The terpene linalool is made within the same shiny, resin-filled glands (trichomes) covering cannabis flowers as THC and CBD. Linalool is also found in over 200 plant species aside from cannabis. Some of the plants in which linalool is commonly found include: coriander, basil, oregano, green tea, nutmeg, sage, thyme, lemons, and mandarin oranges. However, linalool is perhaps most recognizable in lavender and is known for lavender’s pleasant, floral scent. In addition to its appealing aroma, linalool has been linked to a number of health benefits.
Anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects
Linalool exhibits properties associated with an anti-inflammatory agent. According to an animal study published in the Journal of Phytomedicine in 2002, linalool plays a “major” role in anti-inflammatory activity. A 2003 study found that mice given a linalool dose of 25 to 75 mg/kg displayed significant pain reduction.
Researchers from Japan recently studied the effect of linalool on mice. They found that exposure to linalool vapor reduced anxiety through the sense of smell; not by absorption into the bloodstream via the lungs. Researchers also observed that linalool did not impair muscle coordination, unlike some prescription anti-anxiety drugs.
Effects on sleep
It’s no surprise that linalool is also known for promoting sleep given lavender’s reputation for its relaxation effects. Investigators in 2009 examined the sedative effects of inhaled linalool on mice. The study found one hour of inhaled linalool resulted in drowsiness. Again, linalool didn’t affect muscle coordination the way prescription drugs for sleep potentially can.
Effects on Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is known for a build up of protein plaques in the brain causing memory and communication problems. A study published in 2016 in the journal of Neuropharmacology examined the effect of linalool in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s. Researchers gave mice linalool by mouth for 3 months. The study found that linalool reversed the plaque build up in mice brains and improved memory through an anti-inflammatory effect.
Linalool, the primary terpene in lavender and one of the more common terpenes in cannabis, can be taken orally, applied topically, or inhaled. It can be used to treat inflammation and pain, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Animal studies also suggest linalool may one day play a role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. However, as with all compounds in the cannabis plant, more research is needed. And with further research comes expectations for the discovery of therapeutic benefits currently unknown.
Peana A et al; Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils; Phytomedicine; 2002 Dec; 9(8): 721-726.
Peana A et al; Linalool produces antinociception in two experimental models of pain; European Journal of Pharmacology; 2003 Jan; 460(1): 37-41.
Harada H et al; Linalool Odor-Induced Anxiolytic Effects in Mice; Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience; 2018 Oct; 12: 241.
Linck V et al; Inhaled linalool-induced sedation in mice; Phytomedicine; 2009 Apr; 16(4): 303-307.
Sabogal-Guaqueta A et al; Linalool reverses neuropathological and behavioral impairments in old triple transgenic Alzheimer’s mice; Neuropharmacology; 2016 Mar; 102: 111-20.
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