If you visit our blog with any regularity, you’ve probably noticed a rising cannabis trend lately. More and more, savvy cannabis consumers are focusing on terpenes as a way to characterize different strains.
Don’t get us wrong. We’re not asking you to forget everything you’ve learned about cannabinoids (see past articles like “THC vs CBD” and “What’s CBN?” for a refresher). They’re still a massively useful and important way to characterize different strains.
But terpenes are a whole other facet of this deep and complex plant, and it turns out they do a lot for our bodies and our minds. Even if you’ve never heard of them, you’re familiar with them. They’re the fragrant hydrocarbons (or what many call “essential oils”) that give different strains of cannabis—and countless other plants and natural substances—their distinctive aromas and flavors.
Today we’re going to focus on linalool, one of the ten most important of the terpenes in cannabis (and one of the most fun to say several times in a row very quickly). If you’ve ever smelled the lovely scent of fresh or dried lavender, you’ll recognize it immediately. And like that revered herb, cannabis with a high linalool content packs a distinctive stress-fighting punch.
What Does Linalool Smell and Taste Like?
Humans have known for centuries that the scent of lavender, a unique and beautiful herb native to the Mediterranean region, has a noticeable calming effect. Some describe linalool as “soapy,” but that may be in part because it’s often used in detergents, as well as beauty products like facial creams and masks, and its dried flowers find their way into sleep masks and pillows. In the culinary world, linalool also appears in basil, tomatoes, and bay laurel.
Because it’s so prevalent in common foods, we tend to ingest a good bit of linalool when we eat. Even those who abstain from cannabis typically consume about two grams a year. That said, it dissipates relatively quickly, and unlike cannabinoids, it isn’t stored in our fatty tissues.
Now we aren’t the only ones to benefit from linalool’s stress-reducing qualities; a rodent-based study found that even rats become calmer when they’re exposed to the terpene.
What Does it Do for Us?
In addition to reducing stress, linalool has been shown to have a number of other uses:
Anti-Depressant: Unsurprisingly, because stress and depression are closely related, what reduces one tends to affect the other. In yet another rodent-based study, researchers found that linalool helped mice manage depression-like behavioral signifiers. When presented with threatening conditions, those exposed to linalool would continue to try to escape after other mice appeared to have given up hope.
Anti-Microbial: In some cases linalool can fight infections. Because humans in general have been overexposed to synthetic antibiotics, this could be especially useful in fighting drug-resistant microbes.
Pain Relief: Linalool may help regulate brain chemicals such as adenosine and glutamate, which assist in moderating the experience of pain. In one study, patients who had undergone gastric banding surgery demonstrated a decrease in their reliance on opioid painkillers when exposed to linalool.
How to Get Linalool from Cannabis
Linalool is abundant in cannabis. As you might guess, its lavender-like scent is a good sign of a high linalool content. Some popular strains include:
Lavender: No surprise here! This strain is highly relaxing, with noted sleepy and euphoric effects as well.
LA Confidential: Another calming and often sleepy-feeling strain, it’s often described as “highly relaxing.”
Purple Kush: Don’t plan any important meetings after trying this strain; many users find it’s a bit disorienting at first. But a pleasing numbness and calm quickly develop; some even describe it as slightly hallucinatory.
Looking for linalool-rich strains? Check out our online menu by finding your local store below.