proliferation found it to be an effective agent in fighting liver cancer. The study concluded, “Three identified terpenes, linalool, beta-caryophyllene and alpha-cedrol, were found to be active on both cell lines tested.”

A 2003 study entitled “Antileukemic Activity of Selected Natural Products in Taiwan” and published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine studied six “chemical classes of pure compounds present in commonly used medicinal plants.”

The study’s researchers concluded, “Water insoluble compounds, such as triterpenoids (oleanolic acid and ursolic acid), monoterpenes (linalool), and flavonoids (luteolin) possessed strong activity against human leukemia and lymphoma cell lines. Among them, linalool showed the strongest activity against histiocytic lymphoma cells.”

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