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Terpene of the Month: Linalool, An All-Natural Stress-Fighter

As you might expect, the folks here at Green Goods are pretty excited about all the ways cannabis helps our bodies and our minds—soothing aches and pains, fighting stress and depression, and providing critical support for the management of various chronic symptoms and conditions.

You’re probably already familiar with the concept of cannabinoids, the “active ingredients” like THC and CBD that impart many of the cannabis plant’s medicinal properties. But they’re not the only game in town. Terpenes are another important mechanism for cannabis to affect our bodies and minds. 

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A family of fragrant hydrocarbons—that’s another way of saying “essential oils”—terpenes impart distinctive flavors and aromas to cannabis as well as countless other plants. And one of the most important has an instantly recognizable scent: linalool, an all-natural stress-fighter and the main constituent of another calming herb: the lavender plant.

Linalool: What Does It Do For Us?

We’ve known for centuries that inhaling the scent of fresh lavender has a uniquely calming effect. That’s one reason it’s been used in herb blends, scented pillows, salves, and even foods. This effect isn’t just limited to humans, either. A rodent-based study found that even rats can benefit from linalool’s stress-reducing qualities. 

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We gather linalool from a variety of sources, such as the herbs commonly used in food. That’s a good thing because, in addition to fighting stress, linalool has several other medical applications.

Medical Applications

One of the most surprising things about terpenes, and perhaps linalool in particular, is how beneficial they can be. Beyond helping relieve stress, here are some therapeutic applications for this wonder terpene.

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Anti-Depressant: As you probably know, stress and depression are closely related. In a different rodent-based study, researchers found that linalool helped mice reduce depression-like behavioral signifiers. When confronted with seemingly impossible situations, the mice would continue to try and escape rather than surrendering.

Anti-Microbial: Many terpenes have been shown to have broadly antibacterial properties. Linalool may have the potential to fight infections naturally, an important quality in an era of increasingly drug-resistant microbes. 

Pain Relief: Linalool has a wide range of effects on our central nervous system, helping regulate certain brain chemicals such as adenosine and glutamate. What’s more, it utilizes a distinctive mechanism of pain control by reducing the strength of acetylcholine, another brain chemical responsible for helping control muscle contractions and movement. In one study, patients who had recently undergone gastric banding surgery demonstrated a marked decrease in their reliance on opioid painkillers after exposure to linalool.

We’ll need more research to determine whether the linalool content in cannabis is absorbed the same way as other linalool and whether it affects our bodies in the same way, too. However, preliminary research is exciting, and we can’t wait to learn more about how this and other terpenes can help us manage our well being.