Lilacs, Pine Trees, Lime Blossoms, Eucalyptus Sap
Lilac, Earthy, Clove
This is the 10th installment in our weekly series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes,” published every Monday. For more information, read the introduction to this series, “Let’s Talk Terpenes: A Guide For Medical Marijuana Patients.”
If you love the smell of lilacs, cloves, citrus, or any floral and earthy aromas, then you’ll probably enjoy the scent of terpineol, a terpene commonly found in the cannabis plant. Terpineol is often found in strains that have a high level of pinenes, the aromas of which can hide the smell of terpineol. Strains that often test high in terpineol include Jack Herer, White Widow, GSC (f.k.a Girl Scout Cookies), and OG Kush.
Terpineol can refer to any combination of four monoterpene alcohol isomers (the most common of which is α-terpineol) occurring naturally in over 150 plants.
Strains high in this terpene commonly produce a calming, sedative effect. Many who experience insomnia have also found it beneficial in small quantities.
Besides its pleasant smell, research suggests that terpineol has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancerous properties.
The journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology published a study in 2011 that claimed that alpha terpineol had “the highest antioxidant activity” among the compounds tested. When compared with other terpenes in essential oils in another study in 2014, terpineol had the strongest antimicrobial effect against “pathogenic and spoilage forming bacteria.” Terpineol essentially altered the cell membrane of bacteria weakening it and making it vulnerable to immune defenses.
A study published in the Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology journal cites that terpineol “might be potentially interesting in the development of new clinically relevant drugs for management of painful and/or inflammatory disease.” Considering that terpineol is one of the contributors to the feeling of sedation when consuming cannabis, for patients with severe dysfunctional pain and inflammation, terpineol can provide therapeutic effects to reduce the severity and consistency of flare-ups.
Many people suffer from hyperalgesia, a heightened sense of pain (low pain threshold), often due to an inflammatory and or allergic response to pressure. This is true in people who have fibromyalgia and experience pain and tenderness in their muscles, bones, and joints. In a July 2016 study published in the Chemico-Biological Interactions, alpha terpineol was found to reduce inflammation and pain in mice in such a way as to be potentially useful in treating fibromyalgia. This might explain why so many people with fibromyalgia have reported relief with cannabis oil containing alpha-terpineol.
In one breakthrough study, terpineol was found to inhibit tumor cell growth, especially in small cell lung carcinoma cells. Terpineol helps by suppressing NF-kB signaling. Chronic NF-kB activation leads to cancer, inflammation, and autoimmune disorders.
The terpenoid has also been shown to inhibit acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme protein that is involved in creating and storing memories. In some strains of cannabis that have higher levels of terpineol, it is thought that this terpene counteracts the negative memory effects of THC. The findings of one study indicate that α-terpineol “improves cerebral ischemia-related memory impairment in rats.” Many people also believe that terpineol shows great promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease. In fact, some people use terpineol and or cannabis oil high in terpineol as part of an alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.
Terpineol can be an exceptional supplement to a treatment regimen for many illnesses, although more research is needed to definitively prove it’s effectiveness.
This terpene is often used to create sweet aromatic profiles in products like soap, lotion, and perfume, and it contributes to the distinctive, pine smoke-based aroma of lapsang souchong tea. In addition to cannabis, it exists naturally in lilacs, pine trees, lime blossoms, and eucalyptus sap.
Understanding individual terpene characteristics can play a key factor in selecting the ideal strain. Whether inhaled or used aromatically or topically, terpineol can be a key component in the broad spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids that maximize the therapeutic effects cannabis may provide. Feel free to email us to assist with any questions you may have.